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Flashcards in Lecture 12 Deck (41):

Are somatotypes a legitimate science?




Rotund, soft, and overweight. Easygoing, gregarious, self-indulgent. Not prone to violence.



Tall, slender. Nervous, high-strung, introspective and thoughtful. Loners who might engage in vandalism, theft, or other non-violent crimes.



Less sensitive, more aggressive.


How is deviance constructed when it comes to body types?

Children’s movies and books idealize thinness. Associate it with positive attributes. Obesity correlated with negative attributes. Also, Barbie dolls.


Many scholars reject this idea about body types, but public agrees to it.

Believe that it can be transmitted genetically, that you are born into violence.


Do Barbie dolls represent the normal women?



How do Barbies affect young girls?

- See this as the ideal body type for women.
- Girls who play with Barbies have lower opinions about their bodies, and a desire to be thin like Barbies.


In the adult world, media body images are often ___.

Edited. Digital retouching, photoshopping.


How does the media affect women's self-image?

Women hold themselves to the standard of retouched photos.


How does the media affect men's ideas of women?

Men who are exposed to the ideal body type have unrealistic expectations of women.


Voluntary Aspects

Element of physical appearance that we have some control over. Connected to subcultures.


Involuntary Aspects

Height, disfigurements, and physical disabilities.


How does the scientific method approach body size?

Science is based on health risks and harm. BMI. 18.5-24.9. Individuals above that range are overweight, while those under are underweight. WHO report that worldwide, 1.4 billion adults are overweight. 3 million die each year from being sedentary.


Causes of obesity:

Lifestyle choices, saturation of culture with unhealthy food, emotional factors, and interactions between human biology and human culture over a long period of evolution.


Interactions between human biology and human culture over a long period of evolution cause obesity. Explain this:

As mammals and primates, humans have the opportunity to store body fat when the opportunity to consume excess energy arises. Such opportunities were rare and transient, Also had to engage in lots of physical activity. Evolved elaborate and complex physiological systems to protect against starvation. However, we also devised technological ways to decrease effort and increase energy consumption.


How do sociologists talk about obesity?

- It is a form of physical deviance.
- Obesity is portrayed as a social problem.


How is obesity portrayed by the general public?

Many people see obesity as a form of deviance. Manifestation of weak, self-indulgent, or lazy behaviour. Ignore social-scientific viewpoint.


Fat Shaming

Making someone who is obese feel inadequate in some way.


How does fat shaming vary between cultures?

While most cultures see a morbidly obese person as problematic, some racial groups have different views. African-American women are often complimented by their African-American partners for having a larger body size. Larger body sizes can be a sign of wealth and status.


Thin or Skinny Shaming

Making someone who is thin feel inadequate in some way.


Example of thin shaming:

“Real Women Have Curves” campaign.


Why is thin shaming problematic?

Trying to counter the thin standard of beauty. However, still singles out a certain kind of women as beautiful.



Combines extremely low body weight with other physical and psychological symptoms.


Muscle Dysmorphia

Bigorexia. They can never get big enough.


4 causes of anorexia:

- Psychoanalysis: Problematic mother-child relationship.
- Controlling families: Create anxiety, don’t have ownership over yourself. Exhibit control by reducing what you eat.
- Hormonal factors.
- Internalized social norms: Usually from media, emphasis on thinness.


True or false? “Too thin” takes longer to take hold than “too fat.”



True or false? Media participates only in the social typing of "too fat."

Media takes part in the social typing of too thin, just as it participates in the social typing of too fat.


Why do we have to be skeptical of soft sciences?

Standard in soft sciences is much lower than disciplines like physics.


Problem with the Barbie study:

Relationship determined has a major error. Were exposed to images of Barbies, n dolls, or no dolls at all. Then completed assessments of body image. Girls who played with Barbie desired a thiner body shape, and had a poor body image. However, this immediate negative impact of the Barbie doll was no longer evident in the oldest girls in that group (8).


What did a follow up study to the Barbie study find?

Another study found that although exposure to Barbie may lead to higher thin ideals among little girls, this exposure has no impact on body esteem or body dissatisfaction.


Is there a long-term impact in adults for playing with Barbies?

The idea behind these studies is that what adult women think about their bodies have some origin in childhood experiences. We do not know.


What is wrong with the view that body ideals are socially constructed?

Almost like they’re saying these ideals are fantasies. There is way more consistency than there is variance, both between cultures, historically, and geographically.


Why would clean and clear skin be a near universal ideal?

Biology and psychology say that skin quality conveys a lot of valuable information about prospective female mates. Blemishless women signal lower androgen and higher estrogen levels. Fluctuates with menstrual cycle.


Why would ratio between waist and hip ratio be a near universal ideal?

Sexual trait that is unique to humans. Well known to influence men’s mate preferences. Women’s ratio provides information about age, health, and fertility. Men’s preferences concerning this physical features may play a cognitive adaptation selected in the human lineage.


Why should we be skeptical that unrealistic female body images might influence men in a negative way.

Hundreds of studies show that the body type most men prefer is larger. Points to a more complex relationship. Maybe we are critical of media messages we internalize.


Why should we be skeptical that men feel insecure about their bodies due to an unrealistic view of men?

However, men are not a homogenous population. Gay men have more appearance concerns than heterosexual men. Not that much evidence that most heterosexual men respond to this pressure from women.


What is the difference between men and women when they are dissatisfied with the way they look?

Even if men are dissatisfied with the way they look, it does not mean that they are motivated to change their appearance. Women are.


Describe the unrealistic body image of the Ancient Greeks:

Ancient Greeks thought beautiful body was a reflection of a beautiful mind. Sculptures were thought of to be an impossible ideal. However, we now realize that these sculptures were made from casts of real people. Representing the best of themselves.


True or false? Anorexia is a function of TV and magazines.



Looking at anorexia skeptically:

- Hypocrites reported more than 2 millennia ago that eating disorders occurred predominantly among women. Puts to bed the notion that media images alone are to blame.
- Even in cultures where Western media’s thin ideals are not as prevalent, anorexia exists.
- Very few of the women who are exposed to the ideal body images in media become anorexic.