October 19, 2018
A QUALITATIVE STUDY PROPOSING A NEW BEAUTY VALUES CONCEPT
My research was based on a rather new concept, Human Beauty Value (HBV). HBV denotes a value that is attained through focusing on the human beauty and a belief that is subjective in relation to desirable end-state of a beautiful body. This is a cultural related concept that is affected by socio-cultural concepts. Beauty is generally only skin-deep but normally the perceived absence of it may cause terrible social bias. As compared to men, women often suffer more from prejudice, social anxiety and also inequality depending on their appearances. Many studies have conducted research that is based on body satisfaction, body image and body perception, clarifying factors that lead to the pursuit of beauty. However, despite many previous researches on these beauty aspects, there is still a controversy as to why women are particularly focusing on a beautiful appearance. Which is why my research was focused on finding reasons as to why women focus so much on having a beautiful appearance.
Current East Asians’ women’s views of beauty have not brought about sufficient interest particularly in academia. Some of the studies have examined a large number of issues that are in relation with the East Asian’s views of how beauty should be but however, they have not collected date from one cultural group instead of all the three Asian cultural groups. Because of this, these studies unfortunately have not effectively identified women’s perception of how beauty should be considering culture consistency and also diversity of the three East Asian cultures. By using a cross-cultural approach, this research outlines the socio-cultural that encourage people to pursue HBV. In addition to this, the approach as well takes a keen interest in consequences of HBV from these three perspectives; behavioral, attitudinal and emotional.
The participants in the study consisted of women aged between 20-33 years old from Japan, China and South Korea. The three cultures often share cultural universality that is affected by their East Asian cultural history. They also have often bear cultural specificity that is influenced by the uniqueness of each and every culture. The study was approved by the Institutional Review Board so as to ensure adherence to research standards. We conducted a sum of ten focus group interviews with sixty participants.
The study used Grounded Theory for the data analysis. This is a qualitative method of research that proposes a new theory through interpretations and observations of what individuals recognize and also their reaction to a given phenomenon that arises while in the field. Using this approach, the study confirmed that HBV is a clear concept that is applied in all the three Asian cultures. Since HBV is versatile, we only used the first two steps from the three options: axial coding, open coding and selective coding.
The study discovered that the pursuit of HBV is a social phenomenon among the three Asian cultures. In addition to this we also identified socio-cultural antecedents and consequences of HBV as the most applicable constructs highlighting the social phenomenon related to HBV. Four dimensions of HBV was identified from the study: authenticity, self-development, individuality and superiority. The study also identified antecedents that have an impact to HBV to be social comparison, social competition and social norms. HBV was also discovered to influence the seeking of body image and women’s self-concept.
Many women are struggling to attain the perceived beauty standards, a concept that has adversely affected many women in a variety of ways. I decided to choose this topic in a bid to identify the basic reasons for women’s perception of beauty and to understand the hierarchical process among the antecedents and the consequences that are related to women’s thirst for beauty. The pursuit of HBV has become a great concern to many people, especially women, and many have failed to understand exactly why it matters so much to them. The society has formed its own beauty standards and many women have suffered physically and emotionally in a bid to attain the set beauty standards. For this reason, this study was started in order to try and make the puzzle clear for many people who are struggling to find answers as to why they always suffer to go the extra mile of pleasing the society.
The study also identifies the ideal value that women put on beauty and highlights reasons why the women want to be beautiful. Cultural, social and personal factors have all received a lot of attention as the antecedents of HBV value but cultural factors have been found to be the most important one among the three. A study of these cultural factors was used as a tool to effectively understand the HBV concept. The study finds the basic reasons why everyone is so much focused on being beautiful such that they forget other important things. Which is why this study explains to them reasons why they focus so much on beauty. This is to enable them understand that they do not have to conform themselves to the society’s set standards of how beauty should be. The study also highlights consequences of the pursuit of beauty and explains how these consequences are brought up. This is to enable women to see the negative impacts that intense pursuit of beauty can cause to their health and life in general. My objective was to enable people understand that they are beautiful just the way they are by finding out what really makes people want to pursue beauty.
The pursuit of beauty among women is worldwide and revolves around the concepts of social comparison, social competition and social norms. This has led to changes in behavior, attitude and emotional consequences. The study used the concept of HBV that could make it more clear for people to understand the perceptions of beauty in Japanese, Chinese and South Korea cultures. The findings of the study were as follows; To begin with the study discovered the homogenous and heterogeneous factors tied to the perception of beauty by women among the three Asian cultures. Secondly, the study gives a starting point in order to predict the numerous social phenomenon that relates to women’s beauty by clearly revealing the reasons why women pursue beauty in the three cultures. Thirdly, the hierarchical process for HBV shows a new paradigm towards the studies that are in relation to women’s beauty from numerous cultural perspectives.
The study shows a theoretical foundation for HBV concept and provides insights into perception of beauty in the three distinctive Asian cultures. The study was successful but however presented some limitations. First, the results were drawn from a relatively small number of participants in the focus group interviews. It is therefore difficult to make the results general for all women in the three cultures since the information received is not sufficient. Secondly, it is difficult to reach a conclusion that the participants from Chinese and Japanese cultures are potentially perfectly representative of their home cultures due to the acculturation effects brought about by the Korean culture. It would also be good to include the male participants in the study since the pursuit of beauty phenomenon involves them as well. This is also important since men’s perception of beauty is slightly different from that of women. Therefore, it would be a good platform for carrying out comparison of both sexes. A confirmatory research seconding this study also ought to be carried out so as to confirm the results of the study. A HBV scale that is validated should be established so as to establish the concept of HBV. In order to come up with the scale, sub-categories in each dimension should be extracted based on quantitative data and also the literature reviews of the related studies. Afterwards, statistical verification should be implemented. An empirical investigation based on the hierarchical process of HBV is also a necessity. This study, that proposed the hierarchical process for HBV that represented all the phenomenon relating to women’s beauty tried to explore the question, “why do women want to be beautiful?” if future research takes a quantitative approach towards realizing the HBV concept, that would be a major step in coming up with new terminology.
In a nutshell, the pursuit of beauty among people, especially women has drawn a lot of attention and this has caused a lot of consequences. This has been brought up by social comparison mainly and people seeking for approval from the society
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