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April 2010

Placement Students- Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Applied Social Research

The Centre is pleased to welcome Amy Callahan and Gillian Larkin for an eight week placement, Amy and Gillian are currently students on the Master of Science (M.Sc.) in Applied Social Research programme in the School of Social Work and Social Policy, Trinity College Dublin.

Public Lecture: ‘Does Size Matter? The Impact of ‘Perfect Beauty’ Ideals in the Media on Body Image.’

On 13 April, 2010 the Children's Research Centre hosted the public lecture, ‘Does Size Matter? The Impact of ‘Perfect Beauty’ Ideals in the Media on Body Image’. The speaker was Dr. Helga Dittmar, Reader in Psychology, University of Sussex.

Dr. Helga Dittmar’s research is concerned with the psychological effects of consumer society on individuals, including media influence on body dissatisfaction, materialism, and dysfunctional buying behaviour. This work is summarised in her 2008 book ‘Consumer Culture, Identity and Well-Being’, published in the European Monographs in Social Psychology Series.

According to Dr. Dittmar, it is important to study body dissatisfaction - the experience of negative thoughts and emotions about one’s body - because it is a consistent and potent risk factor for unhealthy body-related behaviours, such as disordered eating. There is growing evidence that exposure to unrealistic ‘body perfect’ ideals in the media lead to body dissatisfaction, associated with only the ultra-thin ideal for girls and women, but also the muscular ideal for men. In addition, her studies show that girls as young as 5-7 years old report body dissatisfaction after seeing ultra-thin Barbie dolls , and that ‘body perfect’ ideals in new, under-researched media (music videos, computer games) influence adolescents’ body image. Moreover, her research shows that, although the use of ultra-thin models is defended with the argument that these images “sell” products more efficiently, alternative models with a healthy body size can be equally effective. This evidence converges in suggesting that ‘body perfect’ ideals in the media are a significant immediate cause of body dissatisfaction for both children and adults.

Download Presentation (PDF 2.13 MB)

Last updated 16 June 2010 by The Children′s Research Centre (Email).