Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice

By Thomas F. Cash; Thomas Pruzinsky | Go to book overview
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2.Physical Attractiveness
A Sociocultural Perspective

LINDA A. JACKSON

All the beauty of the world 'tis but skin deep.

—RALPH VENNING, The Triumph of Assurance

Beauty's only skin deep.

Judge not according to the appearance.
—JOHN 7:24

Never judge a book by its cover.

Beauty is not judged objectively, but according to the beholder's estimation.
—THEOCRITUS, The Idyll

Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.


THE SOCIOCULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
ON PHYSICAL ATTRACTIVENESS

The sociocultural perspective is an approach to understanding human behavior that focuses on how cultural values influence individual values and behavior. It encompasses a variety of theoretical approaches that share the premise that cultural values are important in understanding how individuals are perceived by others and how they perceive themselves. For example, if the culture values attractiveness in its members, then individuals will value attractiveness in themselves and others. If the culture admonishes against the importance of attractiveness, as the above cultural maxims suggest, then individuals will likewise consider it unimportant in judging themselves and others.

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Body Image: A Handbook of Theory, Research, and Clinical Practice
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