is a cultural universal that people clothe, adorn, shape, and decorate their
bodies to create an appearance to present to others. There is impressive
evidence that physical appearance cues have an impact on attributions of
specific traits such as : intelligence , dependability , industriousness ,
honesty , friendliness , neatness , religiosity and conventionality ( Hamid ,
1972 ). In many situations, a person's appearance strongly influences other's
perceptions of him/her, and this phenomenon is necessarily repetitive with each
new encounter. The individuals who appear more pleasing to others are thought
to have more desirable personalities (Kleck and Rubenstein , 1975 ) , to get
better grades in school ( Hill and Lando , 1976 ) , to marry mates with more
potential ( Murstein , 1972), to be better adjusted and happier ( Murstein and
Christy , 1974 ). An attractive appearance has important social consequences,
especially for women, due to greater social pressure placed upon them and the
influence it has on their body images (Cooper, Anastasiades , & Fairburn ,
on the importance of physical attractiveness as a means of conveying desirable
information has led people to manipulate their appearances through the use of
cosmetics, plastic surgery, weight reduction, hair dressing, ornaments,
accessories, and clothing in order to attain at least an approximation of
attractive physical appearances. Rudd and Lennon proposed a model to
"explain individual response to the cultural aesthetic ideal as it relates
to appearance "(1994, p 163). The model assumes that the primary
appearance ideal of any culture is internalized as the aesthetic standard,
which people use to create their appearances and with which people compare
their created appearances. Social comparison processes figure centrally in the
model because they are involved in self- and other evaluations.
is maintained or elevated when self-evaluations or evaluations from others
(that is family members, peers, significant others and messages from the media)
indicate that one's appearance closely approximates the appearance ideal. Such
evaluations also contribute to positive social and personal identity. However,
when self- or others' evaluations of appearance are negative, the individual is
motivated to engage in one of several coping strategies that involve creating
and re-creating one's appearance to more closely approximate the aesthetic
ideal. Women engage in a variety of appearance-management behaviors to
construct and maintain an attractive appearance. (Rudd and Lennon, 1994).
construct and interpret images through processes of appearance management
(Kaiser, 1997). Appearance is an extremely important part of the self-concept,
and therefore of body image. Appearance management includes not only the
process of thinking about how one looks, but also carrying out any activities
pertaining to the way one looks. According to Kaiser (1997), any activities and
thoughts that lead to the purchase and wearing of clothing, as well as body
modification processes such as dieting and exercising, are considered part of
and Lennon (1994) note that behaviors associated with appearance management
include dieting, exercising, weight training, cosmetic use, and selection of
apparel to enhance ones appearance.
are socialized to pay more attention to appearance than men (Kaiser, 1997).
Therefore, women are more aware of the manipulative potential of appearance
than are men. Clothing can be used to create a favorable public image and
influence the perceptions of others. By modifying the body through weight loss
and changing ones appearance through the use of clothing, an individual can
change the perceptions of others so that they become more favorable. More
favorable evaluations by others can lead to an increased self-concept.
Appearance is one of the most prominent ways to display and reinforce
in appearance is multifaceted and may reflect characteristics central to
self-definition through extensive time, energy and resources expended on
appearance (Kaiser, 1997). In consumer research, it is argued that the social
self is achieved through the purchase and use of products that portray an image
consistent with (or a compromise between) the consumers actual and/or ideal
self-concept (Sproles & Burns, 1994).
who are dissatisfied with their body may buy and wear clothing that camouflage
certain body parts or emphasize other body parts, both of which may help to
bring the perceived body image more in line with the ideal body image. Dieting
may also be used as a tool to help bring the perceived body image closer to the
ideal. By spending time and money on dieting and exercising, women believe that
they can improve their appearance and, as a result, feel better about
themselves, thereby improving their self-concept. As evidenced by the increase
in time and money spent on dieting and exercising behavior, appearance is an
extremely important part of ones self-concept. It is believed that through
personal appearance (in this case specifically through appearance management
and clothing behavior), an individual presents personal identity, attitudes,
moods, and value or self worth. Bloch and Richins (1992) suggested that the use
of products to enhance appearance, such as cosmetics, hair coloring or
clothing, may be a means of increasing self-esteem. Differences in self-esteem
may translate into differences in AM behaviors.
Appearance Management is a
process enacted with others in mind that involves experimentation and
self-expression. Appearance Management includes dress as a process as well as
the assessment of the social consequences of one's appearance. Individuals
engage in Appearance Management each day of their lives, even though level of
involvement and concerns related to dress and appearance may differ from person
to person and culture to culture.
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