A new study conducted by Julie Albright of the University of Southern California, has found that women watch TV “makeover shows” such as Extreme Makeover and Dr. 90210 more than men, which leads Albright to the conclusion that the more women watch the more they are likely to feel anxiety about their bodies. Albright believes that believes these television shows are driving women to go under the knife to conform to a heightened definition of beauty, one that is increasingly difficult to attain.
“At the very least, these shows act as an advertisement for the plastic surgery industry,” said Albright. “At the most these shows impose unrealistic beauty standards that make people question their own bodies while giving them an instruction manual on how to change their appearance.”
To conduct the study Albright surveyed 662 college students in Los Angeles and Buffalo about their viewing habits and body image. Many of the findings were the same for the two different geographical and socioeconomic areas of the country where the survey was conducted. According to Albright, women in the study equated beauty to wealth and an affluent lifestyle.
“Women are being taught to access power and status through their looks,” said Albright. “Before women might buy a Louis Vuitton purse to show off their ‘status.’ Now they might buy new breasts as a sign of their success.”