Sexuality and Consumerism Term Paper

Sexuality and Consumerism
A look at how young women's identity and self-esteem are influenced by standards of beauty set by today's society.
# 95475 | 2,558 words | 22 sources | MLA | 2007 | CA

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Using symbolic theory and identity theory, this paper describes the internalization of symbols portrayed in the sexual consumerist culture and looks how these unattainable standards make self-verification near impossible. Self-verification--a matching of self perception and perceived identity standards--is a crucial part of one's self-esteem. The inability to feel we've attained the society standards creates a disturbance in our cognition and makes us feel incompetent and unworthy. This paper looks behind the production of fashion magazines and what implications these consumerism-driven values have on today's young women's self-esteem.

Sexuality & Consumerism
Symbolic Interaction with Identity
Behind the Production of Fashion Magazines
Internalization of Identity Standards in Magazines
Implications of Low Self-Esteem

From the Paper:

"Self-esteem plays an important role in both our cognition and behavior. As Cast & Burke (2002) suggest that self-esteem serves as a self-motive directing our behavior; to an extent where we could be creating opportunity structures or social contexts that allow self-verification. Young women are at their transition phase in entering womanhood. They are unattached to major life demands, still exploring in the field of romance and sex, finding their identity. This explorative stage leaves their self-esteem and identity particularly vulnerable especially when they are the targets of the consumerist market. Sexual consumerism projects certain values that symbolically interact with young women's identity; and in turn has an effect on their self esteem. There are two main values in the contemporary brand of "femininity": being sexually seductive and attainment of physical beauty."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • Attwood, Feona. 2005. "Fashion and Passion: Marketing Sex to Women." Sexualities 8: 392-406.
  • Brown, Jane D. 2000. "Adolescents' Sexual Media Diets." Journal of Adolescent Health 26S: 35-40.
  • Cast, Alicia and Burke, Peter. 2002. "A Theory of Self-Esteem." Journal of Social Forces 80(3) 1041-1068.
  • David, Susannah E. 2005. "De/Constructions of romance and the body in women's magazines: Implications for gender." Disseration: Faculty of the California School of Professional Psychology. Alliant International University.
  • Davison, Tanya E. and McCabe, Marita P. 2005. "Relationships between men's and women's body image and their psychological, social, and sexual functioning." Sex Roles 52:463-475.

Cite this Term Paper:

APA Format

Sexuality and Consumerism (2007, May 24) Retrieved December 15, 2019, from

MLA Format

"Sexuality and Consumerism" 24 May 2007. Web. 15 December. 2019. <>