Communication about Beauty (literature Review)

Task: Write a literature review on communication about beauty in marketing writing pieces.
Essay Topic: Communication about Beauty
Essay Type: Literature Review
Length: 7 pages
Formatting: APA
Requirements: Create a literature review dealing with appealing advertising beauty communication in marketing writing.
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Scholars across numerous disciplines see marketing as more than communication about things; publicizing is also well thought-out as a carrier of artistic values (Frith, K., Shaw, P., & Cheng, H. (2005). Promotion works by connecting particular values significant to a group of individuals with a particular brand and underscores how these significances may be expanded and experienced through acquisition and consumption of the product (p. 56). In this way, promotion communications echo how people behave while instantaneously providing ideas and images about society’s attitudes and lifestyles. Moreover, advertising endorses, glamorizes, and inevitably strengthens particular cultural values while ignoring others. Relative to beauty and attractiveness, by omitting some features and diverse characteristics in portrayals, advertisers promote aspirational images and “beauty ideal” which are narrow and unrealistic (Greer, 1999).

Advertisers strategically attempt to imprint particular images for a brand in the minds of consumers when planning marketing communication programs, four dimensions are used frequency, reach, continuity, and impact). Although there are varying opinions about how often a message needs to be seen or heard, consumers must be exposed to a particular commercials a number of times before it is believed that the message will not only make an impression in the consumer’s mind, but also that The consumer will retain and act on the message. Advertisers’ goals are to reach as many people as often as possible with the most influence as possible. A way to look at the impact or effect advertising messages have on people is via Cultivation. The theory suggests that acquaintance with and repetition of communications and images through mass media encourages discernments of the world. The more people are open to media, the more they will trust images, messages, and ideas are real the insights of reality is instilled in people through a lot of media exposure and it has a conformist or standardizing effect on art, music, and literature as a whole. Although initially based on television programing, the theory has since been extended to other mass media and cultures.

Cultivation theory is important in understanding how romanticized images of beauty and other gendered artistic roles communicated repeatedly through media influence women. Specifically, in the current image-obsessed culture where women are exposed to narrow ideas of attractiveness, primarily described as young, thin, big eyes, full lips, flawless skin, and high cheek bones women will more likely think these images are real and attainable (Frith,  Shaw, & Cheng, 2005). Perfect images can leave women with attitudes of unhappiness and disappointment particularly in terms of self-image, eating disorders, and other induced illnesses. Research in this area is significant because images touch on women’s health and well-being. Distinguishing visuals that young women especially are exposed to can aid in considering potential sources of low self-esteem and other disadvantageous social-psychological issues among women. It is also vital to consider that beauty ideals are culturally constructed and not the same ubiquitously. However, as philosophy is all around us, it is often difficult to detect or articulate, but an evaluation of two nations can help highlight subtleties. The next sections provide imageries of artistic behavior related to attractiveness that goes beyond mere physical attributes in different countries.

In research, conflicting France and U.S. advertising in general, Maddux, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (2010) discovered that French communications had more demonstrative, sex, and comic appeals, while American journals and other forms of print media had more depictions on all cues. As no study compares beauty precisely in these two nations, research from books, videos, articles, and blogs are used to back the conception that French women tend to be inconspicuous about their beauty lifestyles and focus on great skincare. American women, on the other hand, spend less time and money on skincare and choose to invest in makeup to concealment flaws. They are motivated to acquiring makeup based on quantity, not quality. Watzlawick, Bavelas & Jackson (2011) analysed a prime-time television location comedies to scrutinize the body weights of the main female characters. The study also analysed the stated comments received from other characters concerning body weight as well as the central characters’ self-comments about their own body weight, shape and dieting activities. The analysis found that females who were below average body weight were over-represented receiving more positive verbal comments regarding body weight and shape from the male characters than the above average characters. Above average characters were therefore, under-represented with slimming characters giving themselves more verbal chastisement for their body weight and shape. In another content scrutiny study, Kang & Herr (2006) analysed newspaper coverage of the 2000 Olympic Games and found substantial bias against women in the way the feminine athletes’ matrimonial status, emotions, physical desirability, and dependence on others were repeatedly denoted to in journalists’ reports. Such portrayals were undoubtedly not used to the same extent in news about male athletes. Both these studies emphasize the strong gendered communications in the media that are not only transferred through images but also through etymological content.

According to Kang & Herr, (2006), the media over the last two decades, have made a noteworthy attempt to keep off stereotypical gender depictions. They even go as far as claiming that since the 1990s masculine and feminine roles on television have become progressively equal and unbiased based on entrenched stereotypes. Yet, is it the same for other forms of media? If so, some would contend that this change may has been conveyed  by the upsurge and status of television presentations such as reality television shows, game shows, talk shows, lifestyle, and remodelling shows since the1990s as they have conveyed a new level of contribution and superior convenience to appear in the media. Bonner denotes to these shows as ‘conventional television’ (Horai, Naccari, & Fatoullah, 1974). It is an ordinary programming, which diminishes the divide between the watcher and the watched but more significantly, it integrates ordinary people into the platforms organized by television casters. This has subsequently led to a growth in the making of commonplace celebrities. Some consider the introduction of media access as a sign of more freedom for people to express themselves. Thus, it has indicated an augmentation of gender depiction in the media.

Irving (1990) has a different opinion about the above postulation:  he stated that, “there is no indispensable association between, a widening demographic in the arrangement of access and media depiction and egalitarian politics. Hence, these changes are more appropriately seen as a tactical move by showbiz business moguls rather than democratic turn. With such an upsurge in the number of superstars in recent years, many would agree that their novelty is waning and they are starting to become less and less interesting. Therefore, one could argue that in order for a celebrity to stand out from the crowd they need to step away from the ordinariness and strive to be different. Yet, would this difference therefore mean frustrating to imitate to the definitive ideal image that the media represents or would it mean being dissimilar to what the media prospects are? Thus, it could be that the supposed democratization of the media and the increase in celebrity culture is in fact working against an augmentation of representation because if everyone is striving to achieve a certain necessary image to remain in the public eye, then the bar will continue to rise with everyone demanding to gain distinction. Whilst achievement distinction will develop even harder to realize it is only likely to hamper depiction rather than widen it in the long run. In the past, television, weeklies, and monthlies have tended to be the two most standard mediums to be subjected to detailed study and analysis regarding gender exemplification and body image. However, given that newspapers are created more frequently and transmission figures are much sophisticated than publications and most television programmes, certainly newspapers need to be recognised more with regards to its potential level of impact. Research consequently needs to reflect this as the type of impact can only truly begin to be discussed once the way the depiction of gender and body image in newspapers today have precisely and thoroughly been analysed.

An examination of newspapers in 2000 and two years later in 2005 by Wykes and Gunter (2005) discovered how women still “feature hardly unless sexually striking and/ or associated with a famous man. Whether prominent or not in their own veracity, it is their sexual character (mother, wife, lover, rape victim) that tends to be extraordinary. Moreover the typology of those featured is very narrow: young, slender, white, light-coloured, celebrated and under-dressed, and the depiction tend to be visual rather than spoken”. Yet, if definitely the media is experiencing a route to democratization in the middle of the current celebrity climate, should this not be replicated in the range of images and discussions published and portrayed in newspapers? In recognition of the power of the media and its potential to inspiration and affect audience discernments, along with the claim that the rise in ordinary television has resulted in greater access to and contribution in the media, the subsequent inquiry aims to test whether this has indeed meant a modification in depiction of gender and body image. Hence, this happens through the deconstruction and scrutiny of newspapers.

Scholarly interest in the representation of men in the media and the construction of virility has not been as significant. The study of gender demonstration in the media have a tendency to to focus on women, to the extent that the depiction of men and mannishness have often not even been observed as challenging but their roles have instead been viewed as positive, good, admirable and emulative . Men and virility in the media have consequently been treated as the ‘norm’ and as a result of this importance within research on the role of women, the male sex role is believed to retain appearances that are simply opposite to those of the conventional female and thus have a propensity to be illustrated merely by default.


Frith, K., Shaw, P., & Cheng, H. (2005). The Construction of Beauty: A Cross‐Cultural Analysis of Women’s Magazine Advertising. Journal of communication, 55(1), 56-70.

Horai, J., Naccari, N., & Fatoullah, E. (1974). The effects of expertise and physical attractiveness upon opinion agreement and liking. Sociometry, 601-606.

Irving, L. M. (1990). Mirror images: Effects of the standard of beauty on the self-and body-esteem of women exhibiting varying levels of bulimic symptoms. Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology, 9(2), 230-242.

Kang, Y. S., & Herr, P. M. (2006). Beauty and the beholder: Toward an integrative model of communication source effects. Journal of Consumer Research, 33(1), 123-130.

Maddux, J. E., & Rogers, R. W. (2010). Effects of source expertness, physical attractiveness, and supporting arguments on persuasion: A case of brains over beauty. Journal of personality and social psychology, 39(2), 235.

Watzlawick, P., Bavelas, J. B., & Jackson, D. D. (2011). Pragmatics of human communication: A study of interactional patterns, pathologies and paradoxes. WW Norton & Company.

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