University Students’ Perception on the Influence of the “Ideal” Media Body Image on their Choice of Clothing in Kenya

  • Nancy Nguchara Family and Consumer Sciences Department, University of Eldoret, Kenya
  • Dorcas J. Serem Family and Consumer Sciences Department, University of Eldoret, Kenya
  • Gertrude M. Were Family and Consumer Sciences Department, University of Eldoret, Kenya
Keywords: University Students, Perception, Ideal Body Image, Clothing

Abstract

The study focused on examining the perception university students have concerning their body appearance in relation to what the media portrays as ‘ideal body image’. University students spend most of their time on social and mainstream media where they get to observe, like and share  images portrayed by the media as ‘ideal image’. Studies have shown that the unrealistic body images portrayed as ‘ideal’ by the media causes  individuals to develop negative body images on themselves which eventually results into body image dissatisfaction therefore, this study  focused on determining students perception on what the media portrays as ideal body appearance; establishing the extent to which students are satisfied with their body appearance in relation to what the media portrays as ideal body appearance: examining the influence of the media body appearance on the students’ choice of clothing: and finally investigating ways used by the students to achieve their desired body appearance. The study was conducted in four universities; that is, University of Eldoret, Kirinyaga University Egerton University and St. Paul’s University.  From each university, a sample of 132 students was randomly selected to participate in the study. This gave a total of 528 study respondents. A self-administered questionnaire and focus group discussion were used to collect data. In terms of body weight, Chi square statistics showed that there was a significant difference among the students in relation to their perception towards their body weight, at p<0.05 level of significance.  In particular, among the students who perceived their body weight was very far from the ideal body image, majority of them were from university of Eldoret, followed by those from Egerton University and then Kirinyaga University College.  St. Paul’s University had the least number of students who felt that their body weight was very far from the ideal image.  This implies that most of the students from University of Eldoret were not comfortable with their body appearance compared to those from other universities. However, further analysis indicated that a significant number of the students from the four sampled universities were psychologically affected by people’s judgment in relation to their body appearance. Media and peer pressure were major influencing factor in student’s choice of clothing as such, majority of these students reported to have ever considered buying products to assist them in losing weight and achieving ideal body image. Among them, the highest number of the students was from University of Eldoret, followed by those from Kirinyaga University and then Egerton University. The study therefore concludes that most of the university students were not satisfied with their body appearance which eventually affects their self-esteem and academic performance The study recommends that there is need for the media to use women and men of different body images during fashion events and advertisements. This will promote positive thinking and create a sense of pride.

References

Bessenoff, G. (2006). Can the media affect us? Social comparison, self-discrepancy and the thin ideal. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30(3), 239-251.

Body Image Facts (2006). Retrieved Feb 23, 2018, from:

Caldwell, J. T. (2008). Production culture: Industrial reflexivity and critical practice in film and television. Durham: Duke University Press.

Carvajal, D. (2008). French bill takes chic out of being too thin. New York Times, health. Retrieved from http://www.nytimes.com/ 2018/ 04/ 16/ world/ europe/ 16france.html

Cash, T. & Pruzinsky, T. (Eds.). (2002). Body image: A handbook of theory, research and clinical practice. London: The Guilford Press.

Cash, T. F. (2005). The influence of sociocultural factors on body image: Searching for constructs. Clinical Psychology: Science and Practice, 12(4), 438-442.

Dohnt, H. & Tiggemann, M. (2006b). The contribution of peer and mediainfluences to the development of body satisfaction and self-esteem in younggirls: A prospective study. Developmental Psychology, 42, 929–936.

Frisby, C. M. (2004). Does race matter? Effects of idealized images onAfrican American women’s perceptions of body esteem. Journal of Black Studies, 34, 323–347.

Grabe, S., & Hyde, J. S. (2006). Ethnicity and body dissatisfaction amongwomen in the United States: A meta-analysis. Psychological Bulletin, 132, 622–640.

Hawkins, N., Richards, P.S., Granley, H.M., & Stein, D.M. (2004).The impact of exposure to the thin-ideal media image on women. Eating Disorders, 12, 35-50.

Hobza, C., Walker, K., Yakushko, O. & Peugh, J. (2007). What about men? Socialcomparison and the effects of media images on body and self-esteem. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 8(3), 161-172.

Jarry, J. & Kossert, A. (2007). Self-esteem threat combined with exposure to thin media images leads to body image compensatory self-enhancement. Body Image, 4(1); 39-50.

Jung, J. & Lee, S. (2006). Cross-cultural comparisons of appearance self-schema, body image, self-esteem, and dieting behavior between Korean and U.S. women. Family and Consumer Science Research Journal, 34(4), 350-365.

Klein, H., & Shiffman, K. S. (2005). Thin is ‘in’ and stout is ‘out’: Whatanimated cartoons tell viewers about body weight. Eating and Weight Disorders, 10, 107–116.

Lieberman, M., Gauvin, L., Bukowski, W. & White, D. (2001). Interpersonal influence and disordered eating behaviors in adolescent girls: The role of peer modeling, social reinforcement, and body related teasing. Eating Behaviors, 2, 215-236.

Mugenda, O. & Mugenda, A. (2003). Research Methods: Quantitative and qualitative Approaches. Nairobi; Acts.

Mulgrew, K.E., & Volcevski-Kostas, D. (2012). Short term exposure to attractive and muscular singers in music video clips negatively affects men’s body image and mood. Body image, 9, 543-546.

Pipher, M. (1994). Worshiping the gods of thinness. Reviving Ophelia. New York: Random House, 166-185.

Rosenberg, M. (1965). Society and the adolescent self-image. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

Sparhawk, J. (2003). Body image and the media: The media's influences on body image. Unpublished master's thesis, University of Wisconsin-Stout, Menomonie.

Tiggemann, M. & McGill, B. (2009). The role of social comparison in the effect of magazine, advertisements on women’s mood and body dissatisfaction. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 23 (1), 23-44.

Turbin, C. (2003). Refashioning the concept of public/private: Lessons from dress studies. Journal of Women's History, 15(1), 43-51.

Wykes, M. & Gunter, B. (2005). The Media and Body Image. London: SAGE Publications Ltd.
Published
2018-12-31
How to Cite
Nguchara, N., Serem, D., & Were, G. (2018, December 31). University Students’ Perception on the Influence of the “Ideal” Media Body Image on their Choice of Clothing in Kenya. African Journal of Education,Science and Technology, 4(4), pp 169-180. Retrieved from http://ajest.info/index.php/ajest/article/view/322
Section
Articles