Altered images: understanding the influence of unrealistic images and beauty aspirations

Heather Widdows, Fiona MacCallum

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12 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper we consider the impact of digitally altered images on individuals’ body satisfaction and beauty aspirations. Drawing on current psychological literature we consider interventions designed to increase knowledge about the ubiquity and unreality of digital images and, in the form of labelling, provide information to the consumer. Such interventions are intended to address the negative consequences of unrealistic beauty ideals. However, contrary to expectations, such initiatives may not be effective, especially in the long-term, and may even be counter-productive. We seek to understand this phenomenon of our continued aspiration for beauty ideals we know to be unreal and even impossible. We draw on our respective disciplines to offer psychological and philosophical accounts for why this might be. We conclude that beauty ideals are deeply embedded in our aspirations, practices, and in our constructions of ourselves. Given this, it is not surprising that simply increasing knowledge, or providing information, will be insufficient to challenge them.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Care Analysis
Early online date18 Jul 2016
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 18 Jul 2016


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