The State of Body in Consumer Culture from A Socio-Psychological Standpoint

Ivana Brstilo Lovrić and Lana Batinić
Catholic University of Croatia


In recent decades in social sciences, as sociology and psychology, the interdisciplinary interest in the analysis of the body is increasing, especially within perspectives of the body as a social construction that indicates the flexibility and openness of the body to a various social meaning. This is greatly contributed by the development of consumer culture that determines body as an individual project in the making, operating on the outer aesthetic level, and in the same time entering into the intimate areas of the human psyche and emotions. Many researches in this area have claimed that pressure which women feel about their body image, as well as their constant endeavor to be thinner, are actually part of the socio-cultural norms in Western society. Accordingly, women were considered to have a more negative body image compared to men, which resulted in the realization that women's dissatisfaction with their own bodies was almost normative. Nevertheless more recent studies suggest that men are also dissatisfied with their body image in a way that they are less focused in losing weight, but more in increasing their muscle mass. This is supported by various consumer trends that will be considered in the examples of diets, cosmetic surgery, fitness, as well as the consummation of weight loss, muscle mass and immunity products. With these practices, entire markets or niches are developing, promoting body in a a matter of individual responsibility, while at the same time showing that it is less a creation of nature, and increasingly a matter of consumer self-investment.