Journal of Mass Communication & Journalism

ISSN: 2165-7912

Open Access

Is Ugly the New Beautiful? An Investigation of Perceptions of Beauty by Young Female Viewers of Ugly Betty in the US


Erin L Ryan

In today’s society, media stereotypes of women have resulted in a perception of beauty that is often unattainable. Such media stereotypes often lend themselves to negative social comparisons. In this study, one hundred twentyeight middle school girls were surveyed to determine the relationship between viewing an “ugly” lead character on television and their perceptions of beauty. Results indicate that as the number of hours spent with television increased, traditional views of beauty increased and positive thoughts about one’s own body decreased. Nonviewers of Ugly Betty had a higher regard for the character of Betty, and were more likely to compare their own bodies to those of their peers. These results are discussed in the context of social comparison theory and previous media effects research on stereotypes.


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