CMN 3104 Chapter Notes - Chapter 3: Playboy Bunny, Reality Television, Cultivation Theory
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3.1 WOMEN WITH PHYSICAL DISABILITIES, BODY IMAGE, MEDIA
•!This reading reports the results of focus groups with women who
have physical disabilities.
•!The women explored how messages from media and people around
them shaped their thoughts and feelings about themselves and
When you think about your body, you are engaging in a process of self-
conception, a subjective, fluid practice shaped by messages from other
people and media.
How people respond to you affects how you think and feel about yourself.
This thinking takes place in body-conscious culture that is saturated with
media images of “ideal” bodies.
Gerbner and his colleagues have been arguing for decades that TV plays a
significant role in cultivating shared reality.
TV is an imp force in the self-conception process because it distributes a
continuous, repetitive system of images and messages, and the more time
people spend “living” in the world of television, the more likely they are to
report perceptions of social reality which can be traced to (or are congruent
with) television’s most persistent representations of life and society.
As reminders of what is “right” and as sources of cultural ideals of beauty
and bodies, television circulates cultural standards that shape how we come
to see ourselves.
MEDIA AND CULTURAL IDEALS
•!The focus groups began with discussion of how women are
represented in media and the cultural ideals of the female body.
•!Most participants easily recalled images of women who are young;
have perfect skin; and are wrinkle-free, tall, thin, and glamorous.
•!Some described the cultural ideal as sexual, powerful, strong, and
confident; others compared her to Barbie; a Playboy Bunny and a
•!Although recalling these media images was easy, reconciling this
cultural ideal with the participants’’ own ideas about ideal bodies
•!Some denied the existence of a cultural ideal.
•!For some, a single body type did not come to mind when she
envisioned the cultural ideal.
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