Sex Roles

, Volume 60, Issue 1, pp 128–141

Media Context, Female Body Size and Perceived Realism

  • Claudia A. Barriga
  • Michael A. Shapiro
  • Rayna Jhaveri
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-008-9482-7

Cite this article as:
Barriga, C.A., Shapiro, M.A. & Jhaveri, R. Sex Roles (2009) 60: 128. doi:10.1007/s11199-008-9482-7


Women with larger body types are underrepresented and presented negatively on television. Two experiments explored the possibility that program context, specifically the roles women play on television, may influence judgments about the realism of various women’s body types. Both experiments, one with 92 undergraduate students at a large university in the northeastern United States, and one with 69 mall patrons in the same area, found that while the body type of an actress had little effect in a domestic setting, larger women were perceived as less realistic and less likely to get a television role in a professional setting. The results have implications for how audiences judge body types and for how audiences make realism judgments.


Media contextFemale body sizePerceived realismGender roles

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Claudia A. Barriga
    • 1
  • Michael A. Shapiro
    • 2
  • Rayna Jhaveri
  1. 1.Department of CommunicationCornell UniversityIthacaUSA
  2. 2.Department of CommunicationCornell UniversityIthacaUSA