Black Diamonds’ social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images

Black Diamonds’ social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images
Black Diamonds’ social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion
magazine images
Candice Grebe
M Consumer Science (Clothing Management)
Supervisor: Prof HM De Klerk
May 2011
© University of Pretoria
Black Diamonds’ social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion
magazine images
by
Candice Grebe
(23018977)
Submitted in fulfillment of the requirements of the degree
M Consumer Science (Clothing Management)
in the
Faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences
Department of Consumer Science
University of Pretoria
May 2011
Declaration
I declare that the thesis, which I hereby submit for the degree M Consumer Science (Clothing
Management) at the University of Pretoria, is my own work and has not been submitted by me for a
degree at this or any other tertiary institution.
Candice Grebe
Synopsis
Black Diamonds’ social comparison and reflected
appraisals of fashion magazine images
by
Candice Grebe
Supervisor:
Prof HM de Klerk
Department:
Consumer Science
Degree:
M Consumer Science (Clothing management)
From the clothing theory, it is evident that the mass media as generalised “other”, dictates the opinion
of what is acceptable and not acceptable regarding fashion. The role that the mass media play in the
clothing consumer’s purchases, and more specifically the decision-making process surrounding
fashion products, cannot be underestimated. From a social-cultural and aesthetic point of view, it can
be argued that culture or sub-culture can play an important role in the aesthetic ideal of beauty of
consumers. It is suggested that consumers of different cultural backgrounds have varying beliefs about
what is defined as “beautiful” in each of their cultures. Fashion magazines in South Africa largely
convey a global appearance ideal, but individuals often tend to also evaluate their appearances against
the cultural or sub-cultural beauty ideal in which they reside. Cultural appearance standards in the
form of skin colour, hairstyles, body, style, dress, and cultural artefacts (such as accessories) may
differ among different cultures and sub-cultures (Craig, 1991). Magazine marketers should thus aim to
provide a specific targeted consumer group with a fashion magazine that contains content that satisfies
their particular sub-cultural aesthetic needs, personal appearances and standards. People across
cultures have the need to compare themselves to others, and with the focus on fashion, appearance is
evaluated and compared by the targeted consumers on the basis of either cultural factors or personal
factors (Lennon, Rudd, Sloan & Kim, 1999). Fashion serves as a generalised “other” against whom a
person can compare him- or herself with. The targeted consumers may not engage in comparison if the
i
appearances of fashion models used in fashion magazine advertisements are too different from the
person’s own appearance and standards.
It seems that the importance of the above mentioned factors in the decision-making process of
consumers regarding fashion products and fashion magazines in particular, have not yet been fully
realised in South Africa by magazine marketers and the advertising industry. The women in the
Mzanzi Youth sub-segment, serving as the target market for this study, fall under the Black Diamonds
consumer group, which is one of the most important up and coming consumer groups in South Africa.
It is apparent that this consumer group has a lot of potential and could reap rewards if targeted
successfully, yet there is not a fashion magazine that is known of in South Africa that specifically
caters for them. Unfortunately little is known about their beauty standards and the appearance of a
beauty ideal that they would prefer to compare themselves with, and fashion magazines are therefore
not able to fully tap into this potential market. The Purpose of this study was therefore to explore and
describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segments’ social comparisons and reflected appraisals of
fashion magazine images. It is envisaged that the results of this study would contribute to fashion
magazine editors’ and marketers’ understanding of this market’s beauty standards and preferences for
beauty ideals that can serve as a generalised “other” in social comparison, in such a way that it can
contribute to a positive self-image and an interest in, and intention to buy a specific fashion magazine
or the fashion products that are advertised.
The theoretical approach to the study included a literature review on fashion, the consumer and the
role of culture, which include a discussion on fashion magazines and fashion magazine advertisements
or images. The literature also covered the role of cultural beauty ideals and aesthetics in self-esteem.
In order to address the problem, a cultural perspective and the theory on identity and social identity
were combined with the theory on social comparison, and serves as a theoretical perspective, or point
of departure for the research, while also directing the research objectives.
The unit of analysis for this study was young adult black women in South Africa (between 18 and 24
years of age), in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment within the Black Diamond consumer group. A nonprobability sampling technique was employed. The sample for the study was purposive resulting in
ii
the use of the snowball sampling method, with 200 respondents having completed a self-administered
questionnaire.
The study showed that the women in the Mzansi-Youth sub-segment are directed by a strong personal
identity and a need to be acknowledged as an African individual with unique personal characteristics.
It is therefore also important for them that their appearance should symbolise their personal qualities
and not necessarily that of a Westernised fashion style or beauty ideal, or that they belong to a specific
social or sub-cultural group. The study further showed that dress, hairstyle and body shape are
important features in their beauty ideal, directed by their personal identity. With regard to their
aesthetic dimensions that play a role in dress and appearance, for them it is more about the sensory
beauty of their appearance and emotional pleasure that their dress and appearance give them, than
reflecting that they belong to a specific group or culture - indicative of a personal identity, rather than
a social identity. The study further showed that with regard to social comparison, it is not important to
the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment to compare themselves, and specifically their dress and
appearance to those of others, whether it being to their friends, or an African or Westernised beauty
ideal. With regard to appraisals of fashion magazine images, portraying different beauty ideals,
specifically a Western, African and Euro-African beauty ideal, the study showed that the targeted
consumers prefer the Euro-African beauty ideal because they like it, and it is also the appearance that
they can relate to and that they would compare themselves to, although comparison is not important to
them. However, if they have to compare themselves, they would compare the beauty ideal feature that
is the most important to them, namely their dress style. They also mostly compare just for the sake of
comparison and not to feel better about themselves or to feel that they fit into a specific group. In cases
where they compare negatively to an image, whether African, Western or Euro-African beauty ideal,
they will still accept the standard and will do nothing further. Lastly, the study also showed that most
of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment, would probably buy a fashion magazine which
features Euro-African fashion images to see the latest trends and fashion ideas, but not because the
model would inspire them to improve themselves.
This study clearly has practical implications for fashion magazine editors and marketers in South
Africa, as well as for the advertising industry, especially when incorporating fashion images in
advertisements specifically aimed at the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment.
iii
Acknowledgements
I have many people to thank for their valuable input and patience:

Prof. H. M. de Klerk (supervisor), for her valuable input and continuous support throughout
the completion of my studies

Jaqui Sommerville (Statistician, Department of Statistics, UP) and Thea Corbett (Statistician,
Department of Statistics, UP)

My father and mother (Leonard and Elsabe Grebe), family and friends, for their continuous
understanding, patience, support and love.
iv
TABLE OF CONTENTS
LIST OF FIGURES
xi
LIST OF TABLES
xiii
LIST OF ADDENDA
xv
CHAPTER 1: THE STUDY IN PERSPECTIVE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
1
1.2 PROBLEM STATEMENT AND JUSTIFICATION
3
1.3 THEORETICAL APPROACH TO THE STUDY
6
1.3.1 Literature review
6
1.3.1.1 Fashion, the consumer and the role of culture
6
1.3.1.2 The role of cultural beauty ideals and aesthetics in self-esteem
7
1.3.2 Choice of a theoretical perspective for the study
9
1.3.2.1 Cultural perspective
9
1.3.2.2 Social comparison theory
10
1.3.2.3 Identity and social identity theory
11
1.4 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND OBJECTIVES
13
1.4.1 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
13
1.4.2 OBJECTIVES
15
1.5 SAMPLING PROCEDURE AND DATA COLLECTION METHOD
16
1.5.1 SAMPLING PROCEDURE
16
1.5.1.1 Unit of analysis
16
1.5.1.2 Sample selection
17
1.5.2 DATA COLLECTION METHOD
17
1.5.2.1 Design
17
1.5.2.2 Subjects
18
1.5.2.3 Stimulus Materials
18
1.5.2.4 Procedure
18
1.5.2.5 Measure
19
v
1.6 PRESENTATION AND STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS
20
1.6.1 Chapter 2: Literature Review
20
1.6.2 Chapter 3: Literature Review
20
1.6.3 Chapter 4: Theoretical Perspective
20
1.6.4 Chapter 5: Research Methodology
20
1.6.5 Chapter 6: Results and Data Analysis
21
1.6.6 Chapter 7: Discussion of Results and Interpretation
21
1.6.7 Chapter 8: Conclusions, Evaluations, Contributions to Theory and
Recommendations
21
CHAPTER 2: LITIRATURE REVIEW: THE FASHION INDUSTRY AND
FASHION MAGAZINES
2.1. INTRODUCTION
22
2.2. OVERVIEW OF MAGAZINES
24
2.3. OVERVIEW OF FASHION MAGAZINES
27
2.4. FASHION MAGAZINE ADVERTISEMENTS
29
2.5. ROLE OF FASHION AND FASHION MAGAZINES IN EVERY DAY LIFE
31
2.5.1 Fashion and fashion magazines as “generalized other”
33
2.6. ROLE OF FASHION MAGAZINES IN CONSUMER DECISION-MAKING
35
2.7. TARGETING A CONSUMER SEGMENT
37
2.8. IMPLICATION FOR THE STUDY
41
CHAPTER 3: LITIRATURE REVIEW: THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN
FASHION MAGAZINES
3.1. INTRODUCTION
43
3.2. FASHION, THE CONSUMER AND THE ROLE OF CULTURE
43
3.3. THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN A PERSONAL BEAUTY IDEAL AND AESTHETIC
46
EXPERIENCE
3.4. ROLE OF AESTHETICS AND CULTURE IN FASHION MAGAZINE
ADVERTISEMENTS
50
vi
3.4.1 The role of aesthetics in fashion magazine advertisements and images
50
3.4.2 The role of culture in fashion magazine advertisements and images
51
3.5. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE STUDY
53
CHAPTER 4: THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE
4.1. INTRODUCTION
55
4.2. CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
55
4.3. SOCIAL COMPARISON
57
4.3.1 Social groups
59
4.3.2 Social comparison and culture
60
4.4. IDENTITY
61
4.4.1 THE SOCIAL IDENTITY AND PERSONAL INDENTITY THEORY
62
4.4.1.1 Social Identity Theory
62
4.4.1.2 Personal Identity Theory
64
4.5. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE STUDY
65
CHAPTER 5: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.1. INTRODUCTION
67
5.2. SCHEMATIC CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
67
5.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
69
5.4. RESEARCH STRATEGY AND STYLE
71
5.5. SAMPLING
71
5.5.1 Unit of analysis
71
5.5.2 Sample selection
71
5.5.2.1 Sample strategy
72
5.5.2.2 Sample techniques
72
5.6 CHOICE, DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION OF DATA COLLECTION
METHODS
73
5.6.1 Data collection techniques
73
5.6.2 Data collection method
73
5.6.2.1 Design
73
vii
5.6.2.2 Stimulus Materials
74
5.6.2.3 Evaluation of fashion photographs by fashion experts –Procedure and
interpretation of results
74
5.6.2.3.1 Analysis of results of fashion photographs
76
5.6.3 Procedure
77
5.6.4 Measure
78
5.7. OPERATIONALISATION AND DATA ANALYSIS
79
5.7.1. OPERATIONALISATION
79
5.7.2. DATA ANALYSIS
81
5.8. QUALITY OF THE DATA
82
5.8.1 Validity of the study
82
5.8.1.1 Face Validity
83
5.8.1.2 Content Validity
83
5.8.1.3 Criterion Validity
83
5.8.1.4 Construct Validity
84
5.8.2 Reliability of the study
84
5.9. ETHICS
85
CHAPTER 6: RESULTS AND DATA ANALYSIS
6.1. INTRODUCTION
87
6.2 DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION AND OTHER DESCRIPTIVE CHARACTERISTICS
OF THE SAMPLE
87
6.2.1 Where the target samples’ parents live
88
6.2.2 The respondents are students and/ working
88
6.2.3 How often fashion magazines are read
89
6.2.4 Fashion magazines that the target market are currently reading
90
6.2.5 Reasons for reading fashion magazines
91
6.3. PRESENTATION OF RESULTS AND ANALYSIS OF RESEARCH
OBJECTIVES
91
6.3.1 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 1
91
6.3.2 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 2
94
viii
6.3.2.1 Factor Analysis and Chronbach
97
6.3.3 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 3
99
6.3.4. RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 4
104
6.3.5. RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 5
105
6.3.6. RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 6
106
6.3.7 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 7 AND SUB-OBJECTIVES
107
6.3.7.1 Sub-objective 7.1
107
6.3.7.2 Sub-objective 7.2
111
6.3.7.3 Sub-objective 7.3
113
6.3.7.4 Sub-objective 7.4
113
6.3.7.5 Sub-objective 7.5
125
6.3.7.6 Sub-objective 7.6
132
6.4. CONCLUSION
133
CHAPTER 7: DISCUSSION OF RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION
7.1. INTRODUCTION
135
7.2. DEMOGRAPHICS
135
7.3. IDEAL OF BEAUTY
137
7.4. THE ROLE OF PERSONAL- AND SOCIAL IDENTITY
138
7.5. AESTHETIC DIMENSIONS
140
7.6. SOCIAL COMPARISON
142
7.6.1. Aspects important to compare in ideal of beauty
142
7.6.2. Reasons for comparing to other women
144
7.6.3. Extent of comparison to the various cultural beauty ideals
(Western, African, Euro-African)
145
7.6.4 Coping strategies in case of negative social comparison
148
7.7. APPRAISALS OF THE WESTERN-, AFRICAN-, AND EURO-AFRICAN
FASHION PHOTOGRAPHS AND SUBSEQUENT REACTIONS
150
7.8. CONCLUSION
153
ix
CHAPTER
8:
CONCLUSIONS,
EVALUATIONS,
CONTRIBUTIONS
TO
THEORY AND RECOMMENDATIONS
8.1. INTRODUCTION
154
8.2. CONCLUSIONS OF THE STUDY
154
8.2.1. Demographic background of the sample
154
8.2.2 Overall conclusions
155
8.3. IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY
156
8.4. EVALUATION OF THE STUDY
158
8.4.1 Research Strategy
158
8.4.1.1 Choice of the research sample for the study
159
8.4.1.2 The choice and application of the data collection techniques
159
8.4.1.3 Choice of statistical methods employed
160
8.4.2 Quality of the data
161
8.4.2.1. Validity
161
8.4.2.2. Reliability
162
8.4.3. Achievement of the objectives of the study
163
8.5. THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY TO EXISTING THEORY
163
8.5.1 Personal and Social identity theory
164
8.5.2 Social Comparison theory
164
8.5.3 Aesthetics
165
8.6. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS
166
8.7. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE STUDIES
167
LIST OF REFERENCES
169
x
LIST OF FIGURES
FIGURE 1.1: SCHEMATIC CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
14
FIGURE 1.1: SCHEMATIC CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
68
FIGURE 6.1: WHERE THEIR PARENTS LIVE
88
FIGURE 6.2: STUDENTS AND WORKING
88
FIGURE 6.3: HOW OFTEN FASHION MAGAZINES ARE READ
89
FIGURE 6.4: MAGAZINES CURRENTLY READ
90
FIGURE 6.5: REASONS FOR READING FASHION MAGAZINES
91
FIGURE 6.6: REASONS FOR COMPARING TO OTHER WOMEN
105
FIGURE 6.7: COPING STRATEGIES WHEN COMPARING NEGATIVE TO THEIR
BEAUTY IDEAL
106
FIGURE 6.8.1: REASONS FOR LIKING THE IMAGE
108
FIGURE 6.8.2: REASONS FOR NOT LIKING THE IMAGE
109
FIGURE 6.8.3: REASONS FOR LIKING THE IMAGE
109
FIGURE 6.8.4: REASONS FOR NOT LIKING THE IMAGE
110
FIGURE 6.8.5: REASONS FOR LIKING THE IMAGE
111
FIGURE 6.9: RESPONDENTS’ EVALUATIONS OF IMAGES
112
FIGURE 6.10.1: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO WESTERN BEAUTY IDEAL
114
FIGURE 6.10.2: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO EURO-AFRICAN BEAUTY
IDEAL
114
FIGURE 6.10.3: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
115
FIGURE 6.11.1: WHICH ASPECTS THEY WILL AND WON’T COMPARE
117
FIGURE 6.11.2: WHICH ASPECTS THEY WILL AND WON’T COMPARE
118
FIGURE 6.11.3: WHICH ASPECTS THEY WILL AND WON’T COMPARE
119
xi
FIGURE 6.12.1: OTHER REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE WESTERN
IMAGE
121
FIGURE 6.12.2: OTHER REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE AFRICAN
IMAGE
122
FIGURE 6.12.3: OTHER REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE
EURO-AFRICAN IMAGE
123
FIGURE 6.13.1: REASONS FOR PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
WESTERN IMAGES
127
FIGURE 6.13.2: REASONS FOR NOT PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
WESTERN IMAGES
128
FIGURE 6.13.3: REASONS FOR PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
AFRICAN IMAGES
128
FIGURE 6.13.4: REASONS FOR NOT PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
AFRICAN IMAGES
129
FIGURE 6.13.5: REASONS FOR PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
EURO-AFRICAN IMAGES
130
FIGURE 6.13.6: REASONS FOR NOT PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
EURO-AFRICAN IMAGES
131
xii
LIST OF TABLES
TABLE 5.1: ANALYSIS OF RESULTS OF FASHION PHOTOGRAPHS
75
TABLE 5.2: OPERATIONALISATION: Objectives and Sub-objectives, relative
questions and statistical methods used)
80
TABLE 6.1: RANKING OF ASPECTS IMPORTANT IN IDEAL OF BEAUTY
92
TABLE 6.1.1: FRIEDMAN SUMMARY
92
TABLE 6.2: ASPECTS IMPORTANT IN IDEAL OF BEAUTY
93
TABLE 6.3: IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL BEAUTY STANDARDS
95
TABLE 6.4: IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL BEAUTY STANDARDS
96
TABLE 6.5: FACTOR ANALYSIS
97
TABLE 6.5.1: CHRONBACH ALPHA
99
TABLE 6.6: ROLE OF SENSORY, EMOTIONAL AND SYMBOLIC
DIMENSIONS
100
TABLE 6.6.1: QUESTION 15- MEAN SCORES AND MEDIANS
102
TABLE 6.6.2: FRIEDMAN SUMMARY
103
TABLE 6.7: ASPECTS IMPORTANT TO COMPARE IN IDEAL OF BEAUTY
104
TABLE 6.8: EXTENT TO WHICH RESPONDENTS LIKE THE FASHION
IMAGES
107
TABLE 6.9: EXTENT TO WHICH RESPONDENTS RELATE TO THE IMAGES
113
TABLE 6.10: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO THE VARIOUS BEAUTY
IDEALS
116
TABLE 6.11: REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE VARIOUS IMAGES
120
TABLE 6.12: COPING STATEGIES IN CASE OF NEGATIVE COMPARISON
124
TABLE 6.13: EXTENT TO WHICH MAGAZINES WOULD BE PURCHASED
125
xiii
TABLE 6.14: INTENT TO PURCHASE MAGAZINE FEATURING SIMILAR
IMAGES
131
TABLE 6.15: INTENT TO PURCHASE CLOTHING FEATURED IN THE
IMAGES
132
xiv
LIST OF ADDENDA
ADDENDUM A:
QUESTIONNAIRE
178
ADDENDUM B:
PANEL QUESTIONNAIRE
192
xv
CHAPTER 1
THE STUDY IN PERSPECTIVE
1.1 BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY
Fashion has become an important part in the lives of Westernised society. Fashion helps people from
around the world, any country or origin, to be part of the global society. According to Du Plessis and
Rousseau (2003:372) “It also helps people to relate to different reference groups, cultures, subcultures as well as various social groups”. This can be important to consumers, as it can satisfy the
need for belonging and to relate to other people. Fashion also has the ability to showcase who a
certain individual is and reflects a person‟s identity to others, as well as the role a specific person
adopts in society (Hogg, Terry & White, 1995). This means that fashion can operate as a symbol of
the self, to show others who a person is.
The decision to follow a certain fashion trend can be influenced by various internal and external
factors, such as culture, sub-culture, social class, social groups, family, attitudes, motivations and
perceptions (Du Plessis & Rousseau, 2003:110). Due to the fact that we live in a global society,
many researchers and theorists argue from a social-cultural background, to follow an “emic” point of
view when researching people‟s behaviour - in this particular study, clothing behaviour, especially
purchasing behaviour with regard to local fashion products, such as fashion magazines. From an
“emic” point of view, researchers argue that each individual culture is unique and standardisation
should be avoided when dealing with them (Kopnina, 2007:363). Marketers should rather adapt their
approaches to be consistent to the local values and practices of the culture being dealt with, in this
case South Africa. As culture can be seen as the focus of the “emic” perspective, the role that culture
or sub-culture plays in the decision-making process of consumers, specifically surrounding fashion
products cannot be ignored, and should be understood when targeting a certain consumer group with
the aim to reach them effectively.
From the clothing theory, it is evident that the mass media as generalised “other”, dictates the
opinion of what is acceptable and not acceptable regarding fashion. The role that the mass media
plays in the clothing consumer‟s purchases, and more specifically the decision-making process
surrounding fashion products, cannot be underestimated. The mass media plays a major role during
1
the first two phases of the decision-making process, namely problem recognition, and information
search (Burns & Sproles, 1994:264). Fashion magazines form part of the mass media and are an
important source of information of the fashion industry. Fashion magazines can be seen as the voice
of the fashion industry, often giving industry information and providing a platform for brand
advertising (Kopnina, 2007:366). Fashion magazines can furthermore be viewed as cultural objects
that can reflect cultural values on a visual and textual basis, thereby communicating the dominant
cultural trends (Kopnina, 2007:368).
Fashion magazines generally provide three types of services, which include content for readers,
advertisements, allowing readers to find out about products that are possibly of interest to them, as
well as an advertising outlet providing companies with an opportunity to inform readers about their
products (Kaiser & Wright, 2005). Advertising forms a huge percentage of every fashion magazine‟s
title pages, and contributes to the overall financial well-being of the magazine (Moeran, 2002).
Directional advertising is known to be synonymous with fashion editorials and is commonly seen in
fashion magazines (Moeran, 2002). This type of advertising is important in this study, as the role
that culture or sub-culture plays with regard to the target market‟s evaluation of fashion images in
fashion magazines, and how the advertisements influence their decision-making process when
purchasing clothing or fashion products, will be researched.
From a social-cultural and aesthetic point of view, it can be argued that culture or sub-culture can
play an important role in the aesthetic ideal of beauty of consumers. According to Englis, Solomon
and Ashmore (1994) a beauty ideal can be defined as “an appearance that includes not only physical
features, but also various other products, services and activities”. The notion of “What is beautiful”
can be described as a culturally constituted phenomenon that happens because of common
socialisation experiences amongst people of a certain culture or sub-culture (Englis et al., 1994).
Culture can be defined as “a configuration of learned behaviours and results of behaviour which
component parts are shared and transmitted by the members of a particular society” (Shaw & Clarke,
1998). It is suggested that consumers of different cultural backgrounds have varying beliefs about
what is defined as “beautiful” in each of their cultures. This is an important consideration in this
study, as the mass media (which includes fashion magazines) largely conveys a global appearance
ideal, but individuals often tend to also evaluate their appearances against the cultural or sub-cultural
beauty ideal in which they reside. This means that magazine marketers should aim to provide a
specific targeted consumer group with a fashion magazine that contains content that satisfies their
particular sub-cultural aesthetic needs, personal appearances and standards. This is said as cultural
2
appearance standards in the form of skin colour, hairstyles, body, style, dress, and cultural artefacts
(such as accessories) may differ among different cultures and sub-cultures (Craig, 1991). These
aesthetic needs and standards should therefore be kept in mind when targeting a certain consumer
group with the focus on a fashion magazine, as these factors can help to draw the attention of the
targeted consumers, and can lead to further attention being drawn to the product, which could
ultimately result in the intention to buy such a fashion product.
People across cultures have the need to compare themselves to others, for self-evaluation purposes
and in order for them to know how and where they stand in relation to some standard. With the focus
on fashion, appearance is evaluated and compared by the targeted consumers on the basis of either
cultural factors or personal factors (Lennon, Rudd, Sloan & Kim, 1999). Fashion serves as a
generalised “other” against whom a person can compare him- or herself with. Cultural beauty ideals
generally portrayed by fashion models in fashion magazines, may not be relevant to women from
non-Western cultures such as the Black Diamonds in South Africa (Lennon et al., 1999), in which
case the targeted consumers may not engage in comparison if the appearances of fashion models
used in fashion magazine advertisements are too different from the person‟s own appearance and
standards. This can lead to a negative response to such fashion magazines and fashion
advertisements.
1.2. PROBLEM STATEMENT AND JUSTIFICATION
It seems that the importance of the above mentioned factors in the decision-making process of
consumers regarding fashion products and fashion magazines in particular, have not yet been fully
realised in South Africa by magazine marketers and the advertising industry. In South Africa there is
a diversity of cultures that are reshaping the county‟s mainstream society. A sub-culture can be
described as a “group of consumers who are held together by cultural or genetic ties that are
common amongst them, and which are identified to be a distinguishable category by the members of
the group as well as by others” (Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:197). According to Rabolt and Solomon
sub-cultural memberships often have an enormous effect in shaping the wants and needs of
consumers. In the fashion magazine industry, products and communication strategies that are
tailored to meet the needs of the various sub-cultures seem not yet to have been fully explored in
South Africa.
3
The young adult black women in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment, serving as the target market for
this study, fall under the Black Diamonds consumer group, which is one of the most important up
and coming consumer groups in South Africa. This consumer group is the black middle class, and
accounts for approximately 2 million of South Africa‟s population, which may seem like a small
number, but this group is expected to grow by 50% each year (Rundell, 2006). The Unilever Institute
of Strategic Marketing described this group as an under-served market that has tremendous
opportunity for marketers and entrepreneurs in South Africa (Olivier, 2006). It is apparent that this
consumer group has a lot of potential and could reap rewards if targeted successfully, yet there is not
a fashion magazine that is known of in South Africa that specifically caters for them. International
fashion magazines that are available in South Africa rarely take the needs of this group into
consideration, and rarely use models of an ethnic background in fashion magazine images in these
magazines. When models of an African heritage are used, they often still convey a Westernised
appearance ideal, which is not necessarily the ideal of beauty of the women in this particular
consumer group in South Africa.
The women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment within the Black Diamond consumer group will be
the target market for this study. The reason being that there are 240000 Black Diamond women in
the Mzansi Youth sub-segment with a purchasing value of R3 billion, which has increased by 21%
between 2007 and 2008 (Black Diamond survey, 2008). This particular group contains young people
that are on their way up, and fit the “young adult” description, as they are between 18 and 24 years
of age. The group can be summarised as being on the rise, arriving and driven, making them a
possible appealing market to target with regard to a fashion magazine. Culture is said to remain an
important part in their lives, and the primary brands or products they are interested in falls under
“enabling me” (The new black middle class, 2006). Most of the individuals in this group are
studying towards their future. Furthermore, this sub-segment contains individuals that are mostly
single, childless, and they like to have fun and party in their spare time (The new black middle class,
2006). These attributes should be taken into consideration, when trying to appeal to the women in
this group with regard to a fashion magazine specifically catering for them.
Adomaitis and Johnson (2007) noted that a fashion magazine‟s design, the products featured in
advertisements, as well as the models used, should appeal to, and influence their targeted readers.
Research conducted amongst African American women overseas found great frustration and
dissatisfaction among them regarding the amount of affirming images of black women in
mainstream media (Rubin, Fitts & Becker, 2003). This could also be true with regard to the use of
4
images of black women in fashion magazine advertisements in South Africa. Advertisements in
fashion magazines can often reflect and shape the reader‟s culture, and it is believed that
advertisements for fashion products may only hit home with a certain audience if it is communicated
that there are actual needs and values that they can satisfy (Kopnina, 2007:368). This means that
advertisements featured in fashion magazines may not motivate further action if the advertisement is
not relevant to the targeted readers‟ existing sub-cultural background or beliefs.
Unfortunately there is currently no fashion magazine in South Africa that caters specifically for this
sub-segment‟s needs, while little is known about their beauty standards and the appearance of a
beauty ideal that they would prefer to compare themselves with. This leaves fashion magazines in
the dark as to the fashion images that should be included in a magazine aimed at this target market,
or the fashion images that should be included in fashion magazines currently available in South
Africa, and therefore not being able to fully tap into this potential market. Exploring the role of
culture in the Black Diamond‟s social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine
images, can aid in creating a better understanding of the targeted consumers‟ wants and needs
regarding a fashion magazine that specifically caters for them. This will be beneficial, as magazine
marketers should aim to design, implement and maintain a marketing mix that is intended to meet
the needs of the particular target market (Lamb & Hair, 2002:151). Exploring these issues will not
only help to develop literature in the local fashion magazine industry, but will also provide the
magazine field with a more comprehensive understanding of magazine consumption behaviour of
the Black Diamond consumer group (and more specifically the Mzansi Youth sub-segment), and
provide clothing advertisers with a better understanding of the role that culture plays in the targeted
consumer‟s social comparison and decision-making process surrounding fashion products. This can
ultimately result in reaping rewards from the relatively untapped, but emerging black middle class
sector of the South African economy (Olivier, 2007).
The Purpose of this study was therefore to explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segments‟ social comparisons and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images. It is
envisaged that the results of this study would contribute to fashion magazine editors‟ and marketers‟
understanding of this market‟s beauty standards and preferences for beauty ideals that can serve as a
generalised “other” in social comparison, in such a way that it can contribute to a positive self-image
and an interest in, and intention to buy a specific fashion magazine or the fashion products that are
advertised.
5
1.3. THEORETICAL APPROACH TO THE STUDY
In order to understand the problem, as well as to find a way to address the problem, it was firstly
necessary to conduct a literature review, on the main concepts that the research were dealing with,
and secondly to choose a theoretical perspective that could serve as point of departure for the
research, as well as to direct the research questions. The following discussions give a short overview
of the literature that has been consulted as well as the choice of a theoretical perspective for the
study. Chapter‟s two, three and four deals with the full literature review and the choice of a
theoretical perspective.
1.3.1. Literature review
1.3.1.1. Fashion, the consumer and the role of culture
Culture is one of the primary differentiators between races, and is a factor that cannot be ignored
when marketing to the people of South Africa (Mawers, 2006). Fashion and magazine marketers in
South Africa can no longer ignore the diversity of cultures that are reshaping South Africa‟s
mainstream society, and should be prepared to devise products and communication strategies that are
tailored to meet the needs of the various sub-cultures. Within fashion, there are many different types
of identities. These include personal identity, brand identity, fashion identity, social identity, cultural
identity, national identity or international identities. Fashion can be used to create an identity and
join a sub-culture (Kopnina, 2007:369). International fashion magazines that are available in South
Africa do not necessarily embody cultural and racial identities that are related to the country‟s
readership in South Africa. The readers of such fashion magazines are often culturally Westernfocused, but this does not mean that all consumers fall in this category in South Africa, and would
accept these cultural standards, especially taking into account that the majority of people in South
Africa fit into a less Westernised society, which probably includes the Black Diamonds.
According to Rabolt and Solomon (2004:197) a sub-culture can be described as a group of
consumers who are held together by cultural or genetic ties that are common amongst them, and
whom are identified to be a distinguishable category by the members of the group as well as by
others. In a heterogeneous country like South Africa, various different cultures are present in society,
which means that people within a specific sub-culture may take great effort in preventing their
identification to be submerged into the mainstream society (Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:198). It should
6
thus be kept in mind that the targeted women in the Black Diamonds group may want to maintain
and reflect the symbols of their culture and traditions, but at the same time may be adapting to fit
into the present day society in South Africa.
With regard to this research, previous research has, for example, found that consumers of an African
background respond in a more positive manner towards advertisements that feature black models,
than images using white models (Frisby, 2004). This aspect is of great interest in this study, and can
be an important factor to consider when wanting to appeal to the women in the Black Diamonds
consumer group, as they may react more positively to advertisements or fashion images featuring
more African images than Westernised images. Cultural beauty ideals are therefore another
important factor to consider in this study.
1.3.1.2. The role of cultural beauty ideals and aesthetics in self-esteem
Most people within their culture strive to achieve a specific ideal of beauty that is currently popular
or accepted in their culture (Englis, Solomon & Ashmore, 1994). A beauty ideal can be defined as an
appearance that includes not only physical features, but also various other products, services and
activities (Englis et al., 1994). These can include the clothes a person wears and the type of
magazine they read. It is suggested that consumers of different ethnic backgrounds have varying
beliefs about what is defined as “beautiful” in each of their cultures. This implies that what is
perceived as beautiful in one culture, may not necessarily be perceived as beautiful in another culture
(Englis, 1994). The human body plays an important role in a person‟s self-esteem, as it can serve as
a symbol of other qualities of the individual, including the identity/s that the individual has adopted
and probably wants to communicate to others. The clothes that a person wears serve as a “second
skin” of the body and a specific fashionable appearance therefore communicates who the person is
and where the individual belongs in a group or society. A personal appearance that compares
favourably with a person‟s beauty ideal, whether the beauty ideal is culturally-inspired or not, could
contribute immensely to a positive self-esteem. Should the personal appearance, on the other hand,
compare negatively, the person would have to engage in coping strategies in order to maintain a
positive self-image.
The “Zeitgeist”, also known as the spirit of the times (Fiore & Kimle, 1997), is the primary ideology
or beliefs within a culture that deals with their aesthetic decision of a product. This shapes an
individual‟s thoughts, feelings and beliefs, which in turn affect the development, selection and
7
promotion of expressive and symbolic qualities of a product (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:81). A positive
aesthetic response of a consumer often results from a similarity between the formal product qualities
of the object (in this case the fashion product or fashion magazine) and the organisational principles
of the culture (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:81). This means that the women in the Black Diamond
consumer group may have a positive response to a fashion product advertised in a fashion magazine,
if the fashion advertisement is parallel to their aesthetic preferences. Their aesthetic preference can
further be defined by their culture‟s definition of aesthetic experience, which leads to differences in
consumer behaviour (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83). It is therefore important to understand the Black
Diamond aesthetic preferences in this study, when wanting to appeal to them successfully.
Aesthetic experience relates to the selection of symbolic, formal and expressive qualities of a
product that results in satisfaction on the consumer‟s part (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:4). Formal qualities
refer to the perceived features of the structural composition of a product or object, such as colour,
texture, shape and proportion, and have the ability to evoke emotion on the consumer‟s part. Formal
qualities of products may provide pleasure to the senses and can often enhance beauty, and are often
evident in the form of emotions that are evoked by the creator in the consumer (Fiore & Kimle,
1997:6). Symbolic qualities on the other hand, originate from content or meaning, and communicate
an idea about the world (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:9). As discussed earlier, the Black Diamonds reside
within a certain socio-cultural context. They can therefore not be separated from this context for
analysis of their aesthetic preferences. Instead, these factors should help to create an understanding
about their preferences (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83). Research has shown that culture also has a great
effect on the importance ratings of expressive, formal and symbolic aspects of a product in aesthetic
evaluation (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:85). This means that consumers across different cultures and subcultures may view some of these aspects as being more important than others. In this study it is
critical to understand the importance given to these aspects by the women in the Black Diamond
consumer group, especially when wanting to appeal to them in an effective manner. The idea is that
symbolic, expressive and formal qualities of a fashion product should satisfy the consumer on an
emotional, sensory and cognitive level (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83).
Fashion magazine advertisements are said to be a point of comparison and to have great impact
especially on younger readers (Johnson, 2008). This is of interest in this study, as the consumer
group being targeted, consists only of young adult black women, in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment.
This means that when advertisements are evaluated, the target audience might make either positive
or negative aesthetic social comparisons based on the content of a fashion magazine advertisement
8
(Johnson, 2008). This could lead to the consumers either feeling competent, or incompetent, and
could ultimately affect their self-esteem. If magazine marketers could incorporate images in fashion
magazine advertisements that will initiate positive experiences surrounding aesthetic social
comparison, and provide a platform for the targeted readers to relate to the images in a more positive
way, the desired intention of such an advertisement could be reached.
1.3.2. Choice of a theoretical perspective for the study
From the literature review it became clear that fashion and a personal appearance play an important
role in how a person perceives the self. Fashion and appearance serves as a “second skin” that could
symbolise personal qualities as well as the identity/s a person has adopted. It can also serve as a
generalised “other” against whom the person can compare their personal appearance, whether
favourably, in which case the result is positive for the self-esteem, or negatively, in which case the
result is negative for the self-esteem. It also became clear that culture plays an important role in
peoples‟ beauty standards and beauty ideals, and that culture in broad plays a role in a person‟s
identity (who and what that person stands for and where the person fits into the group or society). A
person‟s appearance and beauty standards can therefore not be separated from the identity/s that the
person has adopted.
With the above reasoning and the purpose of the study in mind, the question is: How should one
address the problem? In order to address the problem, a cultural perspective and the theory on
identity and social identity was combined with the theory on social comparison, and serves as a
theoretical perspective, or point of departure for the research, while also directing the research
objectives.
1.3.2.1. Cultural perspective
People in different cultural groups make changes in their appearances in one way or another,
meaning that the codes and symbolic systems used by individuals in sub-cultural groups, such as the
Black Diamonds, vary in terms of the way they decipher and interpret clothing (Kaiser, 1990:48).
People that share the same culture are said to be likely to come in contact with similar networks of
tangible products, such as clothing. The ways the clothes are bought, sold and worn contribute to the
development of meaning that is associated with cultural products (Kaiser, 1990:48).
9
There are five basic assumptions of the cultural perspective. These include that collective values are
produced and reproduced through cultural forms (Kaiser, 1990:49), meaning that specific
appearances can represent shared values within a specific culture such as the Black Diamonds.
Secondly, cultural values and beliefs are perpetuated when they are represented on a relatively
unconscious level. This means that cultural groups can use clothing and appearance objects, to
characterise their specific culture (Kaiser, 1990:51). Thirdly, individuals have the ability to
transform their own realities by manipulating objects in their cultural worlds, by using clothes and
other tools, such as accessories, provided by culture, to manage their appearance (Kaiser, 1990:51).
The forth assumption of the cultural perspective is that culture provides abstract images of social
life. This can be done through media images, and often provides ideas for personal appearance
management for people within a specific culture, such as the Black Diamonds (Kaiser, 1990:53).
Lastly, people use codes to interpret meanings provided by cultural interpretations of social life.
People have the need to compare themselves to others and in many cases the need to communicate to
others that they belong to a specific cultural group or sub-group.
1.3.2.2. Social comparison theory
Social comparison originated from the belief that people have the need for self-evaluation in order
for them to know how and where they stand in relation to some standard. Festinger (1954) believed
that people were more likely to compare themselves to people that are similar to themselves, because
it would provide more meaningful information (Lennon et al., 1999:192). Some other writers on the
other hand, suggested that this might not always be true, and people may at times engage in
comparisons with others that are not part of their group (Richins, 1991:72).
In social comparison literature, a distinction is made between upward social comparison and
downward social comparison. Upward social comparison is the phenomenon where people show an
upward drive in their comparisons to others that are better off than them, resulting in people learning
from such others (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:5). To some people, upward social comparison may
become threatening, even though it may be informative to them. For this reason, upward social
comparisons may be avoided when feeling threatened. In such cases, people often engage in
downward social comparison. Downward social comparison refers to where people compare
themselves with others who are viewed as being worse off than them (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:6).
This is especially common where people have a decline in well-being, and in an attempt to improve
this, compare themselves to others thought to be worse off (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:6). It is
10
anticipated that the women in the Black Diamonds consumer group would probably engage in more
upward social comparison, but research on them may show otherwise. It is therefore important to
understand their patterns of social comparisons when wanting to target them effectively via a fashion
magazine.
Another important factor to consider in this study regarding social comparison is that of upward
social comparison of the targeted consumers within the same social group. This can result in two
differentiating effects. Upward in-group comparisons often make comparison more threatening,
leading to the rejection of shared categorisation, meaning that the targeted women may not want to
be associated with a specific group (Schmitt, Branscombe, Silvia, Garcia & Spears, 2006:297). In
contrast, upward in-group comparisons can result in acceptance of shared categorisation, meaning
that the targeted women may want to belong to a specific group. This is due to a high-performing ingroup member that enhances the collective in-group identity (Schmitt et al., 2006:297). This is
known as the social identity theory. The effect this may have on the Black Diamonds is that the
group they belong to may be important to their „self‟, and the targeted women may compare their
„self‟ to others, but they may also compare the group they belong to, to other groups. This means
that they may engage in comparison of the individual self, as well as comparison of the group they
belong to, to other groups.
The question arises as to who the Black Diamonds would strive to be like, particularly their cultural
and social ideals regarding appearance. With regard to fashion the questions that arise are, what does
the fashion and cultural beauty ideal of the women in the Black Diamond consumer group look like,
and what do they compare when they engage in comparison. They may focus on comparing skin
colour, body, cultural artefacts such as accessories, hairstyle and style or dress. Furthermore, it is of
particular interest in the study which people, the targeted consumers tend to compare themselves to.
1.3.2.3. Identity and social identity theory
In South Africa, social, economic, political and legal disparities still exist among cultures due to the
former apartheid state. Presently a wide range of identities, which are based on cultural, racial and
language lines still exist among the different societies in the country. These identities may be
assumed to be associated with varying actions, attitudes and social values among the different
cultures (Heaven, Simbayi, Stones & Le Roux, 2000:67). It is therefore important to understand the
identities of the women in the Black Diamonds consumer group, and more specifically the concept
11
of identity. According to Stryker and Burke‟s (2000:286) identity theory, people possess as many
selves as the groups of people with which they interact. This means that the women in the Black
Diamonds consumer group may have as many identities as distinct networks of relationships where
they play roles and have specific positions. Identities are thus seen as internalised role expectations
(Stryker & Burke, 2000:286), which include in this case expectations of how a woman in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment should look.
According to Stets and Burke (2000:224) the concept of identity can be described in terms of social
identity theory and (personal) identity theory, where the self is reflected in that it can take itself as an
object, where it can be categorised, classified and be named in certain ways with regard to other
social categories or classifications.
In the social identity theory, this process refers to self-
categorisation, whereas in the identity theory it is named identification (Stets & Burke, 2000:224) It
is known that there are two prominent processes involved in social identity, namely selfcategorisation and social comparison, which is of great interest to explore in this study with regard to
the targeted consumers. According to Stets and Burke (2000:225) social identity can be defined as a
person‟s knowledge that one belongs to a certain social category or group. Social identity is said to
develop from group memberships on the basis of similar attributes, such as culture (Stets & Burke,
2000:225). In this study, sub-culture will be the primary factor taken into consideration when
referring to the social identity of the women in the Black Diamonds consumer group. According to
Brewer (1991:476) social roles play a major part in creating a social identity, and the theory involves
the extension of the self, beyond the level of the individual, and involves the categorization of the
self into more inclusive social units. This means that social identity has a more “we” approach,
rather than the “I” (Brewer, 1991:476).
In contrast to the social identity theory, personal identity theory‟s self-classification involves not the
“group”, but categorise the self as an occupant of a role in society (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). Such
an identity correlates with the typical Western identity where the individual qualities and uniqueness
are of importance, rather than belonging to a specific group. Role-based identity formation centres
on how a person performs a role, and the emphasis is not on similarity to other groups, but rather on
individuality. One can therefore define personal identity as the categorisation of the self as a unique
entity, which is separate from other individuals (Stets & Burke, 2000:228). If an individual has a
strong personal identity, they act upon his or her own personal goals and desires, rather than as a
member of a specific group or certain category (Stets & Burke, 2000:228). This means that the
12
individual person and personal qualities override the importance of belonging to a specific social
group or sub-culture such as the Black Diamonds.
It is clear from the above that a person either possesses of a strong social identity or a strong
personal identity, which would play a role in social comparison, but also in the beauty standards that
the person has. With the problem and purpose of the study in mind, the above literature and choice
of theoretical perspective is reflected in the schematic conceptual framework (Figure 1.1), that also
reflects the research objectives.
1.4. CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK AND OBJECTIVES
1.4.1 CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
With the purpose of the study and the literature background of the study in mind, the following
schematic conceptual framework (Fig 1.1) directed the study:
13
2
BLACK DIAMONDS
- Personal Identity
- Social Identity (Sub-Cultural)
4
1
7
FASHION MAGAZINE
IMAGE
In terms of:
APPRAISAL
BEAUTY IDEAL
- Personal beauty
standards
- Sub-Cultural
beauty standards
4
Skin colour
Hairstyle
Body
Style/ Dress
Accessories
5
MZANSI
YOUTH
In terms of
which
aspects
they
compare
SOCIAL COMPARISON
In terms of
Personal/ Social identity
POSITIVE
NEGATIVE
Accept standard, try harder
3
In terms of
AESTHETICS
- Sensory
- Emotional
- Symbolic
Accept standard, quit trying
6
ENHANCE
SELF-ESTEEM
USE OF COPINGSTRATEGIES
Modify personal standard
Modify cultural standard
Positive
Self-Esteem
(FIGURE 1.1: SCHEMATIC CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK)
The schematic conceptual framework suggests that the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
have specific personal or sub-cultural beauty standards or ideals (1) in terms of skin colour,
hairstyle, body, dress or style and cultural artifacts, such as accessories (4). This beauty ideal plays
an important role in how they compare themselves to others (5), as well as how they appraise various
fashion images (7), whether they be more African inspired, Western inspired or of an Euro-African
nature. The backbone of what they want to portray or compare with regard to an appearance (4), and
specifically in terms of aesthetic experience (3), is either a strong social identity or a strong personal
identity (2). When the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment appraise a fashion image or
compare themselves against a specific image, they would either compare positively, which will then
enhance their self-esteem, or they would compare negatively, in which case they will have to use
14
certain coping strategies in order to maintain a positive self-esteem (6). The ideal situation is that the
fashion images should serve as an “other” against which or whom the targeted women could and
would want to compare themselves with, resulting in an interest to purchase the specific clothing
item or the fashion magazine as such.
1.4.2 OBJECTIVES
The following objectives directed the research:
Objective 1: To explore and describe the importance of personal and sub-cultural beauty standards
in the beauty ideal of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment in terms of dress, hairstyle, body,
skin colour and accessories
Objective 2: To explore and describe the role of personal and social identity in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segment's preference for specific appearance qualities
Objective 3: To explore and describe the role of aesthetic dimensions (symbolic, emotional and
sensory) of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group‟s
beauty ideal
Objective 4: To explore and describe which aspects of the self, the women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment of the Black Diamond consumer group, compare with the ideal beauty standard in terms of
dress, hairstyle, skin colour, body and cultural artefacts such as accessories
Objective 5: To explore and describe the reasons why the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
of the Black Diamond consumer group engage in social comparison, and how it affects their selfesteem (in terms of social identity and personal identity)
Objective 6: To explore and describe the coping strategies the women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment use when comparing themselves to the fashion ideal of beauty
Objective 7: To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth‟s appraisals of Western,
African and Euro-African fashion images as well as their subsequent reactions
15

Sub-objective 1:
To explore and describe the extent to which the women in the Mzansi Youth like the various
fashion images

Sub-objective 2:
To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟ evaluation of the
various images

Sub-objective 3:
To explore and describe how the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment relate to the
specific images in terms of dress, cultural background and appearance

Sub-objective 4:
To explore and describe the extent to which the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
would compare themselves with the images

Sub-objective 5:
To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment‟s willingness to buy
fashion magazines with the above images

Sub-objective 6:
To explore and describe the women in the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment‟s
intentions to buy similar clothing than in the fashion images
1.5. SAMPLING PROCEDURE AND DATA COLLECTION METHOD
1.5.1 SAMPLING PROCEDURE
1.5.1.1 Unit of analysis
The unit of analysis for this study was young adult black women in South Africa (between 18 and 24
years of age), in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment. The women fall under the Black Diamond
consumer group, which represents an up-and-coming, growing market segment in South Africa. The
women in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment are mostly still living at home and studying towards their
future. The units of analysis are also representative of a group that is large, profitable and accessible
enough to draw the attention of marketers (Mawers, 2004).
1.5.1.2 Sample selection
16
A non-probability sampling technique has been used in the study, as there was no way of
guaranteeing that every element of the population would be represented in the sample (Leedy &
Ormrod, 2005:206). The sampling technique could therefore not be presumed to be representative of
the entire population, and is only considered to be representative of the sample, and results have only
been applied to the latter. The sample for the study was purposive resulting in the use of the
snowball sampling method. Purposive sampling occurs when the people or units relevant to the
study are selected for a specific purpose (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005:206). The reason for this method
being relevant to this particular study is that specific participants with certain criteria and
characteristics were needed. This relates to them having to be young, black adult women living in
South Africa, studying towards their future and being in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment of the Black
Diamond consumer group. By combining more than one sampling method, a better opportunity is
created for an effective sample to be formed. Purposive sampling was therefore combined with the
snowball sampling method, as only certain individuals with particular characteristics were included
in the study.
1.5.2. DATA COLLECTION METHOD
Quantitative data collection techniques were used to capture the data. Data was obtained by means of
personally handing out questionnaires to willing participants. Using questionnaires is a relatively
easy way of collecting data, and have been used by other researchers when collecting data on
reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images (Adomaitis and Johnson, 2007). It enables the
researcher to organize questions, and receive responses without actually talking to the participants or
conducting interviews, which can often be very time consuming and costly (Walliman, 2005:281).
1.5.2.1 Design
The design of the questionnaire was centered on the objectives of the study, to be sure that all
objectives were met, in order to retrieve the desired results at the end of the study. This was done to
draw conclusions relevant to the study and to make possible valuable recommendations at the end of
the study. The primary factors measured in the questionnaire were – (1) personal or sub-cultural
beauty standards, (2) personal and social identity (3) importance of aesthetic dimensions, (4) social
comparison (personal identity/ social identity), (5) coping strategies used in case of negative
comparisons, (6) reflected appraisals of the fashion photographs.
17
1.5.2.2 Subjects
Four hundred and twenty (420) questionnaires were handed out to respondents (Caucasian and
African students) and completed, but 200 completed questionnaires were used for purposes of this
study, representing young adult black women in South Africa (between 18 and 24 years of age), in
the Mzanzi Youth sub segment. These women fall under the Black Diamond consumer group, which
represents an up-and-coming, growing market segment. Prospective subjects were approached on the
campuses of the University of Pretoria (UP) and Tshwane University of Pretoria (TUT), to ensure
that students of the desired age group studying towards their future were obtained.
1.5.2.3 Stimulus Materials
Stimuli used in the questionnaire consisted of 3 full colour fashion photographs obtained from
fashion editorials, typically seen on the Internet and featured in popular fashion magazines. The
fashion images used in the questionnaire were kept simple with no imaginary brand names. This
helped to ensure that the stimuli were similar across all fashion images, and eliminate bias in
responses. Careful evaluation of the fashion photographs, by fashion experts was therefore needed,
before specific photographs could be selected to be included in the questionnaires to be handed out
to the respondents. A panel of four fashion experts selected from UP and TUT were asked to
evaluate the various fashion images before selecting the three fashion photographs that were
eventually included in the final questionnaire. Criteria used for selecting the photographs included in
the panel questionnaire were photographs evoking the same amount of attractiveness, the same level
of vividness and drawing the same amount of attention. Fashion photographs representative of each
of the three beauty ideals, and featuring models of similar sizes, with a clear view of the clothes
featured, and featuring only one style (dresses).
1.5.2.4 Procedure
Respondents were asked to complete a questionnaire on a voluntary basis. Members of the targeted
group were located at the campuses or residences of the University of Pretoria (UP) and Tshwane
University of Pretoria (TUT). A few initial individuals were asked if they fit the desired
characteristics of the target market. Members that qualified were then asked to direct the researcher
to other respondents within the targeted group that could easily be located. This was done until at
least two hundred questionnaires were completed (by African students) for analysis. The first part of
18
the questionnaire included questions measuring demographic information, such as age, culture,
occupational status and citizenship. The second part of the questionnaire entailed questions
corresponding to the three different cultural beauty ideals portrayed in the three fashion photographs
evaluated by the panel of fashion experts. There were therefore one image each included in the
questionnaire portraying a typical Westernised beauty ideal, an Euro-African, and African beauty
ideal, with a brief set of questions relating to each specific fashion photograph or beauty ideal being
portrayed, which were completed directly after viewing each of the different fashion photographs.
1.5.2.5 Measure
The measurement instrument used in this study, collected information for six dependant variables,
namely- (1) personal or sub-cultural beauty standards, (2) personal and social identity (3) importance
of aesthetic dimensions, (4) social comparison (personal identity/ social identity), (5) coping
strategies used in case of negative comparisons, (6) reflected appraisals of the fashion photographs.
Survey questions can typically be divided into two categories, namely structured and unstructured.
In this study, mostly structured questions were included in the questionnaire. Questions allowing for
options between two possible responses, like “yes” or “no” were used, which was easy to interpret.
Various levels of measurement questions were included such as ordinal scales, which allowed
respondents to rank their preferences. Here directions were stated clearly, to eliminate confusion.
Likert-type scales were also used in the questionnaire, which allowed for a choice between four
alternatives; from strongly agree (1) to strongly disagree (4). This type of scale has previously been
used in research dealing with the measure of culture, and worked well to obtain the necessary
responses (Phinney & Ong, 2007). The scores were then calculated as a mean for items in each subscale or as the scale as a whole. Some open-ended questions were also used in the questionnaire,
allowing respondents to write an answer in the open space provided. Standard statistical coding
methods were applied to open-ended questions. For each stimulus fashion photograph, an over-all
rating-scale was developed. This were measured by five, 7-point semantic differential scales, namely
eye catching/ not eye catching, for me/ not for me, appealing/ not appealing, likeable/ not likeable,
and attractive/ not attractive. Questions pertaining to participants‟ purchase intentions included
bipolar adjective choices, such as unlikely/very likely, and impossible/very possible. Respondents
were also asked to indicate their interest in buying the clothing worn by the models in the fashion
photographs, as well as their interest in purchasing fashion magazines featuring such fashion
photographs.
19
1.6. PRESENTATION AND STRUCTURE OF THE THESIS
1.6.1 Chapter 2: Literature Review
Chapter 2 gives a literature overview of magazines, and more specifically fashion magazines in
South Africa, which includes literature on fashion magazine advertisements, and images featured in
fashion magazines. The role of fashion and fashion magazines in every day life is explored. The role
of fashion magazines in the consumer decision-making process with regard to fashion products is
also considered. Lastly the Mzansi Youth sub-segment in the Black Diamond consumer group is
discussed, as the target market for this study. The chapter then comes to a close with implications the
above-mentioned topics have on the research topic.
1.6.2 Chapter 3: Literature Review
In Chapter 3 the literature review continues with fashion, the consumer and the role of culture. An
introduction is given, where after fashion, the consumer and the role of culture is explored. The role
of culture in a personal beauty ideal and aesthetic experience is then discussed, where after the role
of culture and aesthetics in fashion magazine advertisements are taken into account. The chapter
ends with implications for the study.
1.6.3 Chapter 4: Theoretical Perspective
After reviewing the literature of the study, a cultural perspective and the theory of identity, social
identity and social comparison have been chosen as theoretical perspective or point of departure for
the study. The chapter starts with a brief introduction, and ends with the implications the theoretical
perspectives have on the study. The cultural perspective is firstly taken into consideration, and
secondly the social-comparison theory, which describe social groups, as well as the effects of social
comparison and culture. Lastly, social identity theory and personal identity theory is discussed.
1.6.4 Chapter 5: Research Methodology
Chapter 5 opens with an introduction to the research methodology, and is followed by the schematic
conceptual framework that was conceptualised with the literature background in mind. The
schematic conceptual framework will direct the study and highlights the most important concepts of
20
the study. The objectives of the study are then stated. Thereafter the research strategy and style are
described, as well as the sampling techniques. Sampling includes the units of analysis as well as the
sample selection. The choice, description and application of data collection methods are then stated,
which include the data collection techniques, data collection method, procedure and measure. The
data analysis and operationalisation stages are then given, as well as how the quality of the data was
ensured. The chapter closes with a discussion on ethical concerns for the study.
1.6.5 Chapter 6: Results and Data Analysis
Chapter 6 focuses on analysing the data collected from the questionnaires that were handed out to
the target market. The findings are discussed according to the objectives of the study. Data is
presented in a manageable form, such as tables and graphs, and the calculation of numerical
summaries (such as frequencies, averages, mean scores and percentages). In chapter 6 the data will
be presented in terms of the seven research objectives and sub-objectives as set in Chapter 5.
Additional to the set objectives, the chapter opens with the demographic information obtained from
the questionnaire.
1.6.6 Chapter 7: Discussion of Results and Interpretation
In chapter 7, the research results are discussed and interpreted against the viewpoints of the theories
that were chosen as conceptual background for this research, the work of previous researchers and
other theories deemed necessary for the interpretation of the results. The discussion and
interpretation is presented in a specific sequence, as set out by the objectives of the study. The
chapter opens with a discussion of the demographic information obtained from the results of the
questionnaire, followed by discussions regarding each of the objectives.
1.6.7 Chapter 8: Conclusions, Evaluations, Contributions to Theory and Recommendations
After the discussion and interpretation of results in Chapter 7, overall conclusions are drawn in
Chapter 8 in a sequence as set out by the objectives of the study. Implications of the study follow the
conclusions of the study, and then the study is evaluated. Thereafter follows a discussion on the
contributions the study have to existing theory. Recommendations are then made, and finally the
chapter closes with a discussion on the limitations of the study, and suggestions for future studies.
21
CHAPTER 2
LITIRATURE REVIEW:
THE FASHION INDUSTRY AND FASHION MAGAZINES
2.1. INTRODUCTION
The study of women‟s fashion magazines is broad, with the greater part of the research coming from
cultural studies (Moeran, 2003:1). Most of the work cited in the research, has however been
concerned with women‟s magazines in England and the United States, and no recent research could
be found concerning the research topic with regard to the South African magazine market. This does
not mean that nothing has been written about magazines in South Africa, but there appears to be
little research conducted with regard to the local fashion magazine market that may provide greater
insight into the local industry, as well as the future for potential and growth.
It can be said that the value of magazines, and fashion magazines in particular should not be
underestimated, as the creativity and visual aesthetics used in fashion magazine publications could
likely capture the imagination of the reader and draw attention to such publications (Pease, 2005).
The media in South Africa is well established and sophisticated. Despite having to reach a
multicultural community, with a country that has eleven official languages, the media industry
remains one of the most diverse and best developed in Africa. South Africa has a flourishing
magazine industry, with over 280 titles available that are published locally (Internet: South African
Advertising Research Foundation, 2009). The diversity of these titles reflects how all the more
magazines are being developed to meet specialised consumer needs and interests, and reflects their
appetite for such printed materials. The industry‟s annual turnover is estimated at around R1.7
billion, which is a huge amount, and tapping into this market, could lead to an opportunity for
success (Internet: South African Advertising Research Foundation, 2009).
Taking South Africa‟s recent history into account, it is not surprising that its magazine market is still
being characterised by clear differences in readership amongst the country‟s different race groups.
Over the past few years there has been a rise in magazines that are specifically aimed at black South
Africans, which is not surprising, as the Journal of Marketing reports, that about 79,3% of the South
African population are indeed black (Mawers, 2006). There is however not a single fashion
22
magazine that is known of, that specifically caters to young adult black women in the country. This
may be seen as odd, as this market seems to have enormous potential. For many years, black
presence in mainstream magazines in South Africa was marginal. Rabolt and Solomon (2004) found
that internationally, women of an African heritage were not represented among editors, contributing
editors, fashion and beauty editors of glossy monthly magazines to a great extent, until recently. This
was also the case in South Africa, but has however changed over the past few years and black
women are nowadays represented in many of the departments within magazine companies, but this
does not necessarily influence the content of the magazines that are currently available in the
country.
Many glossy fashion magazines available in South Africa are still from an international origin,
meaning that photographic representation of women of African heritage is often limited to some
appearances in fashion spreads or occasional features about well-known celebrities like Oprah
Winfrey. This leads to the concern that black women may not be presented in fashion magazines and
fashion magazine advertisements in South Africa to a great extent, especially considering that there
are a great deal of international fashion magazines available in South Africa. This means those
mainstream women‟s magazines that often reflect and dictate appearance, may be reflecting white
ideals or internationally accepted black ideals in a predominantly black setting here in South Africa.
This may result in black women finding reading these magazines from an international origin
frustrating, as most of these magazines probably fail in giving appropriate advice on issues such as
style and appropriate hair and skin care for women of an African heritage. A fashion magazine
specifically targeting young adult black women in South Africa has the potential to fill the void in
the current marketplace, and be the dominant magazine on the shelves that specifically caters for the
needs of young, black women in South Africa today.
This chapter therefore deals with an overview of magazines and fashion magazines, where after
fashion magazine advertisements will be considered, as well as the role of fashion magazines in
everyday life. The role of fashion magazines in consumer decision-making of fashion products will
also be discussed. Lastly, the chapter focuses on targeting a consumer segment, and implications for
this study.
23
2.2. OVERVIEW OF MAGAZINES
Magazine consumption has experienced rapid growth over the past 10 years (Davidson et al.,
2007:209). Growth in the magazine market could be observed not only globally, but also nationally
in South Africa. Due to the fact that magazines are seen as a stimulating means of reading,
magazines have the power to evoke various cognitive and emotional responses. The superior print
quality and comprehensive nature of this medium, makes it a very expressive form of
communication (Davidson et al., 2007:210). By exploring magazines, especially those specifically
aimed at the target market of this study will not only progress magazine literature in South Africa,
but will also provide the magazine industry with a more comprehensive understanding of magazine
consumption behaviour in the country.
Whether it is fashion or technology, mainstream news or fitness, a magazine‟s editorial product
focuses on the reader‟s interests and communicates in a way that is likely to be both informative and
entertaining. For almost every human interest there is a magazine. The readers have the opportunity
to choose and the publications come in various shapes and sizes. According to Moeran (2002) a
magazine can be described as “a printed collection of texts (essays, articles, poems, and stories),
often illustrated, that is produced at regular intervals”. Magazines are usually noted for their superior
production quality and generally sold by subscription or at news-stands. Magazines are usually
published on either a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or quarterly basis, with a date on the cover that is
later than the date the magazine is actually published. They are mostly printed in cover on coated
paper, and bounded with a soft cover, and are composed of a wide range of materials, which includes
photos, articles and advertisements. Many different parties, often working in many different
locations, produce magazines in many different formats. This means that great technological
infrastructure and attention to detail is needed to produce a magazine (Moeran, 2002).
Magazines can further be seen as being to books, what television is to cinema, as they are the sites of
commentary. This is said, as magazines may often be the texts to which we resort to discover the
moods, feelings and thoughts of people at certain or specific times in the past. These publications are
often very effective and can achieve true excellence, as it honours the way in which writing,
reporting, editing and design all come together and aims to grab the readers‟ attention and fulfil the
target market‟s unique needs and interests (McKay, 2008:37). The main focus of a magazine can be
consolidated in the editorial philosophy. This defines the reason for a magazine‟s existence as well
as its editorial pattern. In essence, this refers to the focus of a magazine, which in turn gives an
24
identity and personality to the magazine brand (McKay, 2008:37). Furthermore, it explains what the
magazine is intended to do, the areas of interest it covers, and how it will approach these areas and
the voice it will use to do so. McKay (2008:48) noted, “Magazines can often fail due to an unclear or
unfocussed editorial philosophy”.
Magazines can be classified into two broad categories, either being a business magazine, or a
consumer magazine. Consumer magazines are created for the general public, and fashion magazines
fall under the latter, being in the female general interest category (Frings, 2005:78). These
publications generally generate the majority of their revenue from the sale of advertising space. The
placement of advertisements in magazines in modern times, have not only served as a means of
financial support, but also led to subsequent developments in the industry. These include more
illustrations and vastly greater specialization (McKay, 2008:46).
Generally magazines are intended to be a more casual, less laborious means of reading, and likely
appeal to readers as it appears that magazines are easy to glance through, seemingly more userfriendly, portable, and easy to pick up and put down, with texts mostly in columns and/ or the use of
plenty of pictures. The pass-along readership is probably also an enticing feature of magazines,
because when one thinks about it, it is magazines rather than other forms of publications that are
found in public places such as restaurants and waiting rooms of doctors (Moeran, 2002: 12). Due to
the fact that reading is only one activity to be fitted into the lives of the women in the Black
Diamonds group, among a multitude of other things, magazines may therefore be seen as attractive
reading material as magazines generally seems to invite casual reading for people with more preoccupations and less time.
The magazine industry has undergone a period of significant growth over the past few years, not
only internationally, but locally as well. This resulted in increased competition, with new magazines
being regularly introduced that attempt to better satisfy consumers‟ needs and wants, serving in the
growing need of readers to be informed and entertained. It is therefore very important that magazine
publishers attempt to make their magazines more relevant to their targeted readers‟ lives, to stay
competitive and hold a reasonable share in the market (Davidson, Mcneill & Ferguson 2007:209).
This may require extensive research and a proper understanding of the target market to be reached, if
a magazine wants to target a consumer group in South Africa.
25
Every magazine is published with the implication that each successive issue represents (within its
own field) what is currently under discussion, and happening at the moment. In each issue the
magazine should find innovative ways to add something new and exciting to the reading experience,
yet still staying in touch with all the previous issues that came before it, meaning that the core
editorial “mood” of the magazine should be kept in mind. According to Pease (2005:22) “the
publication should strive to be new and different, but anticipate and be familiar at the same time”.
The challenge likely to be faced in South Africa is for a magazine to “matter” to their readers, and be
important to a core of targeted consumers who won‟t be able to wait to receive their next issue and
subsequently tap into their passion for, and confidence in the magazine.
People may doubt the future of magazines in this technologically driven world of the present day and
age, but the reality is that magazines will probably continue to be popular reading material in the
future, and may be a good field to conduct research in. This is said, as new media do not necessarily
eliminate existing ones, such as magazines. The only implication it has is that it will probably force
magazines to redefine themselves (Davidson et al., 2007:208). It may be anticipated that not only
magazines, but all of the current distribution channels, including television, newspapers, radio, and
the Internet will continue to co-exist because each of these meets a specific consumer need. Some
advantages that magazines may have over these other channels are that magazines aren‟t as
ephemeral as some of them, and that pleasure seeking can be seen as a top motivator for magazine
consumption (Davidson et al., 2007:208). This means that magazines have the ability to have more
staying power in the minds of readers (one does not usually throw magazines away immediately
after reading it), and it could have amazing impact if a magazine is focused on the targeted readers‟
wants and needs. According to Davidson et al. (2007:209) “a well-edited magazine should speak
clearly to the targeted readers and should have a unique personality that can lead to the magazine
becoming an entity in the reader‟s life”. This leads to the implication that magazine marketers should
have a thorough understanding of their targeted readers, especially when a new magazine wants to
be launched or introduced in the market. This is also true for when an exciting magazine wants to
position itself better in the competitive magazine market, with the aim to set them apart from their
competition.
Consumers approach media with different expectations, and in different frames of mind, and due to
the different ways in which magazines are purchased and used among consumers, a relationship may
be formed between the reader and the magazine. This is said as they may share the same
fundamental characteristics. This means that by reading a magazine, a person may experience a
26
process that is as intimate as it is involved, which may full-fill the reader‟s personal needs and
possibly reflect the values of that specific reader (McKay, 2008:46). It is therefore important to
discuss the role that fashion magazines may play in that regard.
2.3. OVERVIEW OF FASHION MAGAZINES
In general, fashion magazines can be seen as the voice of the fashion industry, often giving industry
information and providing a platform for brand advertising. Even more important than this, fashion
magazines can be seen as cultural objects that can reflect cultural values on a visual and textual
basis. Kopnina (2007:369) states that “fashion magazines are cultural media objects, because they
communicate the most dominant cultural trends”. Fashion magazines have been changing and
expanding over the past few years, and there are currently a lot of fashion magazines on the market,
targeting women, men and teenagers, the largest category of fashion magazines being aimed at
female markets. According to Lake (2007) “with the problem of clutter in the market, many of these
magazines have to continuously redefine themselves by constantly and pro-actively improving on
their unique brand identity that sets them apart from the crowd”. This leads to the implication that a
fashion magazine should constantly compare themselves to other magazines to ensure that they are
on trend with the latest offerings, but still keeping in touch with their brand identity, in order to
remain dominant in their market segment.
Fashion magazines can further be viewed as one of the organs of mainstream media, which are often
a main source of ideas of beauty and style for the general public (Banim, Green & Guy 2001:140).
Fashion, as seen in fashion magazines, has multiple social agendas that are concerned with the
interpretation of contemporary fashion, as well as the conception of media culture. Fashion
magazines on the other hand, accommodate both advertisers, and the consumers (Crane, 1999:545).
The primary goal of fashion magazines is to exhibit the latest trends in clothing for women and
fashion photographs used in clothing advertisements, attempt to provide some kind of visual
entertainment to the readers (Crane, 1999:546). Women‟s magazines are published primarily for the
readership of women and during the past few decades fashion magazines have increasingly targeted
young women as a specialty audience (Budgeon & Currie, 1995:173). This is a primary reason for
the selected targeted audience for this study, as young women are especially fashion conscious in
this day and age, which can also lately be seen amongst the young adult black women in South
Africa, as they dress more according to the latest trends and styles. Within the “Women‟s
magazines” genre there are a variety of individual categories that have specific titles, with very
27
distinct personalities which are unique to their specific brand. These categories include fashion,
celebrity, home and health magazines (Davidson et al., 2007:210). All kinds of different players in
the fashion field like models, photographers, designers, stylists, and hairdressers, often appear or
feature in fashion magazines, to sell and promote their work to others (Moeran, 2002:17). This is
very important, as these publications may be seen as the medium used by people in the fashion
industry to show their “artistic talent”, “beauty”, and “creativity” to the general public. According to
Moeran (2002:17) this is done with the aim to sustain or enhance their names. It is said that fashion
magazines generally follow a “tried and tested” formula that makes it virtually imperative to follow
a certain “recipe”, but at the same time each brand strives to be unique (Moeran, 2002:16). It is
therefore apparent, that great care should be taken when wanting to create a brand new fashion
magazine, which rings especially true in South Africa, as a highly competitive market will be
entered, consisting of established fashion magazines, most of an international origin, that have been
around for quite some time. It is thus imperative to find innovative connection points to the specific
target market of a fashion magazine, which could appeal to the intended readers.
Women‟s fashion magazines are the focus of this study, and can be seen as both commodities and
cultural products. These two aspects about the production of fashion magazines, contribute to what
actually makes them sociologically interesting (Moeran, 2006:727). It being a commodity refers to
the fact that it is a product of the print media industry, which is a crucial site for the advertising and
sales of commodities such as cosmetics, personal care, fragrances and clothing (Moeran, 2003:3). As
cultural products, fashion magazines are distributed in a cultural economy of collective meanings.
This means that readers can reflect and act upon what they read in the magazines (Moeran,
2006:727). Because fashion magazines are both cultural products and commodities, they address
multiple audiences, and the driving force behind the publications is fashion itself. The multiple
audience property refers to the advertisers, fashion world and the readers themselves (Moeran,
2006:728). This means that fashion magazines not only appeal to the readers, but also to advertisers,
members of the fashion industry, and photographers. It is therefore apparent that fashion magazines
are inseparable from fashion in general, and can be viewed as playing a major role in the fashion
industry and for all the various players forming part of the fashion field.
Most fashion magazines are available nationwide in the country, in which they are published, with
some being distributed only in certain regions and cities. Some fashion magazines are available
internationally, with different editions for each country or area of the world, varying to some degree
in editorial and advertising content, but not being entirely different. Examples of such magazines in
28
South Africa are magazines such as the Cosmopolitan, Elle, and Mari Claire, to name but a few. It
should, however, be noted that consumer fashion magazines do not give details about the cut and
construction of fashion garments themselves, but rather advise on how they should be worn, thereby
translating the latest hottest trends to readers, as most of the writers are not likely to be qualified
fashion journalists or fashion historians (Watt, 1999:2). Readers therefore probably rather look to
fashion magazines for information pertaining to new trends and styles. The existence of fashion
magazines may be seen as to teach the general public the reasons why fashion should be important in
their lives, and tell readers what the current trends are, as well as the names behind them and where
the fashion items or clothes can be purchased. Fashion magazines therefore legitimize fashion and
the world of fashion in cultural terms (Moeran, 2006: 732).
It should be noted that magazines in general, including fashion magazines, provide three types of
services. These include content for readers, advertisements allowing readers to find out about
products that are possibly of interest to them, as well as an advertising outlet providing companies
with an opportunity to inform readers about their products (Kaiser & Wright, 2005:3). Fashion
magazine contents may be divided into Fashion, Beauty and Health, Entertainment and Lifestyle,
Issues and Culture, Technology and Other (Moeran, 2002:5). Content analysis however shows that
the main concern with these types of magazines is appearance. This means that appearance is the
primary interest for the readers, and this should be taken into consideration when attempting to
communicate with the target market in this study (Moeran, 2002:8). There are various ways in which
one can analyse fashion magazine contents. Fashion content includes editorials and articles, while
advertisements can be informative or puffing, non-sexual or sexual or have an editorial nature. Types
of products shown in advertisements or editorials are also a common use. Research has shown that
the largest amount of pages are often used for the placement of advertisements, followed by fashion
editorials which includes the display of the latest trends and fashion articles (Rabolt & Solomon,
2004:343). Because fashion magazine advertisements play such an important role in fashion
magazines, this aspect will be considered in the following section.
2.4. FASHION MAGAZINE ADVERTISEMENTS
As in the case with women‟s and various other types of magazines, advertising forms a huge
percentage of every fashion magazine‟s title pages. This is very important, as it contributes to the
overall financial well-being of the magazine (Moeran, 2002:6). In general, advertising can be
classified into two categories, namely brand building and directional. Brand building tend to be
29
either product, service, or retailer oriented and the purpose of this type of advertising is to establish a
favourable image and creating a demand for a product to eventually result in a purchase (Wang,
Zhang, Choi & D‟Eredita, 2002:1144). Directional advertising on the other hand is relevant to this
study, as it is synonymous with fashion editorials and is commonly seen in fashion magazines. In
this research study it is of interest how culture influence the target market when evaluating
advertisements or fashion images in fashion magazines, and how the advertisements influence their
decision-making process when purchasing clothing. Unique advertisement characteristics can have
the advantage of increasing brand awareness, but this does not mean that it would lead to the
adoption of the fashion products by the targeted readers (Wang et al., 2002:1145). This can lead to
the readers of fashion magazines, merely becoming more aware, or taking notice of the products
being advertised, but it does not guarantee that it would play a role in their decision-making to
ultimately purchase it. It is therefore important to consider the role of fashion magazine
advertisements in the adoption phase of the decision-making process of the targeted consumers, and
will be discussed in a later section.
Fashion photographs, as seen in clothing advertisements incorporate clothes in a complex gestalt of
imagery (Crane, 1999:560). It is very important for clothing advertisers to ensure that the imagery
used, does not overshadow the clothes themselves. This aspect, as well as the models used, should be
taken into serious consideration, especially when targeting women of an African heritage, since their
responses in general toward clothing advertisements are often more complex, due to the difficulties
experienced in identifying with predominantly white images in fashion magazines (Rubin et al.,
2003:63). Other research has shown that fashion advertisements are often a point of comparison and
can have significant impact on readers, especially the younger generation and should be used in a
way that communicate effectively with the targeted readers (Crane, 1999:543). Some researchers
argue that high levels of similarity between the viewer of an advertisement and the characters
featured in an advertisement often increase the viewer‟s belief that he or she is the intended audience
for the advertisement. (Appiah, 2001:31). This leads to more positive attitudes towards the
advertisement and the product being advertised, and is therefore of great interest in this study. This is
a very important consideration for magazine marketers, as similarity between the targeted group and
the characters features in fashion images in fashion magazine advertisements, could lead to increased
sales of such a magazine, as well as products featured in advertisements in the magazine. It is also
important to keep in mind that fashion images in fashion magazines may serve as “generalized
other” to which readers may look for social comparison, and is an important consideration in this
study.
30
As discussed earlier, there are many facets to a fashion magazine that can aid in making it
successful. Some of these may include a highly focused editorial philosophy, or a clearly defined
formula, but an essential part of success probably rely on a thorough understanding of and
connection with the target audience. It is therefore extremely important for a magazine to clearly
define their target audience. By ensuring that one talks directly to a niche market, magazines can
assure their advertisers that they are talking exactly to the people who are going to buy their
products, which more often than not, greatly impact on the success of a magazine. Fashion and
beauty departments are only important to those consumer publications that include beauty and
fashion advertisers in their lists of clients, which is the case with most fashion magazines. Marketers
often fail to truly understand their target markets; thereby missing the mark when trying to
communicate to the consumers they want to reach. Different consumer needs and responses require
different marketing tactics or strategies, and once marketers or researchers understand their
consumers, then only can they create a basis for targeting them in an effective manner. Each
magazine is defined by its reader, and identified by its particular style and approach, making
targeting a very important consideration when wanting to appeal to a certain group of readers
(Frings, 2005:168). Now that there is a general understanding of magazines and fashion magazines,
it is also of interest to explore the role of fashion and fashion magazines in the every day life of
consumers.
2.5. ROLE OF FASHION AND FASHION MAGAZINES IN EVERY DAY LIFE
Fashion is a multi-million Rand industry, not only in South Africa, but even more so internationally.
The industry employs millions of people across the world, and plays a role in almost all of the lives
of consumers across societies (Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:4). Fashion has the ability to extend beyond
clothing, and can be viewed as playing a major part in reflecting society and culture, meaning the
way in which people define themselves (Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:4). This means that fashion can
reflect the basic social and cultural forces of a specific society. According to Burns and Sproles
(1994) “people also use fashion as a form of non-verbal communication, which is often necessary to
express factors such as sex, age, status, occupation and ethnicity” (Burns & Sproles, 1994:22).
Fashion can therefore be viewed as playing an important role in the lives of many people across
cultures, sub-cultures and societies.
31
Consumers receive a large amount of fashion information through various communication channels.
One such channel is promotion and advertising of fashion in the mass media. Fashion magazines
form part of the mass media, and have become a major platform for the exhibition of the latest
offerings of the fashion industry (Burns & Sproles, 1994:246). Freshness and style is at the heart of
fashion, and one of the primary factors that make fashion interesting to consumers is that it is always
changing (Frings, 2005:50). This may also be the reason for fashion magazines being popular among
consumers. This means that fashion magazines would probably appeal to readers and keep them
interested due to the element of “surprise” attached to each new issue (Pease, 2005).
Fashion journalism can be seen as an important part of the fashion industry. Fashion magazines often
play a major role in affecting public taste, and are instrumental in establishing social, cultural and
behavioral norms in their target readerships‟ everyday lives, which are commonly organized around
different ranges of goods (such as clothing and accessories), lifestyle and cultural activities (Laden,
2003:194). Magazines in general, are known to be publicly consumed products, and individuals
often use the consumption of consumer goods, such as fashion magazines, to create an identity,
structure psychological events and build relationships (Shaw & Clarke, 1998:165). This is an
important consideration in this study, as consumers may purchase specific magazine brands for
reasons such as these. Furthermore, magazines are generally bought as a result of impulse buying,
and it is said that impulse purchases have a higher probability to be items that project the preferred
or the ideal self of consumers. Kacen and Lee (2002) noted that this “is especially true for female
consumers, as women value their possessions more for relationship and emotional related reasons”
(Kacen & Lee, 2002:163). This is of interest in this study, as the consumer group being targeted
consists of women only.
The way people respond to fashion and use clothing, are important because consumers often use
fashionable clothing to express their social identities, making clothing meaningful in their lives
(Crane, 1999:543). Generally, fashion is a language that tells a story about the person who wears it,
as it creates a way of wordless communication that everyone understands. Fashion magazines may
therefore also tell something about the person reading the magazine (Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:4).
Burns and Sproles (1994:22) argues that “fashion products, like clothing and fashion magazines, are
of utmost importance in the process of the formation and exhibition of a persons‟ self, as possessions
are a major contributor to, and reflection of peoples‟ identities”. Possessions may therefore be seen
as establishing a relationship between the self-concept and consumer brand choice, which is
especially relevant to the fashion industry because of the connection of fashion products (like
32
fashion magazines) to the formation and expedition of the self (Burns & Sproles, 1994:22). Fashion
magazines can thus be viewed as being important to the targeted consumers of this study, as they
may view the specific magazine brand they read as an object, to say something about themselves to
others. It is therefore necessary to consider fashion and fashion magazines in particular, as
“generalised other” in the lives of consumers.
2.5.1 Fashion and fashion magazines as “generalised other”
Traditionally there has been a link between people and their possessions and in the past, it has been
argued that what people consume often defines who they are (Belk, 1988:142). The magazines
people read may therefore be seen as an important possession in the targeted consumer‟s lives,
because of the role they play as extended consumption items. According to Belk (1988:142) the
concept of the extended self can be seen, as “the idea that a person‟s possessions are a large
contributor to, and reflection of a person‟s identity”. It is believed that people often surround
themselves with objects that project their self-concept, or even their ideal self. This is known as their
extended self. The term, „the extended self‟ can be used either literally or symbolically. Literally, it
refers to a physical extension of oneself, meaning possessing something that could help someone
achieve something, which they could not otherwise achieve without it, like having a weapon (Belk,
1988:150). Symbolically, the term may be used to describe the way in which a person convinces
himself or herself, and others that he or she is a different person by means of possessions, for
example through the clothes a person wears, or the magazine brand a person reads (Belk, 1988:150).
Furthermore, fashion is known to be revealing in nature, and therefore it can be assumed that fashion
magazines also have the ability to reveal something about the reader to others. By reading a certain
fashion magazine, it may reveal to what group of people a person belongs to, or wants to be
associated with. For instance in school, groups get assigned names according to the style of clothes
they wear, like skaters, Goths etc. This means that people may also be classified into groups by
means of the type of magazine they read. Fashion magazines can therefore aid in revealing who a
person is, and the type of group a person belongs to, implicating that the targeted readers may view
the type of magazine they read as an important consideration, because it can reveal something about
themselves, as well as the group they belong to, or which they aspire to belong to, to others. In
academic research, the influence that a group has on an individual has been recognized for quite
some time, and it is anticipated that individuals may act in a certain manner or consume specific
products, such as fashion products, that will be consistent with the social group they identify with
33
(Childers & Rao, 1992:198). This means that the targeted consumer group of this study may only
purchase a specific fashion magazine, if the brand is in line with the notions of the social group they
belong to, or want to belong to. The clothes people wear often separate people into groups, and
therefore the magazines people read, may also separate them into different groups. It s important to
consider that when referring to groups, the significant others of the readers may play an important
role, as these people may form part of their reference group, or aspiration groups. Du Plessis and
Rousseau (2003:115) noted that, “in sociology, a significant other refers to a person, which exerts a
big influence on an individual‟s self-evaluation”. This is seen as important to the individual, and
influences the person‟s reception of certain social norms (Du Plessis & Rousseau, 2003:115).
Reference groups generally refer to all formal and informal groups that influence the purchasing
behaviour of a person. These reference groups possess what is known as social power, meaning that
they have the power to influence the actions of others, like the consumption of fashion products,
such as a fashion magazine (Lamb & Hair, 2002:87). Some of the friends of the targeted consumers
may act as opinion leaders, resulting in the consumer being influenced by those persons‟ beliefs and
opinions. This is said because within a reference group an individual identifies with another person
in such a way that he or she tends to use it as a standard for self-evaluation (du Plessis & Rousseau,
2003:370). In this study, it is therefore important to understand the influence other people may have
on the targeted consumers of this study, and the importance they may place on being viewed as part
of a certain group, whether it being a social group or sub-cultural group. This is said, as certain
people or groups (if viewed as important), may influence the targeted consumers‟ choice in fashion
magazines. This is said as it is evident that fashion magazines can be viewed as a possession that
form part of the “extended self” of consumers, and which can tell something about themselves to
other people.
With the above literature in mind, it is therefore important to understand that individuals “consume”
the symbolic meaning of products (such as fashion magazines), and not just the products themselves.
By understanding the role of fashion in every day life, fashion products can be used to segment
markets better and position it to the products or brands. Each fashion magazine on the market has its
own personality, and targeted readers may evidently seek out those magazines that aid in projecting
their self-image, or the image they would like to project to others. It is therefore important to
understand, that with regard to this study, fashion and fashion magazines may serve as “generalised
other” to the targeted consumers of this study, not only to tell others something about themselves to,
but also serving as a point of comparison for the targeted group. It is of utmost importance for
magazine marketers not to miss the mark when appealing to their targeted readers, and the role that
34
fashion magazines as “generalised other” may play with regard to social comparison, may be an
important consideration in that regard.
Furthermore it is important to develop strategies to communicate effectively with the targeted
readers of a fashion magazine. Some approaches that may be considered to reach this goal are to
change the beliefs of the readers of existing fashion magazines regarding how well a brand perform,
or to revise the communication of importance ratings of the attributes of the magazine. Even more
important, a new innovative attribute can be created for the product, or a totally new magazine brand
can be developed that may capture the targeted consumers‟ attention, fulfilling their wants and needs
in that regard. It is said that fashion magazine readers may be particularly brand loyal towards their
magazine brand. Friedman (2000) argues that “brand loyalty occurs when a person has a favourable
attitude towards a particular brand and purchases that brand continuously”. Magazine marketers
should therefore attempt to appeal successfully to the targeted consumers when wanting to introduce
a new magazine brand, and it is therefore important to gain insight into the role that fashion
magazines may play when the targeted consumers make decisions about clothing. The role of
fashion magazines in consumer decision-making will be discussed next.
2.6. ROLE OF FASHION MAGAZINES IN CONSUMER DECISION-MAKING
People of all ages and cultures often find themselves in a position where there is a choice between
two or more alternatives, and making decisions can therefore be seen as a universal process
(Strohschneider, 2002:1). Generally, decision-making is a cognitive process of making a selection
between multiple alternatives and a common example of this may include shopping for magazines or
buying clothes. In some cases during a purchasing decision, additional information may be required
to make the decision to buy, or not to buy. This can result in the consumer either engaging in
internal or external information search, and fashion magazines form part of this (Lamb & Hair,
2002:92).
When consumers buy a product, they generally follow the consumer decision-making process. This
process consists of five stages, and moves the consumer from the recognition of a problem or need,
to ultimately evaluating the purchase itself (Lamb & Hair, 2002:67). The five steps involved in the
decision-making process include problem recognition, information search, evaluation of alternatives,
purchase and, post-purchase behavior (Lamb & Hair, 2002:68). For the purposes of this study, the
focus will be on the first three stages of the decision-making process, as fashion magazines play a
35
role in them. This is said, because when consumers need to choose a new product, such as a fashion
magazine or new fashion, it requires a decision-making process by the consumers. The starting point
of this decision-making process begins with informational use during an individual consumer‟s
adoption process. This is the first stage of the consumer decision-making process, where consumers
use different sources of information at various stages (Burns & Sproles, 1994: 264). This means that
consumers use all sorts of different information sources and contents of messages to come to a
decision about a product. This study deals with fashion magazines, and it is said that media such as
this is an important source to be used during the first three stages of the adoption process. Different
levels of use at each of these three stages are evident, ranging from the highest level of use in the
first stage, to the lowest level in stage three (Burns & Sproles, 1994: 264). The first stage of the
adoption process is known as the awareness stage. Here mass media, including fashion magazines
are by far the most important source used to create awareness of a new product, especially when the
product is a fashion product typically advertised in a fashion magazine. When referring to the mass
media in fashion, it includes women‟s magazines, reading advertisements on fashion, reading of
fashion articles or magazine articles on fashion, watching clothing advertisements or looking
through fashion magazines (Burns & Sproles, 1994: 278). Secondly, the interest stage is
synonymous with equally using mass media and personal communications to get information.
Lastly, the evaluation stage is where the consumer evaluates information in order to make a decision.
In this case, although mass media such as fashion magazines are used to some extent, it does not
play such a big role as in the first two stages (Burns & Sproles, 1994: 264). This aspect is a very
important consideration when wanting to create awareness (especially), interest and evaluation of
new fashion products to be adopted, and the role that fashion magazines can play in that regard,
should not be underestimated.
It is evident that the consumer‟s purchase decision-making process is viewed as generally consisting
of certain steps through which the buyer passes when purchasing a product or service, but decisionmaking often also involves a number of internal psychological processes. These may include
perception, motivation, attitude formation, integration and learning (Burns & Sproles, 1994: 264).
These factors may be important to promotional planners, since they influence the general decisionmaking process of the consumer. By understanding the target market better and possible external
factors influencing their decision-making, specifically focusing on culture, a basis for differentiation
may be created to better satisfy the readers‟ wants and needs. Attention should be given to this, as
the apparel industries‟, and therefore also the fashion magazine industry‟s main focus is after all to
provide an appealing and desirable product to satisfy the targeted customers‟ wants, needs and
36
aspirations (Clodfelter, 2003:123). Although consumer decision-making encompasses two types of
influencing variables, either being environmental or individual, for the purpose of this study, the
focus will be on the external or environmental influencing variables. External influences include
culture, and sub-culture, social class, and social group, family, and inter-personal influences. Other
influences, which are not categorised by any of the above six, like geographical, political,
economical, religious environment, are also part of external influences (Du Plessis & Rousseau,
2003:110). Due to the fact that culture and sub-culture form part of the external influences on
decision-making, and being an important factor that may influence the targeted consumers of this
study with regard to exploring and describing the Black Diamond‟s social comparison and reflected
appraisals of fashion magazine images, it will further be dealt with in the next chapter. Targeting a
consumer segment will be discussed in the following section.
2.7. TARGETING A CONSUMER SEGMENT
From a business point of view, many companies may be discovering that previously ignored ethnic
groups are growing in market power. Meeting the needs of these groups can result in an opportunity
for success (Holland & Gentry, 1999:65). It has been found that a rapidly emerging market in South
Africa is the so-called “Black Diamonds”. This is the black middle class, and accounts for
approximately 2 million of South Africa‟s population, which may seem like a small number, but this
group is expected to grow by 50% each year (Rundell, 2006:1). The Unilever Institute of Strategic
Marketing described this group as an under-served market that has tremendous opportunity for
marketers and entrepreneurs in South Africa (Olivier, 2006). South African marketers however, are
yet to recognise the impact of the new potential that may be associated with this market. The young
adult black women, (between the ages of 18 and 24 years), serving as the target market for this
study, fall under this Black Diamonds consumer group.
According to previous finance minister, Trevor Manuel, race continues to be related to wealth and
development in South Africa. Social indicators such as occupation, education, household income,
access to human development, and infant mortality may play a role in that regard (Mawers, 2006:1).
For any country to achieve a sustainable long-term economic growth, a significant and vibrant
middle class is essentially needed in any society (The new Black middle class, 2006). A middle class
refers to the group of people that can generally afford key items, such as cars, property, appliances
and electronics. The people in the middle class often travel, and are concerned with furthering their
education levels and those of their children. Generally people progress into the middle class over
37
many generations, but in the case of South Africa, an exceptional leap has been taken in a single
generation. This happened because of great social disruption that took place due to the instated
democracy in 1994, that made the country free for all, thereby giving people equal rights, no matter
what race or colour. Before the 1994 social dispensation, the black people in South Africa were
viewed as one monolithic mass, which could not be segmented, but this has changed over the past
few years (Olivier, 2007:180).
A target market can be defined as a fairly homogeneous group that is most likely to buy a firm‟s
products (Lamb & Hair, 2002:63). The target market of this study, known as the “Black Diamonds”,
refers to the burgeoning black African middle class. The term only refers to the previously
disadvantaged black people of South Africa, therefore excluding Coloureds, Asians etc. The group
makes up 10 percent of black South Africans and is responsible for 43 percent of claimed black
consumer buying power (and 28 percent of the total South African spending), that adds up to about
R130 billion in value, which is a huge amount. A report conducted by the University of Cape
Town‟s Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing (2006), stated that the number of “Black
Diamonds” has increased in only a year‟s time with 30 percent (Internet: Talent- Bright Young
Things). This means that they account for around 2.6 million out of approximately 48 million of the
South African population (Le Roux, 2007), and this particular market segment is known to be very
driven and goal-oriented in comparison with other race groups in the country, making them an
appealing group to target and conduct research on.
Due to the segmented nature within the Black Diamonds group with regard to buying power,
attitudes, aspirations, consumption, character and circumstances, the mistake of following a one sizefits-all approach should be avoided (Rundell, 2006:4). This is said as culture, language, and
understanding levels can be differentiated among the group, and therefore the relevance of these
factors to each sub-segment may be key when wanting to target a specific sub-segment effectively
(Rundell, 2006:4). To understand this group and their market potential may therefore require an
exploration of their culture and sub-culture, as well as their past, and what they believe (Gelb,
2007:1). This may result in reaping rewards from the relatively untapped, but emerging black middle
class sector of the South African economy (Olivier, 2007:1). Magazine marketers‟ aim should be to
design, implement and maintain a marketing mix that is intended to meet the needs of this particular
target market, to ultimately result in mutually satisfying exchanges (Lamb & Hair, 2002:151). By
recognizing the growing power of this market in South Africa, magazine companies can answer to
the need for more research, which may ultimately result in developing solutions for this market, as
38
this group may have been neglected for far too long- economically, commercially and educationally
(Olivier, 2006). The Black Diamonds are said to be largely self-confident, optimistic, aspiring and
future focused. They also have a passion and drive for education, making them an appealing group to
conduct research on, as they seem to be the market of the future in South Africa. (Olivier, 2007:181).
People of any given generation are linked by the life experiences they shared, but these experiences
do not have meaning in themselves. The attitudes and beliefs that developed due to that, are of
importance (Snyder, 2002:10). A culture can be divided into sub-cultures. A sub-culture can be
described as a homogeneous group of people that share the same elements as the overall culture, but
have certain elements unique to their own group (Lamb & Hair, 2002:85). Most markets consist of
consumers with specific needs and who are often not satisfied with products that appeal to the
masses. These consumers may demand brands or products that specifically cater for their needs. The
purpose of market segmentation is to have greater knowledge of the differences, as well as the
similarities between the consumers (du Plessis & Rousseau, 2003:58). Each market segment can be
divided into sub-segments, that may require specialized marketing programs, designed to
specifically service each of the smaller sub-segments (Mawers,2006:1). It is therefore important to
understand the specific segments within the Black Diamonds‟ group, as the members of each subsegment probably share the same characteristics, and differ from members in the other segments
within the larger market segment.
In the marketing literature, lifestyle describes the behavior of people, either being in small groups, or
large ones like market segments (such as the Black Diamonds) that may serve as potential customers
(Kucukemiroglu, 1999:472). Generally lifestyle relates to the economic level at which people live, as
well as how they spend their time and money (Kucukemiroglu,1999:472). Once a market segment
and sub-segment is identified, marketing strategies and policies can be developed to reach them
efficiently. Once marketers or researchers understand their consumers and their way of living, they
can create a basis for communicating with them in an effective manner. The Black Diamonds group
consists of several different market segments, which depends on income, education, age, life-stage
and occupation (Internet: Talent- Bright Young Things, 2006). Research Surveys (The New Black
Middle Class, 2006) identified four general segments within the Black Diamonds group, the first
being the Established‟s. In short, this sub-segment consists of wealthy or rather high-income people.
Secondly, there are the Young families, which are in suitable occupations, but are not as rich as the
previously mentioned group. Then there are the Start-Me-Ups that consist of youngsters that are on
the upward climb. Lastly, the Mzansi Youth is the sub-segment consisting of mostly younger people
39
that are generally optimistic and have a go-getting style of living, and are studying towards their
future. This group has the desire, energy, drive and the time to better themselves in the future (The
new black middle class, 2006).
The Mzanzi Youth sub-segment will be the focus of this study. There are 240000 Black Diamond
women in this segment with a value of R3 billion, which increased by 21% since 2007 (Black
Diamond survey, 2008). This particular group contains young people that are on their way up, and
also fit the “young adult” description, as they are between 18 and 24 years of age. The group can be
summarized as being on the way up, arriving and driven. Culture is said to remain an important part
in their lives, and the primary brands or products they are interested in falls under “enabling me”.
Most of the individuals in this group are studying towards their future. Furthermore the sub-segment
contains individuals that are mostly single, childless, and aged between 18 and 24, and they like to
have fun and party in their spare time (The new black middle class, 2006). These attributes should be
taken into consideration, when trying to appeal to the women in this group with regard to a fashion
magazine specifically catering for them.
Serving this market not only represents tremendous opportunity, but a challenge as well. Results of
the study by Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing (2006) showed that Black Diamonds generally
lead rather fast paced lives, and they face a variety of demands on their time (Internet: Talent- Bright
Young Things, 2006). This should be kept in mind, especially with regard to the youngsters in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment, as reading is only one activity to be fitted into the lives of the
consumers, amongst a multitude of other things. Taking this into consideration, magazines may be
seen as attractive reading material by the targeted consumers, as it seems to invite casual reading for
people with more pre-occupations and less time (as in the case with the Mzansi-Youth). This time
pressure could mean that little attention is given to specific media, such as magazines. It may
therefore be difficult to reach the market segment, as it appears that they make use of a wide variety
of different media (Internet: Talent- Bright Young Things, 2006). Due to this fragmented nature of
their media usage, and the diversity within the market segment itself, it cannot be merely assumed
that one can easily connect with the Black Diamonds (Internet: Talent- Bright Young Things, 2006).
An attempt should rather be made by magazine marketers to understand the differentiating factors of
the group, to reach them in an effective manner and create a means of sustainable long-term
differentiation. An exploration of innovative connection points may be needed to grab the attention
of the targeted readers, and this can only be achieved if there is a clear understanding of the
40
dimensions and characteristics of the group, as well as the factors that possibly influence their
decision-making regarding fashion magazines and the clothes they ultimately purchase.
2.8. IMPLICATION FOR THE STUDY
Although some people may doubt the future of magazines in this technologically driven world of the
present day and age, the reality is that magazines will probably continue to be popular reading
material in the future, and may therefore be seen as a good field to conduct research on. This is said,
as new medium does not necessarily eliminate existing ones, such as fashion magazines. The only
implication it has is that it will probably force magazines to redefine themselves (Davidson et al.,
2007:208). It may be anticipated that not only fashion magazines, but all of the current distribution
channels, including television, newspapers, radio, and the Internet, can and will continue to co-exist
because each of these meet a specific consumer need. By meeting the needs of the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment within the Black Diamond consumer group, it can ensure the success of
a fashion magazine specifically targeting them.
It is said that the Black Diamonds‟ women are especially on the rise, as they are extremely hungry
for success and know where they are going (Le Roux, 2007). These women may therefore be an
appealing market niche to conduct research on regarding fashion magazines in South Africa, taking
into consideration this new market‟s new-found potential, ambition and entitlement. These
consumers have the opportunity to have a voice, demand product and credit, and may therefore be
recognised as very discerning individual consumers (Olivier, 2007:181). It is apparent that the Black
Diamonds have emerged and are quickly turning into an undeniable force to be reckoned with, and it
is anticipated that this phenomenon will continue in the future. Not only have their numbers grown
in a year, with over 600 000, but their purchasing power has proven to keep pace (Le Roux, 2007).
They can therefore probably be seen as the market of the future. From a fashion magazine
marketers‟ point of view, it may be important to understand the non-homogenous nature of the group
in order not to miss the mark when trying to reach the target market. According to the University of
Cape Town (UCT) Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing, an enormous number of Black
Diamonds feel that marketing communications fail to connect with them (Internet: Talent- Bright
Young Things, 2006). This means that if fashion magazine marketers aim to better understand the
consumer group and their preferences, it can create a basis for attracting them efficiently towards
fashion products, thereby avoiding miss-communication with them and better satisfying their wants
and needs in that regard.
41
In the marketing literature there seems to be an agreement that culture greatly influences the way
consumers behave and perceive, and one of the lessons derived from social psychology, is that
culture has a significant impact on the way people generally see the world. These views may
ultimately affect their behaviour (Jenson, 2004:1). Research has shown that the black middle class
differentiates themselves from the white middle class by means of their culture and roots. According
to Mawers (2006:3) black people are more influenced by customs, laws, traditions and social
purpose. Taking that into consideration, it means that the targeted consumers of this study may be
especially influenced by cultural factors in their decision-making. Individuals who identify strongly
with their heritage are likely to be influenced by culture to a greater extent, and it can therefore be
assumed that culture may play a vital role in influencing the consumption behaviour of fashion
products of the Black Diamonds consumer group (Shaw & Clarke, 1998:165). The question in this
study, is what is the extent to which sub-culture play a role in the decision-making surrounding a
fashion magazine in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment? This aspect is of great interest to be explored in
this study.
Some researchers argue that advertisements are more effective when the symbols, characters, and
values portrayed in the advertisements are accumulated from the intended audience‟s cultural
environment (Appiah, 2001:31). This allows increased identification with the message and the
source of the message, which is critical when wanting to appeal to a certain group through an
advertisement. The importance of culture and the possible role of sub-culture in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segments‟ behaviour with regard to fashion magazines will be discussed in the next chapter.
42
CHAPTER 3
LITERATURE REVIEW:
THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN FASHION MAGAZINES
3.1. INTRODUCTION
Magazines, fashion magazines and fashion magazine advertisements and images were discussed in
the previous chapter. With the literature and background in mind, it is necessary to consider the role
of culture in the Mzansi Youths‟ evaluations of fashion magazines, and more specifically their
appraisals of fashion magazine images. This is said as the targeted women of this study reside within
a specific culture or sub-cultural group, and this in turn may affect the way in which they appraise
images in fashion magazines, and the magazine in itself. Culture is said to be one of the primary
differentiators between races, and is a factor that cannot be ignored when marketing to the people of
South Africa (Mawers, 2006:1). Cultural factors may have the deepest impact on consumers‟
purchasing behaviour and often determine a person‟s wants and behaviour (Mawers, 2006:1). It is
thus apparent that culture has an affect on the way that people behave and live and may therefore
also affect the way the targeted consumers of this study make decisions surrounding fashion
products and purchases. It is therefore critical to understand the role culture plays with regard to the
targeted women of this study, especially since it may influence their evaluations and appraisals of
fashion magazines and images. If the cultural and sub-cultural factors that influence the decisionmaking process of the consumers in this study can be identified, it can prove to be effective when
attempting to reach them.
3.2. FASHION, THE CONSUMER AND THE ROLE OF CULTURE
According to Du Plessis and Rousseau (2003:112) cultural influences refer to the customs, laws,
values and beliefs that are learnt from society and result in similar patterns of behaviour, underlying
and governing conduct in society. The consumption of items such as fashion and fashion magazines
can therefore not be fully understood without considering the cultural context from which they
originate. Fashion and magazine marketers in South Africa can no longer ignore the diversity of
cultures that are reshaping South Africa‟s mainstream society, such as the Black Diamond consumer
group, and should be prepared to devise products and communication strategies that are tailored to
43
meet the needs of the various cultures and sub-cultural groups. According to Rabolt and Solomon
(2004:198) sub-cultural memberships often have an enormous effect in shaping the wants and needs
of consumers. The women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment therefore probably share similar
patterns of social beliefs and behaviour that may shape their wants and needs and influence their
decision-making process when purchasing products, and in this case fashion magazines.
Culture can be defined as “a configuration of learned behaviours and results of behaviour whose
component parts are shared and transmitted by the members of a particular society” (Shaw & Clarke,
1998:165). It is said that culture gives order to society and according to Lamb and Hair (2002:83)
can be defined as “the set of values, norms, attitudes and other meaningful symbols that shape
human behaviour, and is environmentally orientated”. Furthermore, it is said that human interaction
creates values, and prescribes acceptable behaviour for each culture (Lamb & Hair, 2002: 83). With
regard to this study, it may therefore be important to consider specific cultural characteristics among
the Black Diamonds. This is said as cultural values are learned behaviours that are both permanent
and dynamic; it is socially shared and serve as guidelines to acceptable and unacceptable behaviour
(Du Plessis & Rousseau, 2003:398). By researching the effect of culture on specific sensitivity to
individual needs and preferences with regard to the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment, the
targeted consumers may be reached and communicated with more effectively.
A sub-culture can be described as a group of consumers who are held together by cultural or genetic
ties that are common amongst them, and which are identified to be a distinguishable category by the
members of the group as well as by others (Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:197). In a heterogeneous
country like South Africa, various different cultures are present in society, which means that people
within a specific sub-culture may take great effort in preventing their identification being submerged
into the mainstream society (Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:198). According to Du Plessis and Rousseau
(2003:115) “cultural influences may be driven by moral and ethical rewards within a culture, to
convey achievement, exhibit status and success, or for the sake of acting socially responsible”. It
should be kept in mind that the targeted women in the Black Diamond consumer group may want to
maintain and reflect the symbols of their culture and traditions, but at the same time may be adapting
to fit into the present day society in South Africa. The questions that arise with regard to this study,
is to what extent the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment are influenced by culture in their
decision-making surrounding fashion products, such as fashion magazines and whether culture plays
a role when they appraise fashion magazine images?
44
According to Holland and Gentry (1999:73) cultural groups are part of a larger mainstream culture,
with which they share some cultural similarities, as well as differences. It therefore happens that the
women in the targeted consumer group of this study probably have to navigate between two cultural
forces in order to conduct the business of life. This is said because in South Africa there are many
different cultures to be dealt with, meaning that the targeted women may choose what is most
important to them from their cultural past, but at the same time maintain and adapt it to meet their
current needs in South Africa today. This is an important consideration in this study, and it is of
interest to understand the importance or unimportance the targeted consumer group place on their
culture, especially when wanting to accommodate them, win their business and gain their approval
with regard to a fashion magazine.
A study issued by Research Surveys (2006) found that the Black Diamonds keep close ties with their
friends and family, and like to spend their weekends with them and keep cultural traditions alive
(Internet: The New Black Middle Class). There is also a strong desire amongst them not to loose
their home language and culture (The New Black Middle Class: 2006). In general, family members
are more important to individuals, because people identify with their family members to a greater
degree. Family-based influences vary across different cultures, and depend on the degree to which
the individual identifies with their relatives (Childers & Rao, 1992:199). It is thus evident that this
particular consumer group considers their families as important, and may therefore be influenced by
them when making a purchasing decision, like buying a fashion magazine or clothing. According to
Childers and Rao (1992:199) attention should be given to this, as these people can influence loyalties
and brand preferences, media reliance, price sensitivity and information search. People that may give
confirmation to the women in the Black Diamond consumer group can likely be their parents, or
trusted friends and advisers of a similar cultural background. It is therefore of interest in this study to
explore the importance the targeted women place on other people within their culture or sub-cultural
group, as these people may ultimately affect their decision-making regarding fashion magazines and
their appraisals of fashion images.
Furthermore, it is said that within fashion, there are many different types of identities. These can
include personal; brand; fashion; social; cultural; national or international identities. According to
Kopnina (2007:378) fashion can be used to create an identity. With regard to this study, the concern
that arises is that fashion magazines from an international origin and available in South Africa, may
not necessarily embody ethnic and racial identities that are related to the country‟s readership. The
readers of such fashion magazines are often culturally Western-focused, but this does not mean that
45
all consumers in South Africa would accept those cultural standards, especially taking into account
that the majority of people in South Africa fit into a less Westernised society, which probably
include the Mzansi Youth sub-segment within the Black Diamond consumer group. Furthermore
fashion, interpretation and contextual analysis can be analysed in many different ways. Culture and
fashion are very closely related, and a major contribution to research within the fashion field is the
discipline‟s attention to changes within culture and fashion that occur over a period of time
(Kopnina, 2007:364). According to Kopnina (2007:366) innovations within the fashion field are
related to sociological and cultural developments. Identity-bound representations of lifestyle, related
to fashion are used in the form of symbols, meanings and values that are communicated by the use of
visual media such as fashion shows, design, and especially fashion magazines. Simplified
conclusions about cultural stereotypes should therefore be avoided when discussing countries like
South Africa and sub-cultural groups in the country such as the Black Diamonds. This is said as
previous research on different ethnic or cultural groups has shown that expressions of femininity
vary substantially across cultures (Kopnina, 2007:365). This means that the women in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment probably have different views or perceptions on what they perceive as being
femininely beautiful, in comparison to other cultures or sub-cultural groups in South Africa. If
magazine marketers could identify their perceptions about the feminine ideal of beauty, the targeted
group could be targeted more effectively when incorporating fashion images in fashion magazines.
From the above discussion, it is apparent that culture or sub-cultural membership may play a role in
the Mzansi-Youths‟ evaluations of fashion magazines and appraisals of fashion magazine images. It
now becomes necessary to further consider the role that culture may play with regard to the targeted
women‟s ideal of beauty, and how culture may influence their aesthetic experience related to fashion
images used in fashion magazine advertisements.
3.3. THE ROLE OF CULTURE IN A PERSONAL BEAUTY IDEAL AND AESTHETIC
EXPERIENCE
Adomaitis and Jonhson (2007:182) state that a fashion magazine‟s design, the products featured in
advertisements, as well as the models used, should appeal to, and influence their targeted readers.
This means that when a fashion magazine wants to target the women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment, the magazine should probably incorporate products and models that are in line with their
preferences and culture. Research conducted on African American women overseas found great
frustration and dissatisfaction among them regarding the number of affirming images used of black
46
women in mainstream media (Rubin et al., 2003:63). This could also be true with regard to the use
of images of black women in fashion magazines advertisements and images in South Africa, and this
study will therefore attempt to address the problem in that regard. Furthermore, previous research
has found that consumers of an African background respond in a more positive manner towards
advertisements that feature black models, than images using white models (Frisby, 2004:324). This
aspect is of interest in this study, and can be an important factor to consider when wanting to appeal
to the women in the Black Diamonds consumer group, as they may react more positively to
advertisements featuring black models instead of white models. In this study it is therefore necessary
to consider cultural beauty ideals, and how the targeted women of this study perceive and appraise
various cultural beauty ideals portrayed by fashion images typically featured in fashion magazines. It
may also be necessary to determine what the personal beauty ideal of the women in the Mzansi
Youth embodies, because when cultural beauty ideals are correctly portrayed in fashion images
aimed at the targeted group of this study, they could prove to be more effective. Many fashion
magazines that are currently available in South Africa often portray a more Westernised beauty ideal
in fashion images used in advertisements, and in this study it is of interest whether the targeted
women appraise fashion images more positively when the beauty ideal is more parallel with their
personal beauty ideal or cultural beauty ideal, such as an African beauty ideal or an Euro-African
beauty ideal.
Most people within their culture strive to achieve a specific ideal of beauty that is currently popular
or accepted in their culture (Englis et al., 1994:50). According to Englis et al. (1994:50) a beauty
ideal can be defined as an appearance that includes not only physical features, but also various other
products, services and activities. These can include the clothes a person wears and the type of
magazine they read. It is suggested that consumers of different ethnic backgrounds have varying
beliefs about what is defined as “beautiful” in each of their cultures. This implies that what is
perceived as beautiful in one culture, may not necessarily be perceived as beautiful in another
culture. The notion of “What is beautiful” can be described as a culturally constituted phenomenon
that happens because of common socialisation experiences amongst people of a certain culture or
ethnicity (Englis et al., 1994:50). A cultural standard or ideal can only be achieved when people
compare themselves to this. This is known as social comparison, and consumers continually engage
in the process of assessing their own aesthetic values, as well as those of others (Johnson, 2008:183).
The attainment of cultural beauty ideals can result in an increase in self-esteem and embodiment of a
strong social identity, whereas a low self-esteem is associated with where these ideals are not met.
This can lead to people having to engage in strategies to cope with reaching the ideal (Johnson,
47
2008:183). The targeted women of this study may therefore use fashion magazines as a “generalised
other” for social comparison. This is said as images in fashion magazine advertisements can bring
about social comparison in which the targeted consumers might engage in when evaluating an
advertisement.
Body image, age, gender, personality and body features are other factors that can influence aesthetic
preferences of the young women in the Black Diamonds consumer group (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:91).
The factors represent differences within consumers and between cultures, and these characteristics
are often helpful when included in marketing profiles of consumers. A market profile contains
information about characteristics of consumers serving as a target market for a certain product such
as a fashion magazine. These aspects can then be used to advertise or sell a product offering through
aesthetic value by the use of a promotional environment, like advertising space in a fashion
magazine (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:91). If such a profile could be formulated with regard to the targeted
women of this study, it could be very helpful when positioning products (such as fashion magazines)
to meet their preferences and needs. From the discussion, it is apparent that beauty ideals play a
major part in the field of aesthetics, and become models against which women of different cultures
judge, discipline and measure their bodies (Rubin et al., 2003:51). It is therefore apparent that a
fashion magazine may serve as a “generalised other” to which the women in the Mzansi Youth may
compare themselves when evaluating an image or beauty ideal portrayed in a fashion photograph.
Furthermore, body image and body features should also be considered when discussing cultural
beauty ideals. This is said as previous research has revealed ethnic differences in self-concept (which
includes body image) and perceived attractiveness of women, and that women of different cultural
backgrounds defines beauty in different ways (Frisby, 2004:324). Body image can be defined as “the
mental perception of one‟s body, and may influence the general desire for aesthetic products” (Fiore
& Kimle, 1997:92). The way in which consumers perceive their bodies play a role in the way they
attempt to attain beauty and demand products like clothing to enhance their body image (Fiore &
Kimle, 1997:92). Cultural representation is said to play a vital role in the formation of aesthetic
values, meaning that they potentially have the ability to impact on consumers‟ perception of their
own beauty and attractiveness (Rubin et al., 2003:68). According to Rubin et al. (2003:52) there are
culturally based differences in aesthetic body ideals, and that Westernised aesthetic body ideals seem
to be especially oppressive to women of colour. This should be taken into account when targeting
the women in the Black Diamond consumer group in South Africa, as they probably share a similar
view. International research shows that there are important differences in body concepts and ideals
48
of beauty among white consumers and their black counterparts (Rubin et al., 2003:52), meaning that
the way in which women view their bodies, may vary across cultures and sub-cultural groups, not
only internationally, but in South Africa as well. It is therefore important to explore these differences
in perceptions, as the women in the Mzansi Youth probably have varying beliefs about what they
perceive or define as beautiful, in comparison to other sub-cultural groups in South Africa.
With regard to body, it can further be classified into two categories. Firstly, it can be seen as a
product, which embodies ethnic, gender and racial identities, and is a visual performance of beauty.
On the other hand, the body as a process means that it is a way of knowing and marking the universe
and the self (Kopnina, 2007:365). Body size, features and shape of the women of colour in South
Africa probably differ greatly to mainstream representations of female beauty from the Western
world. Rubin et al., (2003:52) found that cultural identity or sub-cultural (social) membership often
plays a vital role in specific strategies that women use to represent the self through the body, and can
be a means used by young female Black Diamond‟s to communicate this. This is said, as there seems
to be a link between culture, body aesthetics and self-representation (Rubin et al., 2003:52).
However, it is not only the body image of the women in the Black Diamond consumer group that
may influence their cultural beauty ideals. Factors such as age, body features, gender, education and
personality can also have an impact (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:91). These aspects can be referred to as
beauty standards, which form part of a consumers‟ beauty ideal. It could therefore be important to
determine which beauty standards (such as body, dress or style, hairstyle, skin colour and
accessories) are important and most important to the targeted consumers of this study with regard to
their ideal of beauty. This could help to create a better understanding of what their specific beauty
ideal looks like, and to determine whether personal beauty standards or sub-cultural beauty standards
are more important to the Mzansi Youth women with regard to their beauty ideal. Furthermore, by
understanding the relationship between culture, self and body of the targeted consumer group,
magazine marketers can better reach and communicate with the Black Diamond consumer group. It
is important to take note that not only body image plays a role in cultural beauty ideals, aesthetic
experiences may also play a major part in that regard and should also be considered. The role of
culture and aesthetics in fashion magazine advertisements will now be explored.
49
3.4. ROLE OF AESTHETICS AND CULTURE IN FASHION MAGAZINE
ADVERTISEMENTS
3.4.1 The role of aesthetics in fashion magazine advertisements and images
Fiore and Kimle (1997) noted that the “Zeitgeist”, also known as the spirit of the times, is the
primary ideology or beliefs within a culture that deals with their aesthetic decision of a product, for
instance to like or dislike a product. This shapes an individual‟s thoughts, feelings and beliefs, which
in turn affect the development, selection and promotion of expressive and symbolic qualities of a
product (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:81). A positive aesthetic response of a consumer often results from a
similarity between the formal qualities of the aesthetic object and the organisational principles of the
culture (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:81). This means that the targeted women in the Black Diamond
consumer group may have a positive response to a fashion product advertised in a fashion magazine,
if the fashion advertisement or image is parallel to their aesthetic preferences. According to Fiore
and Kimle (1997:83) consumers‟ aesthetic preference is defined by their culture‟s definition of
aesthetic experience, and socio-cultural factors often lead to differences in consumer behaviour. This
aspect is very important to consider in this study, because aesthetic preferences may evidently differ
across cultures, and the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment probably have unique aesthetic
preferences that appeal to them, causing them to make decisions differently as opposed to other
consumers.
All products, including fashion magazines, are often bought primarily for a pleasurable experience
(Fiore & Kimle, 1997:3). In general, products are material goods that consist of physical features
that can be experienced repeatedly during appreciation (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:9). Aesthetic aspects
are often related to the perceived quality of a product, especially in the case of apparel. It may
therefore be anticipated that aesthetic aspects may also be an important consideration for consumers
when purchasing other fashion products, such as a fashion magazine. Magazine marketers should
understand aesthetic aspects in order to ensure their consumers‟ satisfaction and in turn, the
profitability of a fashion product such as a fashion magazine brand, and it is therefore an important
consideration in this study.
According to Fiore and Kimle (1997:4) aesthetic experience relates to the selection of symbolic,
formal and expressive qualities of a product that result in satisfaction on the consumer‟s part. Formal
qualities refer to the perceived features of the structural composition of a product or object, such as
50
colour, texture, shape and proportion, and have the ability to evoke emotion on the consumer‟s part.
Formal qualities of products may provide pleasure to the senses and can often enhance beauty, and
are often evident in the form of emotions that are evoked by the creator in the consumer, and are
learned responses (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:6). Symbolic qualities on the other hand, originate from
content or meaning, and communicate an idea about the world (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:9). As
discussed earlier, the Black Diamonds reside within a certain socio-cultural context. They can
therefore not be separated from this context for analysis of their aesthetic preferences. Instead, these
factors should help to create an understanding about their preferences (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83).
Differentiating factors in socio-cultural factors are important to consider in this study, because it
often leads to variations in aesthetic preferences and consumer behaviour across cultures (Fiore &
Kimle, 1997:83). These variations are said to be related to the culture‟s definition of aesthetic
experience, meaning that the Black Diamond‟s probably define their aesthetic experience differently
than consumers in other cultures. Research has shown that culture has a great effect on the
importance ratings of expressive, formal and symbolic aspects of a product in aesthetic evaluation
(Fiore & Kimle, 1997:85). This means that consumers across different cultures and sub-cultures may
view some of these aspects as being more important than others. In this study it is critical to
understand the importance given to these aspects by the women in the Black Diamond consumer
group, especially when wanting to appeal to them in an effective manner. The idea is that symbolic,
expressive and formal qualities of a fashion product should satisfy the consumer on an emotional,
sensory and cognitive level (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83).
3.4.2 The role of culture in fashion magazine advertisements and images
Research conducted in the past, revealed that women experience enormous dissatisfaction when
faced with fashion images in fashion magazines (Crane, 1999:541). The reason for this is that
unrealistic expectations are being created, and most women are not able to live up to.
Advertisements can create loads of idealised images, some relating to idealised images of the culture
of consumers (Crane, 1999:541). It can be anticipated that cultural and sub-cultural aspects
portrayed in fashion magazine advertisements may have an impact on the women in the Black
Diamonds group when evaluating fashion images. In this study, it is of interest how the targeted
consumers make comparisons with images in fashion magazines, based on culture.
51
Fashion magazine advertisements are said to have great impact, especially on younger readers
(Johnson, 2008:182). This is of interest in this study, as the consumer group being targeted, consists
only of young adult black women in the Mzanzi Youth sub- segment, between the ages of 18 and 24
years, and fashion magazines can serve as a “generalised other” for social comparison. This means
that when fashion magazine images are appraised, the target audience might make either positive or
negative social comparisons based on the content of a fashion magazine advertisement and
accompanying fashion image (Johnson, 2008:182). This could lead to the consumers‟ feeling either
competent or incompetent. This in turn, could lead to an increase or decrease in the targeted
women‟s self-esteem, depending on the outcome of such comparisons. If magazine marketers could
incorporate images in fashion magazine advertisements that will initiate positive experiences,
surrounding social comparison, and provide a platform for the targeted readers to relate to the
images in a more positive way, the desired intention of such an advertisement could be reached.
Crane (1999:560) found that women view the fashion press in a critical manner, which in turn has
the ability to shape the perceptions of women. These perceptions are shaped mostly by images used
in fashion magazine advertisements (Crane, 1999:560). Advertisements in general, not only those in
fashion magazines, fill their images with symbols that communicate the values of the products being
advertised to the target audience. This aspect is especially important when wanting to communicate
cultural values to consumers, such as the Black Diamonds. Cultural values can be communicated by
means of signals of identity, which can include skin colour, hairstyles, cultural artefacts and ethnic
dress (Craig, 1991:35). All of these aspects can play a role when the targeted consumers appraise an
advertisement or fashion image in a fashion magazine. These signals of identity could also serve as
beauty standards in the targeted women‟s beauty ideal. In this study it is of interest to explore and
describe the importance of these beauty standards in their beauty ideal, which could help to create a
better understanding regarding what the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟ beauty ideal
look like.
Earlier in this chapter, it became clear that sub-cultural beauty ideals, such as how they look and
what they stand for, might play a role in the decision-making of the Black Diamonds surrounding
fashion images in advertisements. With regard to advertising it is believed that beauty ideals often
have greater influence when paired with certain products (Solomon et al., 1992:23). Products such as
clothing, advertised in fashion magazines, may be one of them. It is apparent that various definitions
of beauty exist across cultures, and these perceptions of beauty, develop from popular culture and
the mass media. It is of interest to understand how these beauty standards come to be represented in
52
the mass media. Due to the fact that fashion magazines form part of the mass media, it can be
assumed that fashion and beauty editors of these magazines may represent their views of beauty
through the magazines (Solomon, Ashmore & Longo, 1992:24). Fashion and beauty editors can be
seen as gatekeepers of media, and the aesthetic decisions made by these people in the industry, often
come to define ideals of beauty in the fashion magazines. These include the beliefs of these people
surrounding what beauty types they think will appeal to the intended consumers (Englis et al.,
1994:51). This can result in stereotyping of ethnical representations of beauty, as gatekeepers may be
ill equipped to make such judgments. To avoid stereotyping in advertising communications, the
target audience should be well researched, from an objective point of view. This can lead to issues
surrounding ethnicity and culture, to be conveyed in a more appropriate and effective manner when
incorporated in an advertisement, which is key in this study.
Advertisements in fashion magazines can often reflect and shape the reader‟s culture, and it is
believed that advertisements for fashion products may only hit home with a certain audience if it is
communicated that there are actual needs and values that they can satisfy (Kopnina, 2007:369). This
means that advertisements featured in fashion magazines may not motivate further action if the
advertisement is not relevant to the targeted readers‟ existing sub-cultural background or beliefs.
These aspects should probably be incorporated in advertisements when wanting to communicate
effectively to a specific market segment, especially where culture is considered as an important
factor to the target audience, as seems to be the case with the Black Diamonds.
3.5. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE STUDY
From the above discussion it is apparent that sub-cultural standards, body image, self-esteem,
personal or sub-cultural beauty standards, as well as aesthetics can play a major role in the Black
Diamond‟s evaluation and decision-making process surrounding fashion products and fashion
magazine images. Socio-cultural differences include sub-cultural standards, which is said to have a
great affect on aesthetic preferences of consumers (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83). By tailoring marketing
strategies to the preferences of the women in the targeted consumer group, fashion products aimed at
them would avoid missing the mark. All the more products should be designed and promoted to
meet the needs of specific sub-cultural groups or markets around the globe (Fiore & Kimle,
1997:90). By replicating this in South Africa, especially regarding fashion magazines and fashion
products aimed at the Black Diamonds, and specifically the Mzansi Youth sub-segment, the demand
for such efforts may be met with great success.
53
It has become clear that it is important to tailor marketing strategies to the norms and preferences of
the specific culture in which the targeted consumers exist. This leads to the implication that an
“emic” point of view can be followed when researching the women in the Black Diamond consumer
group. An “emic” perspective can be described as the belief that each individual culture is unique
and standardization should be avoided when dealing with them (Kopnina, 2007:364). This means
that people in different cultures may not necessarily appreciate a similar universal message.
Marketers should rather adapt their approaches to be consistent to the local values and practices of
the culture being dealt with in this study. By focusing on an “emic” perspective, cultural stereotypes
and superficial knowledge can be eliminated (Kopnina, 2007:364).
Unfortunately very little is known about the Black Diamonds, and specifically the Mzansi Youth
women‟s perceptions of a beauty ideal, and the importance of personal and sub-cultural beauty
standards in their beauty ideal. Very little is also known about how they appraise various beauty
ideals and how they would like to compare themselves with the beauty ideals. In order to address the
problem, a cultural perspective, the theory on identity (personal and social identity), and social
comparison was chosen as point of departure for this study.
54
CHAPTER 4
THEORETICAL PERSPECTIVE
4.1 INTRODUCTION
From the previous chapters it became clear that fashion can play an important role in people‟s every
day life and that fashion magazines which are in line with the specific targeted group‟s identity and
the way that they perceive themselves, as well as with their aesthetic beauty ideal, can play an
important role in the targeted group‟s decision-making. Fashion can serve as an important
“generalised other” against whom the consumer can compare herself in order to strengthen a specific
identity and to enhance personal self-esteem. However, people differ with regard to whom and what
they would compare themselves with, as well as with regard to their beauty standards and a specific
beauty ideal. It also became clear that culture plays a major role in people‟s beauty standards and
beauty ideals and that beauty is therefore indeed in the eye of the beholder.
People also differ with regard to how they perceive their own identity and the identity that they
would like to portray to others, and that they can relate to. For a fashion magazine to serve as an
extended self of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment, it is therefore necessary to portray the
identity that this group can relate to, and that can serve as an “other” that they can compare
themselves with. Unfortunately very little is known about the identity that the women in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment would like to portray, with whom they would like to compare themselves, and
the beauty ideal and standards that they prefer.
In order to address the problem, a cultural perspective and the theory of identity, social identity and
social comparison have been chosen as theoretical perspectives or points of departure for this study.
4.2. CULTURAL PERSPECTIVE
Against the viewpoints of the cultural perspective, people in different cultural groups make changes
in their appearances in one way or another, meaning that the codes and symbolic systems used by
individuals in sub-cultural groups, such as the Black Diamonds, vary in terms of the way they
decipher and interpret clothing (Kaiser, 1990:48). People who share the same culture are said to be
55
likely to come in contact with similar networks of tangible products, such as clothing. The ways in
which the clothes are bought, sold and worn contribute to the development of meaning that is
associated with cultural products (Kaiser, 1990:48). To understand this better, one needs to consider
the five basic assumptions of the cultural perspective.
There are five basic assumptions of the cultural perspective. These include that collective values are
produced and reproduced through cultural forms, meaning that specific appearances can represent
shared values within a specific culture such as the Black Diamonds (Kaiser, 1990:49). Secondly,
cultural values and beliefs are perpetuated when they are represented on a relatively unconscious
level. This means that cultural groups can use clothing and appearance objects, to characterise their
specific culture (Kaiser, 1990:51). Thirdly, individuals have the ability to transform their own
realities by manipulating objects in their cultural worlds, by using clothes and other tools, such as
accessories, provided by culture, to manage their appearance (Kaiser, 1990:51). The fourth
assumption of the cultural perspective is that culture provides abstract images of social life. This can
be done through media images, and often provides ideas for personal appearance management for
people within a specific culture, such as the Black Diamonds (Kaiser, 1990:53). Lastly, people use
codes to interpret meanings provided by cultural interpretations of social life. Clothing imagery is
one way through which meanings are coded and from which shared understandings emerge within a
specific culture. Codes provide cultural guidelines of thinking that enable individuals within a
culture to interpret appearance messages in a similar way (Kaiser, 1990:54). This last assumption is
of great interest in this study, as it deals with clothing imagery, and cultural factors may therefore
influence the way in which the targeted women in the Black Diamond consumer group appraise
fashion magazine images. The question that now arises is to what extent cultural factors influence
the targeted women‟s‟ evaluations and appraisals of fashion magazine images?
With the assumptions of the cultural perspective in mind and with the focus on fashion, appearance
is therefore evaluated and compared by the targeted consumers on the basis of either cultural factors
or personal factors (Lennon, Rudd, Sloan & Kim, 1999:191). People typically create an appearance
by means of clothing to decorate, shape and adorn their bodies to be presented to others. Personal
factors often affect how people evaluate and compare their own and other‟s appearance, which are
mostly influenced by individual levels of self-esteem and attitudes towards factors such as body
image (Lennon et al., 1999:191). Cultural factors on the other hand, affect the way people evaluate
their own appearances as well as those of others. It has become clear from the previous chapter that
beliefs surrounding cultural factors regarding fashion and beauty may differ among people in
56
different societies and countries, and to understand this better, it is necessary to consider the notions
of the social comparison theory. This is said as people across cultures have the need to compare
themselves to others, and the social comparison theory has previously been applied to the
evaluations of appearance (Lennon et al., 1999:191).
4.3. SOCIAL COMPARISON
Social comparisons of the women in the Black Diamond consumer group may lead to certain
consequences on their self-evaluation and self-perception, which is crucial to understand when
conducting research on them regarding fashion magazines and fashion images used in fashion
magazine advertisements (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:10). It has been argued that social comparison is
a primary feature in human social life, and cannot be ignored when researching the women in the
targeted consumer group of this study. Comparisons to others are said to play an important role in
constructing and evaluating social reality, and the central quest behind the notion is self-knowledge
(Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:3). This can be obtained on the part of the Black Diamond‟s, not only by
the use of objective information, but also by comparing themselves to others, such as fashion models
in fashion magazines. Social comparison is a phenomenon that generally all people take part in on a
frequent basis. Social comparison processes can full-fill important functions. To the targeted
consumers, these may include providing a platform for obtaining useful information regarding where
they stand in their social world, to learn how they can adapt to challenging situations, and feeling
better about themselves (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:16). Social comparisons of the women in the
Black Diamond consumer group may lead to certain consequences on their self-esteem, which is
crucial to understand when conducting research on them regarding fashion magazines and fashion
images used in fashion magazine advertisements.
Social comparison originated from the belief that people have the need for self-evaluation in order
for them to know how and where they stand in relation to some standard. Festinger (1954) believed
that people were more likely to compare themselves to people that are similar to themselves, because
it would provide more meaningful information (Lennon et al., 1999:192). Some other writers on the
other hand, suggested that this might not always be true, and people may at times engage in
comparisons with others who are not part of their group (Richins, 1991:72). This is an interesting
revelation in the study, especially because fashion images will be considered in this study, and
fashion models used in clothing advertisements or fashion images may not necessarily belong to the
same group that the targeted consumers belong to. It is said that advertising affects consumers
57
because, in some way, they compare themselves with the idealised images and lifestyles portrayed in
the advertisements (Richins, 1991:72). It is of interest in this study to explore whether the Black
Diamond‟s women engage in comparing themselves to fashion models portrayed in fashion
magazines, even if the culture portrayed is more Western-oriented.
In social comparison literature, a distinction is made between upward social comparison and
downward social comparison. Upward social comparison is the phenomenon where people show an
upward drive in their comparisons to others that are better off than themselves, resulting in people
learning from such others (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:5). To some people, upward social comparison
may become threatening, even though it may be informative to them. For this reason, upward social
comparisons may be avoided when feeling threatened. In such cases, people often engage in
downward social comparison. Downward social comparison refers to where people compare them
with others who are viewed as being worse off than themselves (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:6). This is
especially common where people have a decline in well-being, and in an attempt to improve this,
compare themselves to others thought to be worse off (Buunk & Gibbons, 2007:6). It is anticipated
that the women in the Black Diamond‟s consumer group would probably engage in more upward
social comparison, but research on them may show otherwise. It is therefore important to understand
their patterns of social comparisons when wanting to target them effectively via a fashion magazine.
Another important factor to consider in this study regarding social comparison, is that of upward
social comparison of the targeted consumers within the same social group. This can result in two
differentiating effects. Upward in-group comparisons often make comparison more threatening and
meaningful, leading to the rejection of shared categorisation, meaning that the targeted women may
not want to be associated with a specific group (Schmitt, Branscombe, Silvia, Garcia & Spears,
2006:297). In contrast, upward in-group comparisons can result in acceptance of shared
categorisation, meaning that the targeted women may want to belong to a specific group. This is due
to a high-performing in-group member that enhances the collective in-group identity (Schmitt et al.,
2006:297). This is known as the social identity theory, which will be dealt with later in the study.
The effect this may have on the Black Diamonds is that the group they belong to may be important
to their „self‟, and the targeted women may compare their „self‟ to others, but they may also compare
the group they belong to, to other groups. This means that they may engage in comparison of the
individual self, as well as comparison of the group they belong to. The significance of this will
become clearer after conducting research on the targeted consumers regarding these aspects. It
would be useful to determine whether the targeted women view the group (such as the Black
58
Diamonds) that they belong to as important, and whether they find it important to conform to
standards and characteristics of the group.
4.3.1 Social groups
In general, people compare themselves to other people that are similar to them. Here the social or
cultural ideal may become an important consideration when wanting to understand how the women
in the Black Diamond consumer group compare themselves to others. All around the globe, society
is divided into groups. These groups are often formed by factors such as reference group affiliations,
age, class, ethnicity or culture, education and urban-rural orientation (Lennon et al., 1999:194). This
means that different groups may have different views of beauty ideals. A social group can be defined
as individuals who share a similar social identification or see themselves as part of the same social
category (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). Through the process of social comparison, individuals who are
similar to the self are categorised as the in-group. People who differ from the self are labelled as the
out-group. (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). With regard to this study, the women in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segment may therefore view their group as the in-group against whose standards they would like
to compare themselves with, while viewing the Western- focused standards, currently portrayed in
fashion magazines as the out-group.
Some authors have however found that some people may at times compare themselves with
members of groups to which they do not belong (Richins, 1991:72). Some of these groups or people
with whom the Black Diamonds may compare themselves may belong to other social categories.
These include people who share similar social status, but with whom there are no social interactions
(Richins, 1991:72), such as fashion models from a similar social category as the Black Diamonds
who feature in fashion magazines read by the women in the consumer group. The targeted women
may therefore compare themselves to fashion models in fashion magazines if and when they
perceive them as being in a similar social category as them, but not necessarily in the same social
group. Consequences of the social comparison process are seen in the form of self-enhancing
outcomes for the self, especially self-esteem (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). The self-esteem can be
enhanced when comparisons of the Black Diamonds occur positively regarding their in-group, as
opposed to their relative out-groups. It is therefore important to understand their views on social
group aspects regarding comparison when targeting them.
59
The question now arises as to whom the Black Diamonds would strive to be like, particularly their
cultural and social ideals, regarding appearance. With regard to fashion the questions that arise are,
what does the fashion and cultural beauty ideal of the women in the Black Diamond consumer group
look like, and what aspects do they compare when they engage in comparison? They may focus on
comparing skin colour, body shape, cultural artefacts such as accessories, hairstyles and dress or
style. Furthermore, it is of particular interest in the study to ascertain which people the targeted
consumers tend to compare themselves to. From the literature it seems that they may compare
themselves to people within their own culture, or sub-culture, but it may come to the fore that they
would rather compare themselves to others, maybe to people that are more Western-focused, but of a
similar social category.
4.3.2 Social comparison and culture
Previous research has shown that people create a personal appearance by means of what is
considered as culturally favourable, and it is therefore important to consider the influence of culture
on social comparison (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:3). Cultural values are commonly manifested in its
media. One such source may be fashion magazines read by the targeted consumers. It has been found
that women often internalise media images, such as images seen in fashion magazine advertisements
and often feel pressured to conform to the goals set by these images (Reily & Rudd, 2009:3). Very
few women of an African heritage have the ideal body type, as viewed by the Westernised society
and that are portrayed by most fashion models in fashion magazines. This raises the question of
whether the women in the Black Diamonds consumer group compare themselves more with people
of their own culture, or whether they engage in comparison with people of other cultures as well,
such as Western-focused fashion models in fashion magazines. It has been found that in many
situations, it is vital to conform to the socially or culturally acceptable ideal standard of beauty, when
wanting to be successful (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:4). In many cases, the cultural ideal of beauty
influences an individual to create a personal aesthetic ideal or appearance that is similar to other
people in his or her culture (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:2). This is achieved through the process of social
comparison. Evaluation is then done on the basis of comparing the personal aesthetic appearance to
the cultural beauty ideal of the person (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:2). In this study, it is of interest to
explore and describe whether the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment engage in comparison
with fashion models in fashion magazines that are part of their “in-group” or sub-culture only, or
whether they engage in social comparison even when fashion models portrayed in fashion images
are viewed as being in the “out-group” or of a different culture or sub-culture. It is further of interest
60
whether the targeted women prefer comparing themselves to the cultural beauty ideal most closely
related to their own personal ideal of beauty, or whether they compare themselves to other beauty
ideals portrayed in fashion photographs in fashion magazines as well.
As previously stated, people engage in social comparison to assess their aesthetic value as well as
those of others on a continual basis (Adomaitis & Johnson, 2008:183). When individuals compare
themselves to the cultural standard, and come close to reaching the ideal, self-esteem levels can
increase, whereas people who are far from achieving the ideal may choose a coping strategy, or
experience a decline in self-esteem levels (Adomaitis & Johnson, 2008:183). When the targeted
consumers engage in social comparison and it is experienced as negative, they may use one of four
coping strategies. These may include accepting the cultural standard and try harder to reach it, accept
the cultural standard and quit trying to attain it, or modify one‟s personal standard of appearance, or
modify the cultural standard by working toward more inclusive standard of appearance in one‟s local
community (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:2). When evaluations are negative to the targeted consumers, and
they feel the need to use coping strategies to come more closely to the cultural aesthetic ideal,
success of the coping strategy can either harm or enhance both the social and personal identity of the
individual. These aspects will be considered in the following section.
4.4. IDENTITY
In South Africa, social, economic, political and legal disparities still exist among cultures due to the
former apartheid state. Presently a wide range of identities, which are based on cultural, racial and
language lines still exist among the different societies in the country. These identities may be
assumed to be associated with varying actions, attitudes and social values among the different
cultures (Heaven, Simbayi, Stones & Le Roux, 2000:67). It is therefore important to understand the
identities of the women in the Black Diamonds consumer group, and more specifically the concept
of identity. According to Stryker and Burke‟s (2000:286) identity theory, people possess as many
selves as the groups of people with which they interact. This means that the women in the Black
Diamonds consumer group may have as many identities as distinct networks of relationships where
they play roles and have specific positions. Identities are thus internalised role expectations (Stryker
& Burke, 2000:286).
In this study, a clearer understanding of the way the identities of the Black Diamonds influence
behaviour relating to fashion products that express their identities is required. Identity can be used in
61
a variety of ways. Firstly, Stryker and Burke (2000:284) noted that identity essentially refers to the
culture of people. In some cases people use identity when referring to a common identification with
a collective social category, or lastly, it can be referred to as parts of the self of people that are
composed of the meanings people connect to various roles they often play in differentiated
contemporary societies. In this study, all these are of interest when researching the targeted
consumer group with regard to fashion magazines and advertisements, as the self of the consumers
as well as their culture and the social categories in which the women reside are of interest and may
influence their decision-making regarding the fashion magazines they read and clothing
advertisements they would take notice of.
Theorists refer to identities as cognitive schemas, meaning that they are internally stored information
and meanings, which serves as frameworks for the interpretation of experiences (Stryker & Burke,
2000:286). This is very important in this study, as identities provide a cognitive means for defining
situations, which increase sensitivity and receptivity to particular cues for behaviour, like purchasing
a certain fashion magazine or clothing preferences (Stryker & Burke, 2000:286). This is an
important aspect, because in this study, the ultimate goal is to understand the decision-making and
behaviour of the women in the targeted consumer group surrounding fashion, and fashion
magazines.
It is said that an identity is formed by means of self-categorisation or self-identification (Stets &
Burke, 2000:224). These can be viewed as being two underlying cognitive processes. Selfcategorisation is a process that is part of the social identity theory (Stets & Burke, 2000:224). This
theory, as well as personal identity will be considered next.
4.4.1 THE SOCIAL IDENTITY AND PERSONAL INDENTITY THEORY
4.4.1.1 Social Identity Theory
According to Stets and Burke (2000:224) the concept of identity can be described in terms of social
identity theory and identity theory, where the self is reflected in that it can take itself as an object
where it can be categorised, classified and be named in certain ways with regard to other social
categories or classifications. In the social identity theory, this process refers to self-categorisation,
whereas in the identity theory it is named identification (Stets & Burke, 2000:224) It is known that
there are two prominent processes involved in social identity, namely self-categorisation and social
62
comparison, which is of great interest to explore in this study with regard to the targeted consumers
of this study.
The social identity theory deals with inter-group relations, group processes and the social self of
individuals (Hogg, Terry & White, 1995:259). The central idea surrounding this theory, involves the
idea that a social category, such as the Black Diamonds, provides a definition of who an individual
is, with regard to defining characteristics of the category, and self-definition that are part of the selfconcept (Hogg et al., 1995:259). According to Tajfel (1981) the social identity theory states that
people integrate membership of social groups as the social component of their self-concept. This
means that the self is partially defined by membership of social groups. Furthermore, social identity
explains the reasons why people who are separated into groups, such as the Black Diamonds in
South Africa, usually evaluate members who are in their group as better than people that are not part
of their group (Lennon et al., 1999:192). According to the theory the reason for this is because
people want to maintain a positive self-image, and social identity is closely associated with selfesteem (Brewer, 1991:476). In this study, it is of interest to explore whether the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment embody a strong social identity, or whether they lean more towards a
strong personal identity. This could help to understand the sub-segment better, and may prove to be
fruitful for magazine marketers if understood properly, as their stance on identity could be portrayed
more successfully in fashion images used in fashion magazines aimed at them.
According to Stets and Burke (2000:225) social identity can be defined as a person‟s knowledge that
one belongs to a certain social category or group. Social identity is said to develop from group
memberships on the basis of similar attributes, such as culture (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). In this
study, sub-culture will be the primary factor taken into consideration when referring to the social
identity of the women in the Black Diamonds consumer group. According to Brewer (1991:476)
social roles play a major part in creating a social identity, and the theory involves the extension of
the self, beyond the level of the individual, and involves the categorisation of the self into more
inclusive social units. This means that social identity has a more “we” approach, rather than the “I”
(Brewer, 1991:476). In this study, it is of interest if the women in the targeted group considers group
membership, such as being part of the Black Diamonds, as more important than being
individualistic, and whether they would want to maintain and reflect characteristics and norms that
are synonymous with the group.
63
With regard to the social-cognitive perspective of this study, it is important to take the underlying
socio-cognitive processes of the social identity theory into account. These processes are referred to
as categorisation and self-enhancement. Firstly, categorisation refers to the sharpening of in-group
boundaries. Producing distinctive group actions, stereotypes and perceptions achieves this. People,
as well as their „self‟ are then assigned to the relevant category (Hogg et al., 1995:260). Secondly,
self-enhancement deals with the social categorisation process, where in-group stereotypes and
norms, favours the specific in-group. This means that people in the in-group, view themselves in a
more favourable way than they view people in the out-group, and comparisons are made in a way
that would positively affect the in-group (Hogg et al., 1995:260). In this study, this might mean, that
the women in the Black Diamond consumer group likely view people who are part of their in-group
in a more positive light, and may make comparisons with out-group members in a way that would
not affect them negatively. These cognitive processes are vital to understand with regard to their
engagement in comparison with models in fashion advertisements, as well as their ultimate response
to such advertisements.
4.4.1.2 Personal Identity Theory
Comparison, as discussed earlier, can occur on a physical level, an internal level and on a social
basis (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). The physical self and the internal self forms part of a person‟s
personal identity. Personal identity, emanates from individual achievements, and differentiates one
individual from another in a given social context based on individual characteristics. It is believed
that all people generally maintain some intermediate degree of similarity between the self and
relevant others, and should be kept in mind when conducting research on the women in the Black
Diamonds consumer group when the goal is to reach them effectively (Brewer, 1991:476). This
means that both personal and social factors can influence a person‟s identity. The degree of
importance or significance of the two factors may become clearer after conducting research on the
targeted consumers.
In contrast to the social identity theory, personal identity theory‟s self-classification involves not the
“group”, but categorise the self as an occupant of a role in society (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). Rolebased identity formation centres on how a person performs a role, and the emphasis is not on
similarity to other groups, but rather on individuality. One can therefore define personal identity as
the categorisation of the self as a unique entity, which is separate from other individuals (Stets &
Burke, 2000:228). If an individual has a strong personal identity, they act upon his or her own
64
personal goals and desires, rather than as a member of a specific group or certain category (Stets &
Burke, 2000:228). This means that the individual person and personal qualities override the
importance of belonging to a specific social group or sub-culture such as the Black Diamonds. Social
identity and personal identity of the women in the Mzansi-Youth sub-segment will therefore be
explored and described in this study, as to determine their stance on identity and how it affects their
evaluation of fashion images, especially the influence their identity have on social comparison. This
is said as social comparison correlates with a strong social identity, and if the targeted consumers
have a stronger personal identity, it may affect the way they compare themselves to others,
especially with regard to fashion models portrayed in fashion magazine images.
4.5. IMPLICATIONS FOR THE STUDY
It has become clear that the social comparison processes are key in the evaluation of the self, as well
as those of others. The visual representation of the self is generally the foundation of selfrepresentation to others, and results in others forming impressions and then receiving feedback from
them. This often leads to enormous amounts of time being spent by people on creating an
appearance (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:2). Cultural beauty ideals portrayed by fashion models in fashion
magazines, may not be relevant to women from non-Western cultures such as the Black Diamonds
here in South Africa. This raises the concern that the targeted consumers may not engage in
comparing their appearance with fashion models used in fashion magazine advertisements if
personal and cultural factors are too differentiated. Evaluation of the self of the Black Diamonds
may occur in cases where differences do exist, but the differences are not too extensive to be
obtained and the self can be manipulated to be similar to those people they compare themselves to. If
this is not the case, they may have to engage in coping strategies mentioned earlier in the literature
study, which may or may not always have a positive effect on their self-esteem.
Social identity theories highlight the importance of collective membership and the significant effects
that group membership can have on behaviour, such as the behaviour of the Black Diamonds
surrounding fashion magazines and their response to fashion magazine advertisements (Ethier &
Deaux, 1994:243). Both personal and social identity can be compared on the basis of appearance,
such as the appearance of fashion models in fashion magazine advertisements (Lennon et al.,
1999:192). In this study it is of interest if the women in the targeted consumer group would engage
in comparison with fashion models in fashion magazines who are more Western-focused, or if they
65
would rather engage in comparison with people who are more similar to them or perceived as being
part of their specific group.
It is widely assumed that the main appearance ideal of any culture, including the Black Diamonds, is
internalised as the aesthetic standard people use to create their appearance, and compare their
appearances to others (Lennon et al., 1999:192). The identity of a sub-culture such as the Black
Diamonds, are characterised by factors such as cultural background, language, social class and
political conflict (Ethier & Deaux, 1994:243). The question arises whether the targeted consumers
possess these identities relating to their social group (the Black Diamonds), and whether they view
the specific role their sub-cultural group play regarding beauty or appearance ideals, as important.
Furthermore, it is of interest if their sub-cultural group symbolises their relative social identity, and
if this is important to them.
It has become apparent that people tend to compare themselves to others, in order for them to create
an understanding of who they are and where they belong in the social environment. In order to
engage in social comparison it is however important that differences between those being compared,
are not too great. In this study it is of interest to know what the beauty ideal of the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment looks like, and to whom the targeted group is prepared to compare
themselves to. If they are not in a position to compare themselves to a specific beauty ideal or image,
they may not give attention to the specific clothing product that is being advertised, or may not buy
the specific fashion magazine.
66
CHAPTER 5
RESEARCH METHODOLOGY
5.1 INTRODUCTION
Against the problem statement, the purpose of this study was to explore and describe the women in
the Mzansi Youth sub-segment in the Black Diamonds‟ social comparison and reflected appraisals
of fashion magazine images, with the aim of making recommendations with regard to their beauty
ideal that could be portrayed in fashion magazines aimed at this targeted group. This has
implications for the choice of a research strategy, sampling and data collection methods and
procedures.
In order to obtain results that are reliable and valid, this chapter gives an exposition of the aspects
employed for the research, namely:
-
A schematic conceptual framework that reflects the literature, important concepts and
objectives
-
The objectives that were formulated for the study
-
The research strategy and style
-
Sampling
-
The choice, description and applications of data-collection methods
-
Operationalisation and data analysis
-
A discussion on the quality of the data
-
A discussion on ethics
5.2. SCHEMATIC CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK
With the purpose of the study and the literature background of the study in mind, the following
schematic conceptual framework (Fig 1.1) will direct the study:
67
2
BLACK DIAMONDS
- Personal Identity
- Social Identity (Sub-Cultural)
4
1
7
FASHION MAGAZINE
IMAGE
In terms of:
APPRAISAL
BEAUTY IDEAL
- Personal beauty
standards
- Sub-Cultural
beauty standards
4
Skin colour
Hairstyle
Body
Style/ Dress
Accessories
5
MZANSI
YOUTH
In terms of
which
aspects
they
compare
SOCIAL COMPARISON
In terms of
Personal/ Social identity
POSITIVE
NEGATIVE
Accept standard, try harder
3
In terms of
AESTHETICS
- Sensory
- Emotional
- Symbolic
Accept standard, quit trying
6
ENHANCE
SELF-ESTEEM
USE OF COPINGSTRATEGIES
Modify personal standard
Modify cultural standard
Positive
Self-Esteem
(FIGURE 1.1: SCHEMATIC CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK)
The conceptual framework highlights the most important concepts of the study and shows how the
various concepts may ultimately be interlinked and how they may influence each other. By having a
framework it helps to ensure that all concepts are considered and included when drawing
conclusions and making recommendations at the end of the study. The framework (Figure 1.1) was
developed with the objectives and the literature background of the study in mind, and it serves as a
means to understand the various factors that contribute to women in the Mzansi Youths‟ social
comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images. To ensure validity of the study, all
the concepts presented in the conceptual framework (Figure 1.1) were specified in a construct
definition. This facilitated the development of indicators (questions and statements) from all the
parts of the definitions (relating to the objectives of the study), as recommended by Neumann
(2000:142-143) and Babbie and Mouton (2001: 122-123).
68
The schematic conceptual framework suggests that the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
have specific personal or sub-cultural beauty standards or ideals (1) in terms of skin colour,
hairstyle, body, dress or style and cultural artifacts, such as accessories (4). This beauty ideal plays
an important role in how they compare themselves to others (5), as well as how they appraise various
fashion images (7), whether they be more African inspired, Western inspired or of an Euro-African
nature. The backbone of what they want to portray or compare with regard to an appearance (4), and
specifically in terms of aesthetic experience (3), is either a strong social identity or a strong personal
identity (2). When the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment appraise a fashion image or
compare themselves against a specific image, they would either compare positively, which will then
enhance their self-esteem, or they would compare negatively, in which case they will have to use
certain coping strategies in order to maintain a positive self-esteem (6). The ideal situation is that the
fashion images should serve as an “other” against which or whom the targeted women could and
would want to compare themselves with, resulting in an interest to purchase the specific clothing
item or the fashion magazine as such.
5.3. OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
The following are the objectives of the study:
Objective 1: To explore and describe the importance of personal and sub-cultural beauty standards
in the beauty ideal of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment in terms of dress, hairstyle, body,
skin colour and accessories
Objective 2: To explore and describe the role of personal and social identity in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segment's preference for specific appearance qualities
Objective 3: To explore and describe the role of aesthetic dimensions (symbolic, emotional and
sensory) of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group‟s
beauty ideal
Objective 4: To explore and describe which aspects of the self, the women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment of the Black Diamond consumer group, compare with the ideal beauty standard in terms of
dress, hairstyle, skin colour, body and cultural artefacts such as accessories
69
Objective 5: To explore and describe the reasons why the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
of the Black Diamond consumer group engage in social comparison, and how it affects their selfesteem (in terms of social identity and personal identity)
Objective 6: To explore and describe the coping strategies the women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment use when comparing themselves to the fashion ideal of beauty
Objective 7: To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth‟s appraisals of Western,
African and Euro-African fashion images as well as their subsequent reactions

Sub-objective 1:
To explore and describe the extent to which the women in the Mzansi Youth like the various
fashion images

Sub-objective 2:
To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟ evaluation of the
various images

Sub-objective 3:
To explore and describe how the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment relate to the
specific images in terms of dress, cultural background and appearance

Sub-objective 4:
To explore and describe the extent to which the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
would compare themselves with the images

Sub-objective 5:
To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment‟s willingness to buy
fashion magazines with the above images

Sub-objective 6:
To explore and describe the women in the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment‟s
intentions to buy similar clothing than in the fashion images
70
5.4. RESEARCH STRATEGY AND STYLE
An exploratory, cross-sectional quantitative research strategy, focusing on a survey research design
was used in the study. Exploratory research is preliminary research conducted to clarify and define a
research opportunity. This results in giving ideas and insights about the way the problem at hand can
be addressed (Cant, Gerber-Nel, Nel & Kotze, 2003:28). The study is cross-sectional because it deals
with the collection of information from the Black Diamond group at a given time, and allow for a
sub-section of the population to be used (Cant et al., 2003:32). In this case it was ideal for this study,
as the primary goal was to gain information about a large population (the Black Diamond group
consists of a large number of people), and the advantage of such a design is that it is simple in nature
(Cant et al., 2003:32). It involves simply stating a few questions to willing participants, summarising
their responses by means of percentages, frequencies, statistical indexes, or counts, and thereafter
drawing conclusions about the section of population gathered from the responses of the sample
(Leedy & Ormrod, 2005:184). Quantitative methods are very valuable in allowing a researcher to
conduct a study that consists of enough people to obtain a good cross-section of views. Many
variables are considered in this study, which can then be reduced to a manageable size, providing
meaningful conclusions and recommendations at the end of the study.
5.5. SAMPLING
5.5.1 Unit of analysis
The unit of analysis for this study was young adult black women in South Africa (between 18 and 24
years of age), in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment. The women fall under the Black Diamond
consumer group, which represents an up-and-coming, growing market segment. Mzanzi Youth are
mostly still living at home and they seek an academic qualification. The units of analysis were also
representative of a group that is large, profitable and accessible enough to draw the attention of
marketers (Mawers, 2004). The units of analysis had to have certain criteria to be included in the
study. These pertain to them being between the ages of 18 and 24 years, and belonging to the
African cultural group in South Africa. They also had to be up-and-coming young adult African
women, seeking an academic qualification at a tertiary institution, such as a university.
5.5.2 Sample selection
71
5.5.2.1 Sampling strategy
A non-probability sampling strategy has been used in the study. Non-probability samples, may or
may not represent the population well, and as is the case in this study, the circumstances did not
make it feasible, practical or theoretically sensible to do random sampling, which are often more
accurate (Trochim, 2006). Therefore, non-probabilistic alternatives were considered, as there was no
way of guaranteeing that every element of the population would be represented in the sample (Leedy
& Ormrod, 2005:206). The sampling strategy could therefore not be presumed to be representative
of the entire population, and was only considered to be representative of the sample, and results have
only been applied to the latter. A non-probability sampling strategy allows for certain sampling
techniques to be applied (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005:206).
5.5.2.2. Sampling techniques
The sample for the study was purposive resulting in the use of the snowball sampling method. In
purposive sampling, sampling is done with a purpose in mind (Trochim, 2006), as was the case in
this study. In purposive sampling the researcher seeks one or more specific predefined groups
(Trochim, 2006), such as the Black Diamonds. Purposive sampling occurs when the people or units
relevant to the study are selected for a specific purpose (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005:206). The reason for
this method being employed in this particular study was that specific participants with certain criteria
and characteristics were needed. This relates to them having to be young, black adult women living
in South Africa, and being in the Mzanzi Youth sub-segment in the Black Diamond consumer group.
By combining more than one sampling method, a better opportunity was created for an effective
sample to be formed. Purposive sampling was therefore combined with the snowball sampling
method, as only certain individuals with particular characteristics were included in the study.
According to Cant et al., (2003) snowball sampling involves “collecting data from a few initial
members of the targeted population that can easily be located”. One then seeks information from
those individuals to refer the researcher to other respondents within the targeted group (Cant et al.,
2003:128). The researcher therefore starts by identifying someone who meets the criteria for
inclusion in the study, and then asks them to recommend others who they may know who also meets
the criteria (Trochim, 2006). Although the snowball sampling method usually applies to locating
members of a population who are hard to find, in this particular study the snowball sampling
technique was thought feasible, as it was employed to save time, and to easily locate willing
members, as there were many questionnaires that needed to be completed for purposes of analysis.
72
Members were located at the campus of the University of Pretoria (UP) and the Tshwane University
of Technology (TUT). A few initial individuals were asked if they fit the desired characteristics of
the target market. Members that qualified were then asked to direct the researcher to other
respondents within the targeted group. This was done until African students completed two hundred
fully usable questionnaires for analysis.
5.6. CHOICE, DESCRIPTION AND APPLICATION OF DATA COLLECTION METHODS
5.6.1 Data collection techniques
Quantitative data collection techniques were used to capture the data. Data was obtained by means of
personally handing out questionnaires to willing participants. Using questionnaires is a relatively
easy way of collecting data, and have been used by other researchers when collecting data on
reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images (Adomaitis et al., 2008). It enables the researcher to
organize questions, and receive responses without actually talking to the participants or conducting
interviews, which can often be very time consuming and costly (Walliman, 2005:281). A brief set of
pre-screening questions were asked before participants could complete the questionnaires. Questions
asked were to determine if the respondents were between the ages of 18 and 24 years of age, and if
they were currently studying towards their future. This helped to assess whether the participants had
the desired inclusion criteria to be included in the study. The questionnaire had been scrutinised by
the researcher‟s study-leader, a statistician and the subject-specialised lecturers at the Department of
Consumer Science, University of Pretoria (peer evaluation), and the instruments piloted in advance
on a small number of participants. This was done to pre-test the questionnaire to identify any
problems of comprehension or other forms of confusion that could occur. It also helped to determine
if the questions were relevant to the objectives of the study, and whether the necessary results could
be obtained for which the study was intended, and aided in the reliability of the findings and
conclusions drawn (Walliman, 2005:282).
5.6.2 Data collection method
5.6.2.1 Design
The design of the questionnaire was centered around the objectives of the study, to be sure that all
objectives were met, in order to retrieve the desired results at the end of the study (Addendum A).
73
This was done to draw conclusions relevant to the study and to make possible valuable
recommendations. The primary factors measured in the questionnaire were as follow – (1) personal
or sub-cultural beauty standards, (2) personal and social identity (3) importance of aesthetic
dimensions, (4) social comparison (personal identity/ social identity), (5) coping strategies used in
case of negative comparisons, (6) reflected appraisals of the fashion photographs.
5.6.2.2 Stimulus Materials
Stimuli used in the questionnaire (ADDENDUM B) consisted of 3 full colour fashion photographs
obtained from fashion editorials, typically seen on the Internet and featured in popular fashion
magazines. The fashion images used in the questionnaire were kept simple with no imaginary brand
names. This helped to ensure that the stimuli were similar across all fashion images, and eliminate
bias in responses. According to the research findings of the Black Diamond Survey (2007) some of
the favourite magazines of the Black Diamond women include True Love and Cosmopolitan.
Fashion images were obtained from those magazines as well as from others, such as Elle and
Glamour, as well as from the Internet. Criteria used for selecting the photographs (see ADDENDUM
B, p. 194) included in the panel questionnaire were fashion photographs evoking more or less the
same amount of attractiveness, the same level of vividness and drawing the same amount of
attention. Fashion photographs representative of each of the three beauty ideals were selected,
featuring models of similar sizes, with a clear view of the clothes featured, and featuring only one
style (dresses). This helped to eliminate bias that could otherwise be encountered when using some
images that could possibly be more appealing than others. Careful evaluation of the fashion
photographs, by fashion experts was therefore needed, before specific photographs could be selected
to be included in the questionnaires to be handed out to the respondents. A panel of four fashion
experts, two Caucasian and two African, were selected from UP and TUT, and were asked to
evaluate the various fashion images before selecting the three fashion photographs that were
eventually included in the final questionnaire.
5.6.2.3 Evaluation of fashion photographs by fashion experts –Procedure and interpretation of
results
Before photographs could be selected to be included in the questionnaire intended for the target
audience, the photographs needed careful evaluation by fashion experts. This was done to ensure that
the photographs included in the questionnaire were bias-free, and to aid in the reliability of the
74
results. A panel of four fashion experts were selected from UP and TUT (two Caucasian and two
African), and asked to evaluate the fashion images gathered before including them in the final
questionnaire. Photographs were evaluated in a questionnaire format, handed out to the panel of
fashion experts. Each questionnaire were accompanied by a CD, which contained 30 images in total,
ten full-colour fashion images portraying a typical Westernised beauty ideal, ten full colour images
portraying a Euro-African beauty ideal, and ten full colour images portraying a typical African
beauty ideal. The three beauty ideals were chosen in this study, because it is the beauty ideals mostly
portrayed in magazines that the targeted consumers of the study, read. The photographs were derived
from popular fashion magazines and from fashion editorials on the Internet. The panel was asked to
view the first set of 10 photographs, and answer the questions relating to the first category
(Addendum B). This was done for all the sets of photographs and categories. In the first question, the
panel of experts were asked to evaluate all the photographs in terms of dress, hairstyle, skin colour,
style and cultural artefacts such as accessories, and score each construct and thus the photo as such
on a 5-point Likert scale. The second question asked them to rate all the fashion images (from 1 to
10), on three rating scales, namely attractiveness, representative and eye-catching, ranging from
“most” (1) to “least” (10). A statistician was brought on board to assist in the analysis of the results,
and to recommend the appropriate statistical procedures to be employed. A mean and standard
deviation were calculated for each factor (dress, skin colour, hairstyle and accessories) in each
category (Western, African, Euro-African), as well as for the three rating scales (attractive,
representative, eye-catching). Thereafter, an overall mean score was created for each of the
categories, pertaining to dress, skin, hair and accessories, to obtain an average score for each
photograph. The photo in each category with the highest average was then selected, and compared to
the mean score results of the “representative” rating scale. Here the lowest value related to the
photograph was scored as the “most representative” of the specific beauty ideal. All the photographs
with the highest average in the first question should have compared positively to the “most
representative” rating. This helped to verify the results obtained in the first question, and were thus
double-checked to correspond to the results obtained in the first section. The remaining two rating
scales “eye-catching” and “attractiveness” were then used to ensure that the photos selected in the
first section, did not vary to a great extent in terms of “eye-catching” and “attractiveness”. This was
done so that all the photographs to eventually be included in the questionnaire, had more or less the
same score of “eye-catching” and “attractiveness”, which would eliminate bias when respondents
answer the questions about the three different images in the questionnaire, meaning that one image
should not appeal to respondents more than another one.
75
5.6.2.3.1 Analysis of results of fashion photographs
(TABLE 5.1: ANALYSIS OF RESULTS OF FASHION PHOTOGRAPHS)
AVERANGE
MEAN
Western
beauty ideal
– Picture 7
African
beauty ideal
– Picture 7
Euro-African
beauty ideal
– Picture 6
Euro-African
beauty ideal
– Picture 7
ATTRACTIVENESS REPRESENTATIVE
MEAN
EYECATCHING
4.37
2.5
1.75
5.0
4.69
4.5
1.5
5.0
4.00
5.75
4.25
4.5
3.25
4.5
3.0
5.25
After the collection of data of the questionnaires handed out to the panel of fashion experts, a
statistician was consulted. After analysing all the results from tables presented by the statistician, one
fashion image of each category had to be chosen. Within the Western beauty ideal and African
beauty ideal categories, results showed a clear indication of the photos with the best scores in each of
the two categories. In the Western beauty ideal category, picture 7 scored the best results. The
average mean was the highest of all the photos, and clearly corresponded with the “representative”
mean, which was the lowest. This means that Picture 7 had the highest average mean score, and
lowest “representative” score, meaning that the photograph was also chosen as being most
representative of the Western beauty ideal. This indicates that the results obtained in the first
question, which determined the average mean, were correct and corresponded to the results obtained
of being most representative of the category. For the African beauty ideal category, the same
situation occurred. In the African beauty ideal category, picture 7 once again scored the best results.
The average mean was the highest of all the photos, and clearly corresponded with the
“representative” mean, which was the lowest, meaning that Picture 7 had the highest average mean
score, and lowest “representative” score. Picture 7 was thus selected as being most representative of
the African beauty ideal, out of all the photos presented. This indicates that the results obtained in
the first question, which determined the average mean, were correct and corresponded directly to the
results obtained of being most representative of the category. Results from the third category
however, did not show such a clear indication of the best fashion image within the Euro-African
beauty ideal category. It was more difficult to select the photo with the best scores, and therefore two
photos with results closest to the results of the best photos in the other two categories were chosen
76
and interpreted. This was done to ensure that the fashion image in this particular category did not
stand out from the other two photos that were selected. Here the “eye-catching” and “attractiveness”
means were important to consider, and were compared to the results of the other two photos. The
two photos in the Euro-African beauty ideal category, with results closest to the results of the photos
selected in the other categories, were Picture 6 and Picture 7. After comparing the results, Picture 6
was selected as the image with the best corresponding results to the other two pictures selected. The
average mean score of Picture 6 was closest to the results of the first two categories, and the “eyecatching” score did not vary to a great extent from the first two selected pictures (please refer to
Table 5.1). Although Picture 7 was rated as being more representative (3.0), than Picture 6 (4.25),
Picture 6 was still rated in the lower half of the rating scale, meaning that is was scored as “more”
representative than “less” representative of the Euro-African beauty ideal. The eye-catching score
for Picture 6, was (4.5), which related very closely to the pictures in the first two categories. The
“attractiveness” score was however much higher than Picture 7 in the Euro-African category, and
did not correspond well to the pictures in the other categories, but because “attractiveness” is subject
to personal opinion, it was decided that the “eye-catching” scores could be more important,
especially when wanting to eliminate bias when respondents answer the questionnaires. When
comparing Picture 6 and Picture 7 in the Euro-African beauty ideal category, it was also noticed that
the model in Picture 7 was in a sitting position, whereas the model in Picture 6 was standing. It was
therefore decided that it would be better to select Picture 6, as the models in the other two
photographs selected, were also in a standing position, which would create a consensus across all
three pictures selected in each category to be included in the questionnaires to the target market. The
three pictures that were therefore chosen to be included in the questionnaire to the target audience
were Picture 7 (Western beauty ideal), Picture 7 (African beauty ideal), and Picture 6 (Euro-African
beauty ideal).
5.6.3 Procedure
Respondents were asked to complete a questionnaire on a voluntary basis. Members of the targeted
group were located at the campuses or residences of the UP and TUT. A few initial individuals were
asked if they fit the desired characteristics of the target market. Members that qualify were then
asked to direct the researcher to other respondents within the targeted group that could easily be
located. With statistical techniques considered with regards to the sample, this was done until
African students completed at least two hundred fully useable questionnaires for analysis. The
respondents were told that they will be participating in a research project to study social comparison
77
and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images, and that the results obtained would be used in a
dissertation for the completion of a Masters Degree in Consumer Science at the University of
Pretoria. It was also mentioned that the results and findings of the study could be helpful to
researchers and magazine marketers to better communicate with the target market by improving the
look, style and content of fashion photographs featured in advertisements in fashion magazines
specifically aiming to reach them. Respondents were asked to sign a letter of consent before
instructing them to complete the questionnaire. The first part of the questionnaire included questions
measuring demographic information, such as age, culture, occupational status and citizenship. The
second part of the questionnaire entailed questions corresponding to the three different cultural
beauty ideals portrayed in the fashion photographs. There was therefore one image each included in
the questionnaire portraying a typical Westernised beauty ideal, an Euro-African, and an African
beauty ideal, with a brief set of questions relating to the specific fashion photograph or beauty ideal
being portrayed, which were completed directly after viewing each of the different fashion
photographs. By allowing respondents to view one fashion photograph at a time, and answering the
questions directly below pertaining to each fashion photograph individually, the influence of
comparisons to the other stimulus fashion photographs were eliminated.
5.6.4
Measure
The measurement instrument used in this study, collected information for six dependant variables,
namely- (1) personal or sub-cultural beauty standards, (2) personal and social identity (3) importance
of aesthetic dimensions, (4) social comparison (personal identity/ social identity), (5) coping
strategies used in case of negative comparisons, (6) reflected appraisals of the fashion photographs.
Survey questions can typically be divided into two categories, namely structured and unstructured
(De Vos, 2005:170). In this study, mostly structured questions were included in the questionnaire.
Questions allowing for options between two possible responses, like “yes” or “no” were used, which
was easy to interpret. A level of measurement question was included such as an ordinal scale, which
allowed respondents to rank their preferences (Question 9). Here directions were stated clearly, to
eliminate confusion. Likert-type scales were used in the questionnaire, which allowed for a choice
between four alternatives; from strongly agree (1) to strongly disagree (4). This type of scale has
previously been used in research dealing with the measure of culture, and worked well to obtain the
necessary responses (Phinney & Ong, 2007). The scores were then calculated as a mean for items in
each sub-scale or as the scale as a whole. Assessments of perceived similarity of the self to models
in fashion photographs on characteristics such as overall lifestyle, cultural background, dress,
78
appearance, and basic values have been tested previously (Appiah, 2001; Whittler, 1989). In this
study, respondents had to indicate how similar they felt to the model in the fashion photograph using
a three-point ordered set of options ranging from 1 (Yes, probably), 2 (Maybe), to 3 (No, probably
not). The perceived similarity scale tested by Appiah (2001) and Whittler (1989) was used
successfully in this study. Some open-ended questions were also used in the questionnaire, allowing
respondents to write an answer in the open space provided. This was done to obtain greater detail in
responses and richness of detail, in order for the researcher to learn more about how the respondents
think and what are important to them with relation to the research topic (De Vos, 2005:174).
Standard statistical coding methods were applied to open-ended questions. For each stimulus fashion
photograph, an over-all rating-scale was developed. This were measured by five, 7-point semantic
differential scales, namely eye catching/ not eye catching, for me/ not for me, appealing/ not
appealing, likeable/ not likeable, and attractive/ not attractive. These are Bi-polar scales, on which
not only strength, but also direction of strength could be measured (Desphande & Stayman, 1994),
which were valuable in the discussion and interpretation of results in this study. Similar scales have
been used successfully in other cultural studies and have shown strong evidence of being highly
reliable (Desphande & Stayman, 1994). Questions pertaining to participants‟ purchase intentions
included bipolar adjective choices, such as unlikely/very likely, and impossible/very possible.
Respondents were also asked to indicate their interest in buying the clothing worn by the models in
the fashion photographs, as well as their interest in purchasing fashion magazines featuring such
fashion photographs.
5.7. OPERATIONALISATION AND DATA ANALYSIS
5.7.1. OPERATIONALISATION
Walliman (2005) noted that quantitative analysis allows a researcher to process a large amount of
data with efficiency in a format that lends itself to statistical analysis. As seen in the
operationalisation stage of the study (see Table 5.2), every objective was related to specific questions
in the questionnaire. This helped to ensure that all objectives were measured, and that all necessary
questions relevant to each objective were included in the study. In Table 5.2, the relative questions
pertaining to each objective are listed, as well as the statistical methods employed for purposes of
data analysis and interpretation.
79
(TABLE 5.2: OPERATIONALISATION: Objectives and Sub-objectives, relative questions and
statistical methods used)
Objectives & Sub-objectives
Objective 1
To explore and describe the
importance of personal and subcultural beauty standards in the
beauty ideal of the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment in terms
of dress, hairstyle, body, skin colour
and accessories
Objective 2
To explore and describe the role of
personal and social identity in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment's
preference for specific appearance
qualities
Objective 3
Relative question
Q9
Q10
Q11 (b, d, f, h, j, l)
Q11 (a, c, e, g, i, k)
Q15 (a-i)
To explore and describe the role of
aesthetic dimensions (symbolic,
emotional and sensory) in the women
in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of
the Black Diamond consumer group‟s
beauty ideal
Objective 4
- Coding of constructs in terms of dress/
style, hairstyle, body, etc.
- Frequencies
- Percentages
Q13
- Coding of constructs in terms of
personal identity and social identity
- Frequencies
- Percentages
Q14
- Coding of constructs in terms of coping
strategies
- Frequencies
- Percentages
To explore and describe the reasons
why the women in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segment of the Black Diamond
consumer group engage in social
comparison, and how it affects their
self-esteem (in terms of social
identity and personal identity)
Objective 6
To explore and describe the coping
strategies the women in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment use when
comparing themselves to the fashion
ideal of beauty
Objective 7
To explore and describe the women
in the Mzansi Youth‟s appraisals of
Western, African and Euro-African
fashion images as well as their
subsequent reactions
- Frequencies
- Percentages
- Coding of constructs in terms of
personal beauty standards and subcultural beauty standards
- Factor analysis (Cronbach Alpha)
- Coding of constructs in terms of
aesthetic dimensions (sensory, emotional,
symbolic)
- Percentages
- Mean scores and medians
- Friedman test
Q12
To explore and describe which
aspects of the self the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the
Black Diamond consumer group
compare with the ideal beauty
standard in terms of dress, hairstyle,
skin colour, body and accessories
Objective 5
Statistical methods used
- Coding of constructs in terms of
personal beauty ideal (dress, hairstyle,
body, skin colour, accessories)
- Frequencies (mean scores)
- Friedman test
- Percentages
Q16.1, 17.1, 18.1
Q16.2, 17.2, 18.2
Q16.3, 17.3, 18.3
Q16.4, 17.4, 18.4
Q16.5, 17.5, 18.5
Q16.6, 17.6, 18.6
Q16.7, 17.7, 18.7
Q16.8, 17.8, 18.8
Q16.9, 17.9, 18.9
Q16.10, Q17.10, Q18.10
Q16.11, Q17.11, Q18.11
Q16.12, Q17.12, Q18.12
Q16.13, Q17.13, Q18.13
- Frequencies
- Percentages
- Mean scores and medians
80
5.7.2. DATA ANALYSIS
For purposes of analysis, it became necessary to simplify and organise the data gathered in the study,
into a manageable and useful form. It was important to choose the most applicable type of analysis
relevant to each variable present in the study (Walliman, 2005:302). Walliman (2005) noted that
quantitative analysis allows a researcher to process a large amount of data with efficiency in a format
that lends itself to statistical analysis. As seen in the operationalisation stage of the study, every
objective was related to specific questions in the questionnaire. This helped to ensure that all
objectives were measured, and that all necessary questions relevant to each objective were included
in the study. The data gathered was simplified and organised by means of statistical analysis,
through the use a computer, after which conclusions were drawn and recommendations were made
(Walliman, 2005:302). Most of the questions in the questionnaire were analysed by means of
frequencies (mean scores), and coding in terms of specific constructs relevant to the objective (see
schematic conceptual framework). Open-ended responses were written down and placed in
categories as identified during the exploration of literature (refer to schematic conceptual
framework). Coding categories were developed for each open-ended question in the questionnaire, to
facilitate the processing of the data.
Factor analysis refers to a range of techniques that aim to describe a larger number of variables by
means of a smaller set of composite variables (so-called “factors”) and to aid with the interpretation
of the data (Trochim, 2006). For the purpose of this study, common factor analysis was applicable.
Common factor analysis focuses on the common variance shared among the original variables and
seeks to identify underlying dimensions (known as “common factors”). The Friedman test was also
useful in some questions to analyse the data obtained. The Friedman test was conducted to determine
if there were statistically significant differences between aspects that the respondents had to rank (in
questions 9 and 15). The Friedman test is said to be the appropriate test to use when several ordinallevel measures need to be compared to one another (Diamantopoulos & Schlegelmilch, 1997:194).
This was done to find out if the aspects respondents had to rank in question 9 and 15 are equally
important. The Friedman test is a non-parametric test, and the results showed that the Friedman test
statistic had a P-Value of 0.0000 (Conover, 1999). Furthermore, Cronbach‟s alpha was also deemed
necessary to determine the most common estimate of the internal consistency or reliability of items
in a scale in certain questions. A widely accepted assumption in the social science is that alpha
should be .70 or higher for a set of items to be considered a scale, as was the case in this study
(where applicable) (Trochim, 2006). Hypothesis testing was done at the 5% level of significance.
81
The statistical methods used and the boundaries set at the 5% level of significance by specific
statistical tests, helped the researcher to determine when the results were statistically significant
(Trochim, 2006).
5.8. QUALITY OF THE DATA
Considering the quantitative nature of this study, attention was given to the reliability and validity of
the research. Validity and reliability of research refer to the extent to which a person can learn
something about the phenomena that are being studied, and the probability that one will obtain
statistical significance in the data analysis, as well as the ability to draw meaningful conclusions
from the data collected in the study (Leedy & Ormrod, 2005:27). Measurement scales used in the
questionnaires included scales that have been used in other similar research studies conducted
internationally, and that have been proved reliable. The structured measurement scales used in the
questionnaire of the study include Likert-type scales and various levels of measurement scales, such
as ordinal questions and comparative questions. The use of these well-known measurement scales
helped to make the results obtained from the questionnaires more reliable.
5.8.1 Validity of the study
Validity deals with the extent to which the instrument measures what it should actually measure
(Leedy & Ormrod, 2005:28). Two types of validity exist, namely internal- and external validity.
Internal validity refers to the measure of the level of sophistication the design of the study
incorporates (Walliman, 2005:434). External validity, on the other hand, deals with the extent to
which the results can be legitimately generalized (Walliman, 2005:433). Both of these were
incorporated in the research study. This was done by ensuring that all concepts were included in the
study, and the nature of the sampling methods used were kept in mind when making conclusions and
generalisations beyond the immediate situation at the end of the study. This helped to ensure the
quality of the data gained (Walliman, 2005:294). In order to ensure that each measurement
accurately reflected the concept it intended to measure (measurement validity), the following
different types of validity were deemed necessary in this study:
82
5.8.1.1 Face Validity
The instruments were pre-tested by a group of experts and were also pilot-tested on a small group of
respondents to ensure face validity of the study. This was done to ensure that the measurement
instruments actually measured what they purported to measure. Only instruments accurately
measuring the set objectives of the study were used.
5.8.1.2 Content Validity
Content validity deals with whether concepts in the study are well measured by the instruments used,
and whether the instruments give a good enough sample of items that represent that specific sample
(De Vos, 2005:161). One should be sure that the instrument actually measures what it is supposed to
measure in the study. A measurement device was used that was adequate and representative of the
content of the study. The conceptual framework used in the study also helped to ensure that all
concepts were included in the questionnaire and that all the objectives of the study were met.
5.8.1.3 Criterion Validity
Criterion validity refers to whether the instrument used in the study actually measures the concepts
being studied (De Vos, 2005:161). To improve criterion validity in this study, more than one
question was used to measure some of the concepts or objectives in the study. This validation
approach ensured that more than one criterion could be compared to the scores obtained from the
data, thereby eliminating bias in findings. Examples of this being used in the questionnaire are as
follow: Question 9 asked respondents to rank various aspects (hairstyle, accessories, body, skin
colour, and dress) of their feminine ideal of beauty from most important too least important, and
Question 10 asked respondents to indicate which aspects of their feminine ideal of beauty are
important to them. This means that if respondents indicated in Question 9, that a certain aspect was
very important, the aspect should also be chosen in Question 10 as being important to respondents.
Furthermore, instruments were pilot tested in advance on 20 respondents. The pre-testing of the
questionnaire aided in this regard to ensure that the respondents understood the questions, and that
the relevant responses were obtained from each question. There was no standardised criterion known
to measure the construct validity accurately, to permit comparison with the measurements for this
study. However, some of the questions that had been used successfully in related studies were
adapted for this study.
83
5.8.1.4 Construct Validity
Construct validity deals with the extent to which the instrument used in the study, successfully
measures a theoretical construct (De Vos, 2005:162). To obtain construct validity, it was essential to
understand how the measurement instrument operates and how relationships between this and other
constructs can be identified (De Vos, 2005:162). This was done by determining what the instrument
was in fact measuring in each case, and by ensuring that it measured the intended concept at hand.
To ensure that instruments used for this study, successfully measured the theoretical construct they
were intended to measure, definitions with clearly specified conceptual boundaries were provided
(Figure 1.1 and Table 5.2), in order to isolate the convergent validity.
5.8.2 Reliability of the study
Reliability of a research project can be defined, as the consistency with which a measuring
instrument can obtain a certain result when the entity being measured hasn‟t changed (Leedy &
Ormrod, 2005:28). Reliability generally refers to the consistency or stability of a measurement
procedure (De Vos, 2005: 162). This means that a measure is considered reliable if it would give the
same result every time under the same circumstances. Reliability of the study was improved by
taking great care when constructing measuring instruments. Cronbach‟s Alpha is a method that is
often used in other studies, and ensured reliability in this study. This method is mathematically
equivalent to the average of all possible split-half estimates (Trochim, 2006). By making use of
computer analysis to do the random subsets of items and compute the resulting correlations in the
study, the reliability was calculated. Usually results above 0,6 show good reliability, as was the case
in this study. This test was done in the study to ensure optimal reliability of the data collected
(Trochim, 2006), with the help of a statistician.
As Neumann (2000:164) noted, reliability is an indicator of dependability or consistency. It indicates
the likelihood that a given measurement technique will repeatedly yield the same description of a
given phenomenon (Mouton, 1996:144). In this study, certain strategies were applied to ensure
reliability, which included the questions used in the questionnaire to be predominantly closed
questions, and some of which had been previously used in related studies. The questionnaire was
pre-tested by a group of experts and pilot-tested on women in the target market for this study. A
panel of fashion experts evaluated the fashion photographs before including them in the
questionnaire. The questionnaire‟s top page had the University of Pretoria‟s logo (letterhead) and an
84
introductory letter stating the purpose of the research, and a consent form also had to be signed
beforehand. Well-established methods of data collection were used and standard statistical coding
methods were also applied. Hypothesis testing was done at the 5% level of significance. A nonprobability sampling technique (purposive resulting in snowball) was used in this study, which used
a smaller sample size, but the technique was thought acceptable, due to the nature of this study.
Furthermore, in relation to human intellect and perception, the researcher used the power of memory
and reasoning to organise data and ideas present in the study in such a manner as to promote
understanding when others read the document (Walliman, 2005 434). Clear conceptualisation of all
the concepts and the development of theoretical definitions for each construct in the thorough
literature review conducted, aided in doing this. It also helped to improve the validity of the study.
The conceptualisation and operationalisation phase helped to ensure that each measure indicates only
one specific concept throughout the study (De Vos, 2005: 163). This makes the study more reliable
and easier to read and understand.
5.9. ETHICS
Ethics refer to the rules of conduct, particularly regarding conduct towards other people and
organisations (Walliman, 2005: 432). Ethics promote causing no harm, and providing benefits where
possible. It is the responsibility of the researcher to be honest and give accurate descriptions on what
have been done, and all the steps followed should be described in detail (Walliman, 2005:337).
Taking ethics into consideration, it was of utmost importance that the data was not selectively
presented, nor the analysis of results. It is always good practice to state limitations and resources of
the research project, and this was done in this study.
Ethical issues that relate to the general public and to the participants are of primary concern when
researchers conduct research (Du Plessis & Rousseau, 2003:30). Ethical issues may be encountered
in human sciences when conflict arises between the values of the community and scientific methods
used to perform research (De Vos, 2005:68). An ethical concern that might have come to the fore
with the research project at hand is discrimination, due to the cultural diversity in South Africa. The
research project might have been seen as only benefiting the black population in the country, as only
young black South African women will be included in the research project, and may ultimately
benefit from the study. To eliminate this ethical concern, questionnaires were handed out to African,
as well as Caucasian students. The responses obtained from the Caucasian students will be used at a
85
later stage in another research study where both the African and Caucasian responses will be used to
make comparisons between the two cultural groups with regard to the research topic at hand.
Stereotyping, any form of discrimination, bias and omission were avoided at all times when writing
the research report. Every side of the story was reported on, and every fact stated when mentioning
race and language were checked thoroughly. The research and reporting were also conducted with
full objectivity and skepticism. Care was taken when organising and reporting on information to
avoid discrimination, or misinterpretation in that regard. By using multiple sources of information
when a statement was made about culture and race also helped to eliminate this.
Another ethical concern that could have been encountered was the informed consent of the research
participant. This refers to consent given by participants to take part in the study, based on sufficient
information about the nature and purpose of the research (Walliman, 2005: 434). Participation was
on a voluntary basis with names of participants remaining anonymous. The data obtained was solely
used for research purposes, and was communicated to the respondents in a consent form, which they
had to sign before they could participate in the study. The consent form clearly stated the research
affiliation, and emphasized the aim and purpose of the study, and also promised confidentiality and
anonymity.
The research proposal was submitted to the faculty of Natural and Agricultural Sciences‟ ethics
committee for approval at the University of Pretoria, and was approved before any data was
collected from respondents.
86
CHAPTER 6
RESULTS AND DATA ANALYSIS
6.1. INTRODUCTION
This chapter focuses on analysing the data collected from the questionnaires that were handed out to
the target market. Quantitative data analysis allows a researcher to process a large amount of data
with efficiency in a format that lends itself to statistical analysis (Walliman, 2005:302). For purposes
of analysis, it became necessary to simplify and organise the data gathered in the study, into a
manageable and useful form (Walliman, 2005:302). As seen in the operationalisation stage of the
study, every objective is related to specific questions in the questionnaire. This helped to ensure that
all objectives were measured, and that all necessary questions relevant to each objective were
included in the study. The findings are therefore discussed according to the objectives of the study.
Descriptive and inferential statistics were used for purposes of analysis, and descriptive statistics
were specifically used to describe specific observations. This was done to present the data in a
manageable form, such as tables and graphs, and the calculation of numerical summaries (such as
frequencies, averages, mean scores and percentages).
In this chapter the data will be presented in terms of the seven research objectives and sub-objectives
as set in Chapter 5. Additional to the set objectives, this chapter starts off with the demographic
information obtained from the questionnaire.
6.2 DEMOGRAPHIC INFORMATION AND OTHER DESCRIPTIVE CHARACTERISTICS
OF THE SAMPLE
87
6.2.1 Where the target samples’ parents live (Q4)
RURAL
URBAN
OTHER
TOWNSHIPS
16%
12%
3%
69%
FIGURE 6.1: WHERE THEIR PARENTS LIVE
(N=199)
Figure 6.1 shows where the parents of the respondents who took part in the study live. There were
199 respondents that answered the question. There were 4 categories, and the results show that 69%
of their parents live in urban areas, 16% in rural areas, 12% in townships, and 3% live in other areas.
This means that most of their parents (69%) live in urban areas, which indicates that the targeted
consumers are not from a primitive background, and have probably been exposed to the influences
of modern society in the cities of South Africa. This could mean that they are likely to be interested
in modern trends and fashions, as they are part of modern society.
6.2.2 The respondents are students and/ working (Q5)
STUDENT
STUDENT & WORKING
35%
65%
FIGURE 6.2: STUDENTS AND WORKING
(N=200)
Figure 6.2 shows whether the respondents are full-time students, or if they are students that are
currently working as well. Two hundred respondents answered the question. According to the results
88
obtained from questioin 5, 65% of the target sample are students only, whereas 35% are students and
are working as well. The results are an accurate reflection of the intended target sample, namely the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment in the Black Diamond consumer group, as the description of the women
in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment are said to be mostly students that are studying toward their future.
It is interesting that 35% of the respondents indicated that they are working as well, which could
mean that they have extra money that they could spend on luxury items such as fashionable clothes
and fashion magazines.
6.2.3 How often fashion magazines are read (Q6)
DAILY
WEEKLY
MONTHLY
8%
25%
SELDOM
NEVER
10%
25%
32%
FIGURE 6.3: HOW OFTEN FASHION MAGAZINES ARE READ
(N=199)
According to figure 6.3, the results from question 6, indicate that 8% of the target market never read
fashion magazines, 10% read fashion magazines daily, 25% seldom read fashion magazines, 25 %
read fashion magazines weekly, and 32% read fashion magazines on a monthly basis. One hundred
and ninety nine (199) respondents answered the question, and most (32%) of the respondents
therefore indicated that they read fashion magazines on a monthly basis. Only 8% indicated that they
never read fashion magazines, which is a small number. It could therefore be anticipated that most of
the target market are interested in reading fashion magazines, whether it is on a daily, weekly, or
monthly basis.
89
6.2.4 Magazines that the target market are currently reading (Q7)
10 11
110
85
COSMOPOLITAN
ELLE
GLAMOUR
CLEO
TRUE LOVE
37
57
VOGUE
PEOPLE
85
FIGURE 6.4: MAGAZINES CURRENTLY READ (N=200)
Figure 6.4 shows the magazine distribution of what the respondents are currently reading. The figure
shows only the number of respondents that chose a certain magazine, and not the percentage.
Respondents were asked to tick the magazines they read from a list (they could choose more than
one option), with an option of “Other” where they had to specify a certain magazine. The option of
“Other” was coded according to the answers that appeared most frequently, namely “Vogue” and
“People”. One hundred and ten (110) respondents indicated that they read “Cosmopolitan”, 85
respondents “ELLE”, and 85 respondents “Glamour”. These 3 magazines had the highest frequency,
which is interesting because this could mean that the targeted consumers are specifically interested
in fashion magazines, and not general magazines such as “People” and “True Love”. According to
the results of the study conducted by the Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing (2006), Black
Diamonds indicated that one of their favourite magazines is “True Love” (Internet: Talent- Bright
Young Things). Although 57 respondents in this study chose “True Love”, the other three fashion
magazines mentioned above, had higher frequencies. This could mean that the Mzansi Youth women
between the ages of 19 and 24 years are more interested in fashion and specifically fashion
magazines.
90
6.2.5 Reasons for reading fashion magazines (Q8)
78
2
94
Beaty
Health
Keep up to date
61
Fashion
Articles
137
Other
97
FIGURE 6.5: REASONS FOR READING FASHION MAGAZINES
(N=200)
Figure 6.5 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for reading fashion magazines. Two hundred
(200) respondents answered the question. The respondents were allowed to tick more than one
option in the question, and therefore only values are given, and not percentages. There were six
options given in question 8, with the sixth being “Other” where they had to specify a reason. Only
two respondents ticked the option “Other” and none of them stated a specific reason. One hundred
and thirty seven respondents indicated that fashion is the reason for reading fashion magazines.
Ninety-seven respondents indicated that they read fashion magazines to keep up to date, and ninetyfour respondents indicated that “Beauty” is a reason for reading fashion magazines. These three
reasons had the highest frequencies, and can be accepted as being their reasons for reading fashion
magazines, with “Fashion” being their most important reason, as this option was ticked most
frequently. It is therefore obvious that the women in the targeted group are interested in fashion,
which was anticipated for this market segment.
6.3. PRESENTATION OF RESULTS AND ANALYSIS OF RESEARCH OBJECTIVES
6.3.1 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 1
OBJECTIVE 1: To explore and describe the importance of personal and sub-cultural beauty
standards in the beauty ideal of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment in terms of dress,
hairstyle, body, skin colour and accessories (Q9, Q10)
91
TABLE 6.1: RANKING OF ASPECTS IMPORTANT IN IDEAL OF BEAUTY –Q9
VARIABLE
LABEL
Q9a
Rank
hairstyle
Rank
dress
Rank
body
Rank
accessories
Rank skin
colour
Q9e
Q9c
Q9b
Q9d
N
MEAN
MEDIAN
Std.Dev
159
2.20
2
1.09
158
2.26
2
1.16
161
2.34
2
1.36
154
3.68
4
1.16
149
3.97
5
1.33
Table 6.1 reflects the ranking of aspects by respondents most important in their ideal of beauty. In
question 9, respondents were asked to rank the aspects in their beauty ideal (hairstyle, dress, body,
accessories and skin colour) from 1 to 5, (1) being most important, and (5) being least important. A
mean for each aspect was calculated, as well as the median. Hairstyle, dress, and body, had the same
median, and it was therefore necessary to look at each of those aspects‟ mean scores. The lowest
score in this case was ranked as being most important. Hairstyle was ranked as being the most
important, with dress and body following closely in second and third place. One can therefore
anticipate that hairstyle, dress and body have the most important influence on the respondents‟
perception of what is beautiful, and should be taken into consideration when one wants to reach this
target market. Accessories and skin colour had the highest mean scores, meaning that they were less
important in the respondents‟ ideal of beauty. Skin colour had the lowest score, meaning that it is
least important to the sample. After analysing the results from question 9, it became necessary to
determine if there were meaningful differences between the aspects that were ranked by the
respondents, in order to create a better understanding of the results obtained thus far.
TABLE 6.1.1: FRIEDMAN SUMMARY –Q9
Q9a
Q9e
Q9c
Q9b
Q9d
Aspect
Mean
Rank hairstyle
2.20
Rank dress
2.26
Rank body
2.34
Rank accessories
3.68
Rank skin colour
3.97
Table 6.1.1 gives a summary of the results obtained from question 9, when the Friedman test was
conducted. Question 9 asked respondents to rank aspects (hairstyle, dress, body, accessories and skin
colour), from most important to least important regarding the respondents‟ ideal of beauty. The
92
Friedman test was conducted to determine if there were statistically significant differences between
the aspects that the respondents had to rank. The Friedman test is a non-parametric test, and the
results showed that the Friedman test statistic had a P-Value of 0.0000 (Conover, 1999).
Comparisons between all five aspects needed to be made to determine if there were meaningful
statistical differences. The Posthoc pair wise test was conducted, which compared each aspect in
table 6.1.1 (a-e), with every other aspect. It was found that there were meaningful differences
between two groups when the P-value was less then 0.05 (p < 0.05), meaning that there could be
distinguished between two groups. The first group (as seen in table above in yellow), were hairstyle,
dress and body. The second group (as seen in table above in pink) were accessories and skin colour.
The mean scores in the yellow group were closely related, and lower than the mean scores in the
second group (pink), meaning that they were scored as being more important to the respondents than
the aspects in the second group. The mean scores in the second group were higher than the mean
scores in the first group, and were therefore scored as being less important than the aspects in the
first (yellow) group. The aspects in the first group were therefore considered as being more
important than the aspects in the second group, with statistical differences between the aspects in the
first group and aspects in the second group. This verifies the results obtained and reflected in table
6.1, as hairstyle, dress and body, had lower mean scores than accessories and skin colour, which had
the highest mean scores (therefore being ranked as less important to the respondents regarding their
ideal of beauty).
TABLE 6.2: ASPECTS IMPORTANT IN IDEAL OF BEAUTY –Q10
ASPECTS IMPORTANT IN IDEAL OF BEAUTY:
Important
%
DRESS
69.50%
SKIN COLOUR
17.00%
HAIRSTYLE
59.50%
ACCESSORIES
24.00%
BODY SHAPE
55.50%
PERSONALITY
7.50%
HEALTH/ BEAUTY
5.00%
Table 6.2 indicates the respondents‟ answers when they were asked in question 10 to indicate which
aspects are important to them in their ideal of beauty. In question 9 respondents had to rank the
93
given aspects from most important to least important in their ideal of beauty. In question 10
however, the researcher wanted to find out if there were any other important aspects regarding the
respondents‟ ideal of beauty, besides the listed aspects given in question 9 (body, hairstyle, dress,
skin colour and accessories). The same aspects were given as options in question 10, (to verify the
results obtained from question 9), but in this question an option of “Other” were given, to give
respondents the opportunity to write down any other aspects that were important to them considering
their ideal of beauty. Respondents could tick more than one answer in this question, and therefore
the (percentage %) results listed in Table 6.2, do not add up to a total of 100%, but rather gives a
reflection of the number of respondents (%) that choose a certain option.
As mentioned earlier, question 10 gave an option of “Other”, where respondents had to specify the
aspect important to them in their ideal of beauty. This gave the researcher the opportunity to find out
if there are any other important aspects according to the respondents with regard to their ideal of
beauty, besides the listed options. The option ”Other” was coded in terms of the two answers that
appeared most frequently. “Personality” and “Health/ Beauty” were the two aspects that were
mentioned most frequently by the respondents, however only 7,50% indicated “personality” as being
important to them, and only 5% “Health/ Beauty”. Sixty nine percent (69%) indicated that dress was
important, which was the highest score. Hairstyle scored 59,50%, and body shape scored 55,50%.
These three aspects were also scored as being most important in the previous question with regard to
their ideal of beauty. The results obtained from this question, therefore verifies the results obtained
from the previous question, and it is therefore clear that dress, hairstyle and body shape, are the most
important aspects to the women in the sample considering their ideal of beauty.
6.3.2 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 2
OBJECTIVE 2: To explore and describe the role of personal and social identity in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment's preference for specific appearance qualities (Q11)
94
TABLE 6.3: IMPORTANCE OF PERSONAL BEAUTY STANDARDS (Q11 (b+d+f+h+j+l))
Statement:
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ME:
N
Very important
+
Important
%
Less important
+
Not
Important
%
b) that my dress style looks like that of Westernised
women
d) to compare my appearance to Western styles
198
35.86
64.14
196
40.31
59.69
f) that fashion magazine models are from a Western
origin
h) to be acknowledged as an individual person
197
13.20
86.80
198
89.90
10.10
j) that my appearance shows my personal qualities
198
91.41
8.59
l) that my appearance shows that I am proud of my
personal qualities
197
92.89
7.11
Table 6.3. illustrates the responses on the importance of personal beauty standards in the beauty
ideal of the respondents. Respondents had to choose an option on a Likert-scale, which allowed for a
choice between four alternatives, from very important (1) to not important (4). For purposes of
analysis and interpretation, the data was simplified, by adding the results from “very important” and
“important” together, and by adding the results from “less important” and “not important”, to obtain
a (%) value for “important” and “not important”. Question 11 (b), (d), (f), (h), (j), and (l) were
formulated in the questionnaire to measure the importance of personal beauty standards. When
respondents were asked if their dress style should look like Westernised women, 64,14% indicated
that it is not important. They also indicated that it is not important that their appearance compare to
Western styles (59,69%), as well as that it is not important that models are from a Western origin
(86,80%). Almost ninety percent (89,90%) of the respondents want to be acknowledged as an
individual person, and their appearance should show their personal qualities (91,41%). The
respondents also indicated (92,89%) that it is important to them that their appearance shows that they
are proud of their personal qualities. It therefore seems as if it is more important for the respondents
to be acknowledged as an individual person and for their personal qualities, rather than for a
Westernised fashion style or beauty ideal.
95
TABLE 6.4: IMPORTANCE OF SOCIAL BEAUTY STANDARDS (Q11 (a+c+e+g+i+k)):
Statement:
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ME:
N
Very important
+
Important
%
Less important
+
Not
Important
%
a) that my dress style looks like that of my African
friends
c) to compare my appearance to that of my friends
199
23.62
76.38
197
33.5
66.5
e) that fashion magazine models are from my own culture
198
43.43
56.57
g) to feel that I belong to a specific cultural group
196
59.69
40.31
i) that my appearance shows that I am an African women
198
57.58
42.42
k) that my appearance shows that I am an upcoming
African student
194
61.86
38.14
Table 6.4 illustrates the responses on the importance of sub-cultural beauty standards of the
respondents. Respondents had to choose an option on a Likert-scale, which allowed for a choice
between four alternatives, from very important (1) to not important (4). For purposes of analysis and
interpretation, the data was simplified, by adding the results from “very important” and “important”
together, and by adding the results from “less important” and “not important”, to obtain a (%) value
for “important” and “not important”. Question 11 (a), (c), (e), (g), (i), and (k) were formulated in the
questionnaire to measure the importance of sub-cultural beauty standards. The respondents indicated
that it is not important to them that their dress style look like their African friends (76,38%), neither
that their appearance compare to that of their friends (66,50%). They also indicated (56.57%) that it
is not important that models are from their own culture. This is an interesting result, as they
indicated in the questions relating to their personal beauty standards, that it is also not important that
models are from a Western origin (86,8%). Now the question arises, what they prefer models in
magazines to look like? If one looks at the results pertaining to Western models, 86,80% of the
respondents indicated that it is not important that they are from a Western origin, whereas 56,57%
indicated that it is not important that models are from their own culture. If these results are
compared, it seems that they would rather prefer models to be more from their own culture than from
a Western origin (as the results from the latter are lower), although they were in both instances
scored as being not important. It is anticipated that results obtained from other questions to be
discussed later in this chapter will give a better indication of what they prefer in this regard.
96
Almost sixty percent (59,69%) of respondents felt that it is important that they belong to a specific
cultural group, and that their appearance reflect that they are an African women (57,58%). Almost
sixty two percent (61,86%) also indicated that it is important that their appearance shows that they
are an upcoming African student. It therefore seems that although it is important for the majority of
respondents that they should be recognised as African women, it is not important to them that their
dress or appearance should resemble those of others, in this case their African friends or African
models.
The answers from both tables 6.3 and 6.4 therefore indicate that it is most probably more important
to the respondents to be recognised as an individual, (for what they personally are), rather than
comparing themselves to others, whether from an African or Western origin.
6.3.2.1 Factor Analysis and Chronbach
TABLE 6.5: FACTOR ANALYSIS
FACTOR 1
FACTOR 2
FACTOR 3
Anti-Westernised
Anti-African
Enabling Me
Q11a
1
0.17
0.60
-0.17
Q11b
2
0.76
-0.11
0.02
Q11c
3
0.55
0.15
-0.12
Q11d
4
0.89
-0.11
0.03
Q11e
5
0.32
0.48
0.01
Q11f
6
0.55
0.10
0.01
Q11g
7
-0.08
0.58
-0.04
Q11h
8
-0.07
-0.01
0.62
Q11i
9
-0.18
0.81
0.10
Q11j
10
0.10
-0.05
0.84
Q11k
11
0.11
0.70
0.21
Q11l
12
-0.01
0.11
0.72
*Eigenvalue
*(2.78)
*(1.99)
*(1.17)
** % Variance
explained
**(0.41)
**(0.31)
**(0.18)
97
Against the literature of the study, it was anticipated that two factors would emerge from question
11, namely personal identity factor (characteristic of a more Westernised identity), and a social
identity factor (characteristic of a more African (sub-cultural) identity). However, factor analysis
clearly identified three factors, namely factor 1 (Eigenvalue 2.78) consisting of statements b, c, d,
and f, factor 2 (Eigenvalue 1.99) consisting of statements a, e, g, i and k, and factor 3 (Eigenvalue
1.17), consisting of factors h, j, and l. It should be noted that factor 1 consists of (b, c, d and f),
which all represented personal beauty-standards, with the exception of (c), which represents a social
beauty standard statement. The reason for this aspect to be in the first factor together with statements
pertaining to personal beauty standards could be because the statement was formulated as follows:
“to compare my appearance to that of my friends”, emphasising the “my” or personal qualities.
Although this statement attempted to measure its importance with regard to social beauty standards,
it is clear that the statement might not have been formulated clearly enough in the questionnaire, as
“friends” does not necessarily mean African friends to the respondents. The term “friends” could
refer to friends from any cultural background, and not necessarily only their “friends” from the same
culture, while the “my” may emphasise the personal qualities.
Considering the results in table 6.3 and table 6.4 it is clear that factor 1 could be named AntiWesternised, as all answers indicate that it is not important for the respondents to compare
themselves to the Western style. Factor 2 could be named Anti-African, as it is clear from the
answers that it is also not important for them that their appearance or fashion models should
necessarily resemble an African style. Factor 3 could be named “Enabling-Me” as it is clear from the
answers that it is very important for them to be acknowledged for their personal qualities.
Although culture is said to remain an important part in the lives of the Mzansi Youth, for them it is
more about “enabling me” when it comes to products, brands and a fashion style (The new black
middle class, 2006). From the results it is apparent that “enabling me” form an important part of the
Mzansi Youth‟s sub-culture. It is therefore suggested that the three factors be named AntiWesternised, Anti- African and Enabling Me.
98
TABLE 6.5.1: CHRONBACH ALPHA
FACTOR
Variable N
Mean
Std. Dev.
Sum
Cronbach coefficient
Alpha
1
Q11b
193
2.93
0.91
567
1
Q11c
193
3.02
0.88
584
1
Q11d
193
2.87
0.86
554
1
Q11f
193
3.27
0.72
633
2
Q11a
191
3.03
0.88
579
2
Q11e
191
2.76
1.01
528
2
Q11g
191
2.34
0.99
448
2
Q11i
191
2.31
0.93
443
2
Q11k
191
2.20
0.97
421
3
Q11h
195
1.49
0.72
292
3
Q11j
195
1.52
0.66
297
3
Q11l
195
1.40
0.63
274
0.76
0.77
0.74
Table 6.5.1 shows the Cronbach alpha for each of the three factors present in question 11 (a-l).
Cronbach‟s alpha is the most common estimate of the internal consistency or reliability of items in a
scale. A widely accepted assumption in the social science is that alpha should be 0.70 or higher for a
set of items to be considered a scale (Trochim, 2006). In the table above, the question numbers are
arranged according to the three factors they belong to. The Chronbach for factor one is 0.76, for
factor 2 it is 0.77, and for factor 3 it is 0.74. It is therefore clear that the items within each factor
belongs together, meaning that inter-reliability is good.
6.3.3 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 3
OBJECTIVE 3: To explore and describe the role of aesthetic dimensions (symbolic, emotional
and sensory) of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer
group’s beauty ideal (Q15 a-i)
99
TABLE 6.6: ROLE OF SENSORY, EMOTIONAL AND SYMBOLIC DIMENSIONS –Q15
Very important
+
Important
%
Less important
+
Not
Important
%
a) Dress colour should complement my skin colour
85.93
14.07
b) Dress style should fit my body beautifully
94.97
5.03
c) Accessories should be eye-catching
66.33
33.67
d) Clothes should make me feel feminine
80.40
19.60
e) Appearance should give me pleasure
91.96
8.04
f) Appearance should make me feel in command of myself
86.93
13.07
g) My appearance should reflect my cultural values
60.30
39.70
h) My appearance should show others who I am
89.95
10.05
i) My appearance should reflect the group I belong to
49.25
50.75
Statement: SENSORY
Statement: EMOTIONAL
Statement: SYMBOLIC
Table 6.6 (a-c) illustrates the role of the sensory dimension of aesthetics in the ideal of beauty of the
respondents in the sample. One hundred and ninety nine respondents answered the questions relating
to objective 3. Respondents had to indicate whether they find the statements very important,
important, less important, or not important. The scores obtained from “important” and “very
important” were then added and an average percentage for the answers was then calculated. The
same was done for “less important” and “not important”. This was done to simplify the data, to get
more meaningful results that are easier to interpret. Almost eighty six percent (85,93%) indicated
that it is important that their dress style should complement their skin colour, and 94,97% said that
their dress style should fit their body beautifully. Only 66,33% indicated that their accessories should
be eye-catching. Although all of the statements were important to the respondents, it was most
important to them that their dress should fit their body beautifully (94,97%). It is interesting that, as
was previously indicated by the respondents (Table 6.3), that it is more about their personal qualities,
than just being eye-catching, and that the body once again stands out as an important aspect (as
indicated in objective 1) in their personal ideal of beauty.
100
Table 6.6 (d-f) reflects the results obtained with regard to the role of the emotional dimension of
aesthetics in the ideal of beauty of the respondents in the sample. All three of the statements (Q15 df) were indicated as being important to the respondents, and all of the results had a high score,
meaning that they are important to the sample. It is interesting that all the statements pertaining to
the emotional dimension were scored as being important or very important, and once again it seems
clear that the “me” mentioned in the statements, or the individual comes through strongly, and is
important to the respondents.
Table 6.6 (g-i) illustrates the role of the symbolic dimension of aesthetics in the ideal of beauty of
the respondents in the sample. Just over sixty percent (60,30%) indicated that it is important that
their appearance reflect their cultural values, and 89,95% felt that it is important that their
appearance shows others who they are. However, 50,75% felt that it is not important that their
appearance reflect the cultural group they belong to. From the results above, it is clear that it is most
important to the respondents that their appearance show others who they are, as 89,95% indicated
that this statement is important, but that more than half of the respondents felt that their appearance
should not necessarily reflect the cultural group they belong to. This means that the individual is
once again regarded more important than the group, which was also evident in the sensory and
emotional dimensions.
101
TABLE 6.6.1: QUESTION 15- MEAN SCORES AND MEDIANS
VARIABLE
LABEL
N
MEAN
MEDIAN
ST.Dev
SENSORY
Q15a
Q15b
Q15c
Dress colour should complement my
skin colour
Dress style should fit my body
beautifully
Accessories should be eye-catching
199
1.72
2
0.77
199
1.40
1
0.61
199
2.12
2
0.87
Clothes should make me feel
feminine
Appearance should give me
pleasure
Appearance should make me feel in
command of myself
199
1.79
2
0.81
199
1.54
1
0.67
199
1.61
1
0.73
My appearance should reflect my
cultural values
My appearance should show others
who I am
My appearance should reflect the
group I belong to
199
2.21
2
0.89
199
1.64
2
0.72
199
2.51
3
1.00
EMOTIONAL
Q15d
Q15e
Q15f
SYMBOLIC
Q15g
Q15h
Q15i
Table 6.6.1 reflects the results discussed above, in such a way as to obtain a more clear indication of
the role of the three aesthetic dimensions in the respondents‟ ideal of beauty. A mean score was
calculated for each statement in the various aesthetic dimensions (Q15a-i), and the median was
obtained. The statements that are highlighted were the four statements that scored the lowest mean
scores out of all the statements in question 15. Question 15 (b) in the sensory dimension; once again
showed to be most important to the respondents, as the mean score for this statement was the lowest.
Question 15 (b) was also rated as being most important to the respondents in the previous discussion,
which gave a (%) score of the results, meaning that the results of (Table 6.6.1) confirms the results
obtained in (Table 6.6), in that “body” is an important aspect (as also indicated in objective 1) in the
respondents‟ personal ideal of beauty.
For the emotional dimension, a mean score was also calculated for each statement (Q15d-f), and a
median was obtained. The highlighted statements in Q15 (e) and Q15 (f) were two of the four
statements with the lowest mean scores out of all the statements in question 15, meaning that those
two statements were indicated as being important to the respondents regarding the role of aesthetic
dimensions in their ideal of beauty, and specifically the emotional dimension. It again seems as if it
is more important for the respondents to be acknowledged as an individual person and for their
102
personal qualities, and that the individual may be regarded as being more important than the group.
It was also evident in the results from (Table 6.6.) that the “me” mentioned in the statements, or the
individual is regarded highly important by the respondents, which is an important theme coming
through throughout the results obtained thus far.
Questions 15 (g-i), dealt with the symbolic dimension, but the statements in this section do not have
as low mean scores in comparison to the other two dimensions with the exception of 15 (h), which is
more closely related to the lower mean scores of the previous two dimensions. Question 15 (h) once
again referred to “I”, which is regarded important by the respondents, and evident from the all the
previous questions dealt with thus far in the study. If one compares the three aesthetic dimensions,
the sensory and emotional dimensions could be regarded as being more important to the respondents
than the symbolic dimension with regard to their ideal of beauty.
TABLE 6.6.2: FRIEDMAN SUMMARY –Q15
Q15b
Q15e
Q15f
Q15h
Q15a
Q15d
Q15c
Q15g
Q15i
Aspect
Mean
Dress style should fit my body beautifully
1.40
Appearance should give me pleasure
1.54
Appearance should make me feel in command of myself
1.61
Appearance should show others who I am
1.64
Dress colour should complement my skin colour
1.72
Clothes should make me feel feminine
1.79
Accessories should be eye-catching
2.12
Appearance should reflect my cultural values
2.21
Appearance should reflect the group I belong to
2.51
Table 6.6.2 gives a summary of the results obtained from question 15, where the Friedman test was
conducted. The Friedman test was conducted to determine if there were significant statistical
differences between the aspects that the respondents had to rate in question 15. The Friedman test is
a non-parametric test, and the results showed that the Friedman test statistic had a P-Value of 0.0000
(Conover, 1999). Comparisons between all nine aspects needed to be made to determine if there
were meaningful statistical differences. The Posthoc pair wise test was conducted, which compared
each aspect in table 6.6.2 (a-i), with every other aspect. It was found that there were meaningful
differences between three groups when the P-value was less then 0.05, meaning that there could be
distinguished between three groups. The first group is seen in the table above in green, the second
group in orange, and the third group in blue. Group 1 and group 2 overlapped with regard to three
aspects. The first aspect (Q15b) in the first group (green) was therefore considered as being more
103
important than the aspects in the second group, as well as the third group, which is a reflection of the
results in Table 6.6.1. The last two aspects in the second group (orange) were also indicated as being
less important than the aspects in the first group, but were more important than the aspects in the
third group. Aspects in both groups 1 and 2 were more important than the aspects in group three.
From the results, it is apparent that the respondents indicated that statements with an “I” or “me”
were more important than the statements referring to “we” or a group, meaning that the importance
of the individual is coming through strongly in their answers. The results from the Friedman‟s test
therefore substantiate the results previously discussed with regard to Objective 3.
6.3.4. RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 4
OBJECTIVE 4: To explore and describe which aspects of the self, the women in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group, compare with the ideal beauty
standard in terms of dress, hairstyle, skin colour, body and cultural artefacts such as
accessories (Q12)
TABLE 6.7: ASPECTS IMPORTANT TO COMPARE IN IDEAL OF BEAUTY- (Q12)
ASPECTS IMPORTANT TO COMPARE:
Frequency
(N=200)
Percentage
%
a) BODY/ SHAPE/ SIZE
40
20.00%
b) DRESS/ STYLE
64
32.00%
c) HAIRSTYLE
46
23.00%
d) PERSONALITY/ INNER BEAUTY
42
21.00%
e) ENTIRE PACKAGE/ PRESENTATION
24
12.00%
Question 12 in the questionnaire was an open-ended question, and respondents were asked to
describe the aspects that are important to them when comparing themselves to their ideal of beauty.
Two hundred respondents answered the question. The question was coded in terms of the answers
that appeared most frequently, and the codes were prescribed as seen in Table 6.7 (a-e). The
frequency of the answers regarding each aspect was calculated, after which a percentage score was
calculated. Twenty percent (20%) indicated that body/shape/size are important to compare, 23% said
hairstyle is important, and 21% said that personality and inner beauty are important aspects to
compare. Least of the respondents (12%) indicated that the entire package/presentation are important
104
aspects to compare, while the most agreed that they compare dress/style (32%). This result is once
again a reflection of the results obtained from objective 1 (Q9 and Q10), that showed that dress/style
are very important to the respondents in their ideal of beauty, and in this objective it is also evident
that dress/style is the most important aspect to compare with regard to their ideal of beauty.
6.3.5. RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 5
OBJECTIVE 5: To explore and describe the reasons why the women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment of the Black Diamond consumer group engage in social comparison, and how it affects
their self-esteem (in terms of social identity and personal identity) (Q13)
Fit into group
See shortcomings
Make comparisons
Feel better
15%
14%
30%
41%
n=189
FIGURE 6.6: REASONS FOR COMPARING TO OTHER WOMEN
Figure 6.6 shows the distribution of results obtained from question 13. One hundred and eighty
nine respondents answered the question. Respondents were asked to indicate the reasons for
comparing themselves to other women. Against the literature the question was formulated with
regard to measuring the results in terms of social identity and personal identity, however from
results obtained in question 11, it became evident that there is a third category to be distinguished,
namely the “individual”, when dealing with the women in the targeted group. It is therefore
necessary to interpret the results obtained from question 13 in terms of three categories, and not
only the two categories, as was anticipated earlier. Most of the respondents (41%) indicated that
they compare themselves, to see how they relate in comparison to others, and 30% to see their
shortcomings so that they can improve themselves. Fifteen percent (15%) indicated that they
105
compare themselves to other women, because it helps them to feel better about themselves, while
the least respondents (14%) indicated that they compare to see where they fit in and to feel part of
a group. With the above results in mind, it becomes clear that most respondents (when engaging in
comparison) compare to see how they relate in comparison to others, and to see their
shortcomings, while least respondents compare themselves to feel better about themselves and to
determine if they fit into a group. It therefore appears that, although a general fact throughout the
results was that the respondents would rather not compare themselves to others, because of the “I”
or individual person being important to them, most of the respondents, 41% (when forced to
compare) would compare to see how they relate to others. Against the social identity theory this
could be interpreted as the individual being regarded as more important than the group, and that an
individual or personal identity is more important than a social identity (Hogg et al. 1995:260).
Results of objective 5 therefore confirm those of objective 2, namely a strong emphasis on the
“me” which is a characteristic of the Mzansi Youth (The new black middle class, 2006).
6.3.6. RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 6
OBJECTIVE 6: To explore and describe the coping strategies the women in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segment use when comparing themselves to the fashion ideal of beauty (Q14)
Accept standard, try
harder
4%
23%
35%
Accept standard, do
nothing
Modify Personal
standard
Modify Cultural
standard
38%
N=191
FIGURE 6.7: COPING STRATEGIES WHEN COMPARING NEGATIVE TO THEIR
BEAUTY IDEAL
Figure 6.7 shows the distribution of results (%) when respondents were asked which coping
strategies they would engage in when comparing negatively to their beauty ideal. One hundred and
106
ninety one (191) respondents answered the question. Most of the respondents (38%) indicated that
they would accept the standard, and do nothing further to achieve it. However, thirty five percent
(35%) would accept the standard and try harder to reach the beauty ideal, while 23% would modify
their personal beauty standards. Least of the respondents (4%) indicated that they would modify
their cultural beauty standard. It should however be kept in mind, that from the previous results it
became clear that comparing themselves to others is not necessarily important to the respondents.
6.3.7 RESULTS OF OBJECTIVE 7 AND SUB-OBJECTIVES
OBJECTIVE 7: To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth’s appraisals of
Western-, African- and Euro-African fashion images as well as their subsequent reactions
6.3.7.1 Sub-objective 7.1:
To explore and describe the extent to which the women in the Mzansi Youth like the various fashion
images (Q16.1, Q17.1, Q18.1)
TABLE 6.8: EXTENT TO WHICH RESPONDENTS LIKE THE FASHION IMAGES
Like the image:
N
VERY YES
NOT SO NOT
MUCH
MUCH
AT ALL YES
NO
2
3
4
(1+2)
(3+4)
1
TOTAL:
WESTERN BEAUTY IDEAL
199 19%
39%
34%
8%
58%
42%
AFRICAN
199 12%
31%
39%
18%
43%
57%
197 41%
49%
9%
1%
90%
10%
BEAUTY IDEAL
EURO-AFRICAN
BEAUTY IDEAL
Table 6.8 illustrates the responses the respondents gave in questions 16.1, 17.1 and 18.1 when asked
if they like the fashion images portraying the various beauty ideals. Respondents were asked to tick
one of four boxes on a 4-point ordered set of options (yes, very much/ yes/ no, not so much/ no, not
at all). The last two columns in table 6.8 show the percentage of responses calculated for each
option. The first two options (1+2) were added, and the last two options (3+4) were added to obtain
a percentage for “Yes” and “No” responses only. This was done to simplify the results into a more
manageable and useful form, making it easier to interpret and to compare the results. Regarding the
107
Western beauty ideal photograph, 58% of respondents indicated that they like the image, and 42 %
did not like the image. Forty three percent (43%) indicated that they like the African beauty ideal,
while 57 % don‟t like it. With regard to the Euro-African beauty ideal 90% of respondents indicated
that they like the image, while only 10% did not like the image. The results show that the
respondents liked the Euro-African beauty ideal the most, and that the African beauty ideal
photograph was liked the least.
In addition to the results obtained above, it was also of interest to explore the reasons for liking or
not liking the various images. Question 16.2, Q17.2, and Q18.2 were open-ended questions, and
respondents had to indicate their reasons for liking or not liking the images, depending on their
answers in Q16.1, Q17.1 and Q18.1. Responses were coded in terms of answers that appeared most
frequently. The results are portrayed in the figures below:

Westernised fashion photograph (Q16.2)
22
Nice dress/ fashionable
Good fit/ Compliments
body
77
Nice colour
42
FIGURE 6.8.1: REASONS FOR LIKING THE IMAGE
Figure 6.8.1 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for liking the Westernised fashion
photograph. Question Q16.2 was an open-ended question, and results were coded in terms of the
answers that appeared most frequently. The respondents could give more than one reason for liking
the image, and therefore only values are given, and not percentages. Most of the respondents (77)
indicated that they like the Westernised image because it is a nice dress or the clothing featured in
the image is fashionable. Forty-two (42) respondents liked the images because the style is a good fit
for the model, or compliments her body, while 22 respondents liked the colour of the dress.
108
10
17
Too revealing
Too skinny/ Sends
wrong message
Not my style
56
FIGURE 6.8.2: REASONS FOR NOT LIKING THE IMAGE
Figure 6.8.2 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for not liking the Westernised fashion
photograph. Question Q16.2 was an open-ended question, and results were coded in terms of the
answers that appeared most frequently. The respondents could give more than one reason for not
liking the image, and therefore only values are given, and not percentages. Most of the respondents
(56) said they don‟t like the image, because the model is too skinny, and it sends the wrong message,
while 17 respondents did not like the image due to the fact that it is not their style. Ten (10)
respondents also indicated that the dress is too revealing.

African fashion photograph (Q17.2)
7
Like African image/
outfits
Cultural, yet modern
N= 68
61
FIGURE 6.8.3: REASONS FOR LIKING THE IMAGE
Figure 6.8.3 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for liking the African fashion photograph.
Question Q17.2 was an open-ended question, and results were coded in terms of the answers that
109
appeared most frequently. The respondents could give more than one reason for liking the image,
and therefore only values are given, and not percentages. Most of the respondents (61) gave the
reason “that they like the African image or African outfits”, while 7 respondents indicated that the
image is cultural yet modern, therefore liking the image. In this instance only two reasons for liking
the image were coded, as most respondents indicated that they did not like the African image, and
gave reasons, which will be discussed next.
5
Does not complement
body
Not my style/ Not
appealing
Too busy/ over the top
44
55
Too African/ Traditional/
Old fashioned
21
FIGURE 6.8.4: REASONS FOR NOT LIKING THE IMAGE
Figure 6.8.4 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for not liking the African fashion
photograph. Question Q17.2 was an open-ended question, and results were coded in terms of the
answers that appeared most frequently. Most of the respondents (55) said they did not like the image,
because it is not their style or the image is not appealing to them. Forty-four (44) respondents
indicated that the image is too African or too traditional and old fashioned. Twenty-one (21) of the
respondents said the image is too busy or over the top, while 5 respondents indicated that the outfit
does not complement the models‟ body.
110

Euro-African fashion photograph (Q18.2)
Like dress/ Fashionable
54
79
African, yet modern
My style/ can relate
Good colour
Stylish/ Attractive
34
25
19
FIGURE 6.8.5: REASONS FOR LIKING THE IMAGE
With regard to the Euro-African fashion photograph, figure 6.8.5 shows the reasons the respondents
indicated for liking the African fashion photograph. Question Q18.2 was an open-ended question,
and results were coded in terms of the answers that appeared most frequently, depending on whether
the respondents indicated in the previous question if they liked or did not like the image. Most of the
respondents indicated that they liked the Euro-African image, and gave reasons for their answer. Due
to this, most of the answers were coded with regard to reasons given for “liking” the image, and only
one reason for “not liking” the image. Most of the respondents (79) said they like the image, because
they like the dress or it is fashionable, while 54 respondents indicated that the image is African, yet
modern. Thirty-four respondents gave the reason “the dress is a good colour/ they like the colour”,
and 25 respondents said the image reflects their style, or they can relate to the image. Nineteen (19)
also indicated that the image is stylish/ attractive, therefore they like the image. The only reason
given (appearing most frequently) for not liking the image was that the dress is “not my style” (16
respondents).
6.3.7.2 Sub-objective 7.2:
To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟ evaluation of the various
images (Q16.10, Q17.10, Q18.10)
111
Western beauty
ideal
Traditional
African beauty
ideal
Euro-African
beauty ideal
Median
7
6
5
4
3
2
1
0
Eye-catching
For m e
Attractive
Appealing
Likeable
FIGURE 6.9: RESPONDENTS’ EVALUATIONS OF IMAGES
In questions 16.10, 17.10 and 18.10 respondents were asked to rate each of the fashion photographs
portraying the various beauty ideals on five, 7-point semantic differential scales, namely eye
catching/ not eye catching, for me/ not for me, appealing/ not appealing, likeable/ not likeable, and
attractive/ not attractive. (1) Was the score if respondents agreed with the aspect/ feature of the
photograph, and (7) the score if respondents did not agree with the feature/ aspect. Figure 6.9
illustrates the results of each of the 7-point semantic differential scales for each beauty ideal
category. To interpret the results in an effective manner, a median for each scale was calculated. The
lower the median, the more the respondents agreed with the specific aspect or feature of the
photograph, whereas the higher the median, the less the respondents agreed with the aspect or
feature of the photograph. The Euro-African beauty ideal scored the lowest median across all five 7point semantic differential scales, and it is clear that the respondents liked the photograph depicting
the Euro-African beauty ideal the best. The African beauty ideal, and the Western beauty ideals‟
scores were very similar, however, the Western beauty ideal scored slightly lower medians for “eyecatching” and “attractive”. It can therefore be interpreted that the respondents liked the African
beauty ideal the least, when considering the medians across all five 7-point semantic differential
scales, and liked the Euro-African fashion photograph the most. The results obtained here; therefore
verify the results obtained in the sub-objective 7.1, as the outcome was the same when respondents
were asked to indicate the extent to which they like the various fashion images.
112
6.3.7.3. Sub-objective 7.3:
To explore and describe how the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment relate to the specific
images in terms of dress, cultural background and appearance (Q16.13, Q17.13, Q18.13)
TABLE 6.9: EXTENT TO WHICH RESPONDENTS RELATE TO THE IMAGES
Do you relate to the image i.t.o.
N
VERY
MAYBE
LIKELY
culture, appearance and
VERY
UNLIKELY
dress?:
WESTERN BEAUTY IDEAL
198
16%
27%
57%
AFRICAN
198
24%
52%
24%
194
51%
38%
11%
BEAUTY IDEAL
EURO-AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
When respondents were asked in questions 16.13, 17.13, and 18.13 to indicate if they relate to the
three various fashion images in terms of culture, appearance and dress, the perceived similarity
scale was used. Respondents had to indicate if they relate to the fashion photograph, using a threepoint ordered set of options ranging from 1 (very likely) to 3 (very unlikely). Referring to table
6.9, the fashion photograph that the respondents related to the most, was the Euro-African beauty
ideal image, with 51% of respondents indicated that they “very likely” relate to the fashion
photograph. The image the respondents related to the least however, was the Western beauty ideal
photograph, as 57% of respondents indicated that it is “very unlikely” that they relate to the image.
6.3.7.4 Sub-objective 7.4:
To explore and describe the extent to which the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment would
compare themselves with the images (Q16.5, Q17.5, Q18.5 and Q16.9, Q17.9, Q18.9)
113
5%
DEFINITELY
16%
PROBABLY
PROBABLY NOT
NOT AT ALL
46%
33%
(N=196)
FIGURE 6.10.1: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO WESTERN BEAUTY IDEAL
Figure 6.10.1 shows the distribution of results obtained from question 16.5. One hundred and ninety
six (196) respondents answered the question. Respondents were asked to view a fashion photograph
reflecting a typical Western beauty ideal, and to indicate if they would compare themselves to it, by
ticking one of four boxes (definitely, probably, probably not, or not at all). Most of the respondents
(46%) indicated that they would not compare themselves to the Westernised fashion photograph,
33% said probably not, 16% said probably, and only 5% said definitely. This result shows that most
of the respondents will not compare themselves to the Western beauty ideal.
9%
15%
DEFINITELY
PROBABLY
PROBABLY NOT
NOT AT ALL
26%
50%
(N=196)
FIGURE 6.10.2: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO EURO-AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
114
Figure 6.10.2 shows the distribution of results obtained from question 18.5. Respondents were asked
to view a fashion photograph reflecting a typical Euro-African beauty ideal, and to indicate if they
would compare themselves to it, by ticking one of four boxes (definitely, probably, probably not, or
not at all). One hundred and ninety six (196) respondents answered the question. Least of the
respondents (9%) indicated that they would not compare themselves at all, and 26% said probably
not. Most respondents (50%) said they would probably compare themselves, and 15% said
definitely. This result shows that most of the respondents will probably compare themselves to the
Euro-African beauty ideal.
DEFINITELY
5%
19%
35%
PROBABLY
PROBABLY NOT
NOT AT ALL
41%
(N=198)
FIGURE 6.10.3: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
Figure 6.10.3 shows the distribution of results obtained from question 17.5. One hundred and ninety
eight (198) respondents answered the question. Respondents were asked to view a fashion
photograph portraying an African beauty ideal, and to indicate if they would compare themselves to
it, by ticking one of four boxes (definitely, probably, probably not, or not at all). Thirty five percent
(35%) of the respondents indicated that they would not compare themselves at all, while 41% said
probably not, 19% said probably, and only 5% said definitely. This result shows that most of the
respondents will probably not compare themselves to the African beauty ideal.
115
TABLE 6.10: EXTENT OF COMPARISON TO THE VARIOUS BEAUTY IDEALS
Definitely Probably Probably not
Not at all TOTAL:
WOULD
1
4
WOULD
NOT
(1+2)
(3+4)
2
3
WESTERNISED
5%
16%
33%
46%
21%
79%
AFRICAN
5%
19%
41%
35%
24%
76%
EURO-AFRICAN
15%
50%
26%
9%
65%
35%
Table 6.10 summarises the results obtained from Q16.5, Q17.5 and Q18.5, in sub-objective 7.4,
which illustrate the comparison between the extents to which the women in the Mzansi Youth would
compare themselves to the various images. The last two columns in table 6.10 show the percentage
of responses calculated for each option. The first two options (1+2) were added, and the last two
options (3+4) were added to obtain a percentage for “Would compare” and “Would not compare”
responses only. This was done to simplify the results into a more manageable and useful form,
making it easier to interpret and to compare the results. When comparing the results in table 6.10, it
seems as though the respondents would compare themselves to the Euro-African beauty ideal the
most (65%), with the African beauty ideal in second place (24%), followed be the Westernised
beauty ideal (21%), although the last two beauty ideals‟ scores were very closely related. One can
therefore assume that most of the targeted consumers would rather compare themselves to the EuroAfrican beauty ideal, than to the African or Westernised beauty ideals.
In addition to the results discussed above, it was also of interest to explore which aspects the
respondents would compare, and which aspects they would not compare with regard to the various
fashion photographs. Question 16.6, Q17.6, and Q18.6 were open-ended questions, and respondents
had to indicate which aspects they would compare, and which not, depending on their answers in
Q16.5, Q17.5 and Q18.5. Responses were coded in terms of answers that appeared most frequently.
The results are portrayed in the figures below:
116

Westernised fashion photograph (Q16.6)
Body/ Size/ Shape
70
60
50
40
30
20
10
0
Dress/ Style
Total Package
Body (too skinny)
Dress (not my style)
Will compare
Won't compare
Nothing (I don't look
like that)
FIGURE 6.11.1: WHICH ASPECTS THEY WILL AND WON’T COMPARE
Figure 6.11.1 shows the aspects the respondents indicated that they would compare with regard to
the Westernised fashion photograph, and which aspects they would not compare. Results obtained
from Q16.6 were coded in terms of answers that appeared most frequently. Twenty-four (24)
respondents indicated that they would compare their body or shape or size, while 26 respondents
indicated that they would compare their dress or style. Eight (8) also indicated that they would
compare the total package. It should be noted that most of the respondents indicated that they would
not compare themselves to the Westernised image, and therefore most answers given were with
regard to aspects they would not compare. Sixty-three (63) respondents said they would not compare
their body, as the model is too skinny, while 40 respondents said they would compare nothing, as
they don‟t look like the model in the image. Twenty-two also indicated that they would not compare
their dress style, as is it not their style. Here it should be noted that the body came out as important
in the ideal of beauty of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment. Although it is probably not
important for these respondents to compare themselves to others, they would certainly not compare
their bodies to a body that is, according to their beauty standards, not beautiful (too skinny).
117

African fashion photograph (Q17.6)
Body/ Shape
80
African look/ Culture
60
Dress
40
Body
20
Dress
0
Will compare
Won't compare
Nothing-not my style
FIGURE 6.11.2: WHICH ASPECTS THEY WILL AND WON’T COMPARE
With regard to the African fashion photograph, (refer to figure 6.11.2) shows the aspects the
respondents indicated that they would compare and which aspects they would not compare. Results
obtained from Q17.6 were coded in terms of answers that appeared most frequently. It should be
noted that most of the respondents indicated that they would not compare themselves to the African
image, and therefore most answers given were with regard to aspects they would not compare.
Eighteen (18) respondents said they would compare their body or shape, while 22 said they would
compare the African look or culture portrayed in the image, and 27 respondents indicated that they
would compare their dress style. With regard to aspects they would not compare, most of the
respondents (76) said they would compare nothing, as it is not their style, while 17 indicated that
they would not compare their dress style, and 8 indicated they would not compare their body to that
of the model in the African image.
118

Euro-African fashion photograph (Q18.6)
Dress/ Style
100
80
Hair
60
Body
40
Dress/ Not my style
20
Body
0
Will compare
Won't compare
Hair
FIGURE 6.11.3: WHICH ASPECTS THEY WILL AND WON’T COMPARE
Figure 6.11.3 shows the aspects the respondents indicated that they would compare with regard to
the Euro-African fashion photograph, and which aspects they would not compare. Results obtained
from Q18.6 were coded in terms of answers that appeared most frequently. Here it should be noted,
that although the targeted group (taking into consideration previous results regarding social
comparison), would prefer not to compare themselves to those of others, but with regard to the three
fashion photographs in the questionnaire, they indicated that they would rather compare themselves
to the Euro-African image, than the other two fashion photographs in the questionnaire. Most
answers given in this instance were with regard to aspects they would compare to the Euro-African
image. Most of the respondents (95) said they would compare the dress or style, while 36 indicated
body, and 33 their hair. With regard to aspects they would not compare to the Euro-African image,
19 respondents said they would not compare their body, while 15 indicated dress, as it is not their
style, and 8 respondents indicated they would not compare their hairstyle. From the results obtained
here, it is interesting that “hair” came up frequently, which gives the idea that hairstyle is an
important aspect to the targeted group, which is also confirmed by the results obtained in Objective
1, with regard to aspects they view as important in their ideal of beauty. Dress style, which was the
reason given the most for comparing also came out as the most important aspect in the beauty ideal
of this group (Objective 1).
Furthermore, with regard to comparison to each of the beauty ideals portrayed in the fashion
photographs in the questionnaire, respondents also had to indicate the reasons for comparing
119
themselves to each of the photographs respectively (i.e. Western image, African image, and the
Euro-African image). The results obtained from Q16.7, Q17.7, and Q18.7 are summarised in table
6.7.4.5 below:
TABLE 6.11: REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE VARIOUS IMAGES (Q16.7, Q17.7,
Q18.7)
To fit into
To see
To make
To feel better
N=
group
shortcomings
comparisons
WESTERNISED
12%
30%
42%
16%
57
AFRICAN
32%
21%
29%
18%
58
EURO-AFRICAN
10%
28%
45%
17%
127
Table 6.11 summarises the results obtained from Q16.7, Q17.7, and Q18.7. Respondents indicating
in Q16.5, Q16.5 and Q17.5 that they would compare themselves to the images, had to answer the
questions. It is clear from the last column (N=), that most respondents indicated that they would
compare themselves to the Euro-African image, as most respondents (127) answered Q18.7, in
comparison to the other two images, where only (57 and 58 respondents) answered the questions.
One can therefore argue that most respondents would compare themselves to the Euro-African
image (as also evident in results discussed previously), more so than to the African or Westernised
images. With regard to the Euro-African image, most respondents (45%) indicated that they would
compare to the image, to help them see how they relate in comparison to others.
In addition to the answers discussed above, it was also of interest to explore other reasons (not the
listed options given above in Q16.7, Q17.7, and Q18.7), for respondents indicating that they would
compare themselves to the specific fashion images in question. Only respondents indicating in
Q16.5, Q17.5 and Q18.5 that they would compare themselves to the specific image, had to answer
the questions in Q16.8, Q17.8 and Q18.8. The results will be discussed below:
120

Westernised fashion photograph (Q16.8)
12
9
6
3
0
Fashionable
Body/Shape
Presentation
Dress
Overall package
Want to look like
model/ Improve
FIGURE 6.12.1: OTHER REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE WESTERN IMAGE
Figure 6.12.1 display other reasons respondents gave for comparing to the Westernised fashion
photograph. It should be noted that few respondents answered Q16.8, and answers were coded with
regard to those that appeared most frequently. Ten (10) respondents indicated that they would
compare to the Western image because they want to look like the model in the image, or want to
improve their body, 6 said the reason they would compare is because the image portrayed is
fashionable, 5 indicated that they like the dress, others indicated that they would compare because
their body or shape is similar to that of the model (4 respondents), and another reason given is they
like the overall package (4 respondents). Only one respondent said she liked the presentation, and
would therefore compare herself to the image.
121

African fashion photograph (Q17.8)
20
16
12
8
4
0
Can relate to
culture
Sim ilar body/
Shape
Like African
look/ outfits
Sim ilar to ow n Peer pressure
taste
FIGURE 6.12.2: OTHER REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE AFRICAN IMAGE
Figure 6.12.2 display other reasons respondents gave for comparing to the African fashion
photograph. It should be noted that few respondents answered Q17.8, and answers were coded with
regard to those that appeared most frequently. Sixteen respondents (16) indicated that they would
compare to the image because they can “relate” to the image, 12 said they would compare because
the style is similar to their taste, 7 said they like the African look or outfit and would therefore
compare, while only 3 respondents said that the reason for comparing is because they have a similar
body to the model. Two (2) respondents also said they would compare to the African image because
of peer pressure to conform to the cultural fashion norm.
122

Euro-African fashion photograph (Q17.8)
30
25
20
15
10
5
0
My style/ dress
Can relate
To compare body
Help to look
good/ to improve
Helps with
fashion ideas
Want to look like
model
FIGURE 6.12.3: OTHER REASONS FOR COMPARING TO THE EURO-AFRICAN
IMAGE
Figure 6.12.3 display other reasons respondents gave for comparing to the Euro-African fashion
photograph. Q18.8 was an open-ended question and answers were coded with regard to those that
appeared most frequently. Twenty-nine (29) respondents indicated the reason for comparing to the
Euro-African image, as “my style or dress”, 28 gave the reason “can relate” to the image, 12 said
they would compare to the image because it helps with fashion ideas, while 11 respondents indicated
the reason for comparing as “helps to look good or improve their fashion sense”. Another 11
respondents said that the reason for comparing to the image is because they want to look like the
model in the fashion photograph, and least respondents (8) indicated they would compare, because
they can compare their body to that of the model.
Respondents were asked about their coping strategies when they engaged in comparison with the
various images portraying the three different beauty ideals. The results are illustrated in the table
below:
123
TABLE 6.12: COPING STRATEGIES IN CASE OF NEGATIVE COMPARISON (Q16.9,
Q17.9, Q18.9)
COPING STRATEGIES
Western
African
Euro-African
Beauty ideal
Beauty ideal
Beauty ideal
(N=110)
(N=100)
(N=78)
Try harder to reach standard
17%
8%
31%
Accept standard, do nothing further
57%
54%
44%
Modify Personal standard
20%
17%
17%
Modify Cultural standard
6%
21%
21%
Table 6.12 illustrates the results obtained from questions 16.9, 17.9 and 18.9. Respondents were
asked which coping strategies they would engage in, if they compared negatively to the beauty
ideal depicted in each of the fashion photographs. In the case of the Western beauty ideal, one
hundred and ten (110) respondents answered the question, and most of the respondents (57%)
indicated that they would accept the standard, but do nothing to achieve it. Regarding the African
beauty ideal, one hundred (100) respondents answered the question and most of them (54%) said
they would accept the standard, but do nothing further to achieve it. Lastly, in the case of the EuroAfrican beauty ideal, seventy eight (78) respondents answered the question and most of the
respondents (44%) indicated that they would accept the standard, but do nothing further to achieve
it, however 31% did indicate that they would accept the standard and try harder to reach it. It
therefore appears that when they compare negatively to the various beauty ideals, most of the
respondents across all three of the beauty ideals would use the same coping strategy, namely “to
accept the standard, and do nothing further to achieve it”. The only major difference noticeable
regarding coping strategies across the 3 beauty ideals, is that 31% of respondents indicated that
they would “accept the standard, and try harder to reach it”, in the case of the Euro-African beauty
ideal. This could be due to the fact that respondents scored this particular fashion photograph the
highest (most favourable) throughout the various questions in the study, therefore preferring and
liking this image, and they would probably attempt to reach the standard portrayed in the fashion
image, more so than in comparison with the other two beauty ideals portrayed in the two fashion
photographs.
It is interesting to compare these results to the results obtained from objective 6 discussed earlier
(refer to Figure 6.7), as both sets of results deal with the coping strategies the respondents would
124
engage in when comparing negatively. The only difference is that in objective 6, respondents had
to indicate the coping strategy they would use when comparing negatively to their own specific
fashion ideal of beauty, whereas here, respondents had to indicate which coping strategy they
would engage in when comparing themselves to each of the various beauty ideals. In each
instance, the results relate closely to one another, as most respondents also indicated in results
obtained from objective 6, that they would accept the standard, and do nothing further to achieve
it, which correlate to the results obtained across all three beauty ideals. This is in line with the fact
that personal/ individual “me” is probably more important to the respondents, than changing their
appearance just to compare favourably to others.
6.3.7.5 Sub-objective 7.5:
To explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment‟s willingness to buy fashion
magazines with the above images (Q16.3, Q17.3, Q18.3 and Q16.12, Q17.12, Q18.12)
Two questions were asked to explore respondents‟ willingness to purchase fashion magazines with
the various images portrayed in the questionnaire. In the first instance (Q16.3, Q17.3, Q18.3),
respondents had to indicate on a 4-point ordered set of options, the “extent” to which they would
consider purchasing a fashion magazine featuring similar images, whereas in the second instance
(Q16.12, Q17.12, Q18.12), respondents had to indicate their “intent” to purchase a magazine with
similar images. Both are discussed below.
TABLE 6.13: EXTENT TO WHICH MAGAZINES WOULD BE PURCHASED
Would you purchase a N
Definitely Probably Probably Not at
not
magazine featuring
all
TOTAL:
PROBABLY PROBABLY
NOT
similar images?:
1
WESTERN BEAUTY
2
3
4
(1+2)
(3+4)
199 16%
46%
31%
7%
62%
38%
198 8%
42%
33%
17%
50%
50%
197 38%
51%
9%
2%
89%
11%
IDEAL
AFRICAN
BEAUTY IDEAL
EURO-AFRICAN
BEAUTY IDEAL
125
Table 6.13 illustrates the results obtained from questions 16.3, 17.3 and 18.3. Respondents were
asked to indicate if they would purchase a fashion magazine featuring the fashion images portraying
the various beauty ideals. Respondents were asked to tick one of four boxes on a 4-point ordered set
of options (definitely, probably, probably not, or not at all). The last two columns in table 6.13 show
the percentage of responses calculated for each option. Columns (1+2) were added together, and
columns (3+4) were added together to obtain a percentage for “Probably” and “Probably not”
responses only. This was done to simplify the results into a more manageable and useful form,
making it easier to interpret and to compare the results. Sixty two percent (62%) of the respondents
said they would probably purchase a magazine featuring Western beauty ideal fashion images, and
38% indicated that they would not. Half of respondents said that they would purchase a magazine
featuring similar images portraying the African beauty ideal, and the other half of respondents
indicated that they would probably not. Most of the respondents (89%) indicated that they would
probably purchase a magazine featuring fashion images portraying the Euro-African beauty ideal,
and only 11% said that they probably wouldn‟t. This means that the Euro-African beauty ideal
photograph once again scored the highest results when asked if they would purchase a magazine
featuring similar images, and the African beauty ideal scored the lowest amongst the respondents, as
was the case when respondents were asked if they liked the various fashion images in the previous
sub-objective. The results therefore correlate with the results from sub-objective 7.1, which gives a
clear indication of respondents‟ preferences regarding the three fashion photographs portraying the
various beauty ideals.
In addition to the results obtained above, it was also of interest to explore the reasons for purchasing
or not purchasing magazines featuring the various images. Question 16.4, Q17.4, and Q18.4 were
open-ended questions, and respondents had to indicate their reasons for indicating that they would
purchasing or not purchase magazines with similar images, depending on their answers in Q16.3,
Q17.3 and Q18.3. Responses were coded in terms of answers that appeared most frequently. The
results are portrayed in the figures below:
126

Westernised fashion photograph (Q16.4)
9
24
My Style/
Fashionable
To see latest trends/
get ideas for fashion
Good model, inspire
to improve
82
FIGURE 6.13.1: REASONS FOR PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING WESTERN
IMAGES
Figure 6.13.1 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for purchasing a magazine featuring
similar images to the Westernised fashion photograph. Question Q16.4 was an open-ended question,
and results were coded in terms of the answers that appeared most frequently. The respondents could
give more than one reason for purchasing a magazine with similar images, and therefore only values
are given, and not percentages. Most of the respondents (82) said they would purchase such a
magazine to see the latest trends or get ideas for fashion, 24 respondents said that it is their style or
the image is fashionable, while 9 respondents gave the reason that the image portrays a good model,
and it inspired them to improve themselves.
127
11
27
Not my style
The model is too
skinny
Boring/ Not attractive
30
FIGURE 6.13.2: REASONS FOR NOT PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
WESTERN IMAGES
Figure 6.13.2 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for not purchasing a magazine featuring
similar images to the Westernised fashion photograph. Respondents indicating in Q16.3 that they
would not purchase a magazine with similar images to the Westernised fashion image, gave the
following reasons: Thirty (30) respondents said the model is too skinny, and 27 said it is “not my
style”, while 11 indicated the image is boring or not attractive.

African fashion photograph (Q17.4)
9
Want to explore
African look/ can
relate
9
Give ideas for
ceremony outfits
Cultural/ yet modern
64
FIGURE 6.13.3: REASONS FOR PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING AFRICAN
IMAGES
128
Figure 6.13.3 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for purchasing a magazine featuring
similar images to the African fashion photograph. Question Q17.4 was an open-ended question, and
results were coded in terms of the answers that appeared most frequently. The respondents could
give more than one reason for purchasing a magazine with similar images, and therefore only values
are given, and not percentages. Most of the respondents (64) indicated that they would purchase a
magazine with African images, as they want to explore the African look, or they can relate to the
image, while 9 said it gives ideas for ceremony outfits, such as weddings, and another 9 respondents
indicated that the image portrayed is cultural, yet modern.
23
Not my style
Not interested in
African look
14
59
Not Appealing/ too
old fashioned
FIGURE 6.13.4: REASONS FOR NOT PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING
AFRICAN IMAGES
Figure 6.13.4 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for not purchasing a magazine featuring
similar images to the African fashion photograph. Respondents indicating in Q17.3 that they would
not purchase a magazine with similar images to the African fashion image, gave the following
reasons: Fifty-nine (59) respondents said it is not their style of dressing, and 14 said they are not
interested in the African look, while 23 respondents indicated the image is not appealing or too old
fashioned.
129

Euro-African fashion photograph (Q18.4)
11
30
23
Like dress/ want to
see more
My style/ fashionable
Can relate
Cultural, yet modern
104
FIGURE 6.13.5: REASONS FOR PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING EUROAFRICAN IMAGES
Figure 6.13.5 shows the reasons the respondents indicated for purchasing a magazine featuring
similar images to the Euro-African fashion photograph. Question Q18.4 was an open-ended
question, and results were coded in terms of the answers that appeared most frequently. The
respondents could give more than one reason for purchasing a magazine with similar images, and
therefore only values are given, and not percentages. Most of the respondents (104) indicated that
they would purchase a magazine featuring Euro-African images, as it is their style, or fashionable,
while 30 said they like the dress in the image and would like to see more similar images. Twentythree (23) respondents indicated that they can relate to the image, and will therefore purchase such a
magazine, and 11 respondents indicated that the image is cultural, yet modern. When comparing the
results from this question about the reasons for purchasing a magazine featuring Euro-African
images, to those of the other two images in the questionnaire (discussed above), it is clear that most
of the respondents would consider purchasing a magazine featuring Euro-African images, as most
respondents answered this particular question (Q18.4) positively, and gave reasons in that regard.
The results obtained here, also relate to the results obtained in sub-objective 7.5, which dealt with
the extent to which certain magazines featuring the different images would be purchased, thereby
confirming the results obtained here.
130
4
Not my style
Not for me
11
FIGURE 6.13.6: REASONS FOR NOT PURCHASING MAGAZINE FEATURING EUROAFRICAN IMAGES
With regard to reasons given for not purchasing a magazine featuring similar images to the EuroAfrican fashion photograph, only few respondents gave reasons, as least respondents indicated in
Q18.3 that they would not purchase a magazine with similar images. Figure 6.13.6 shows the
reasons the respondents indicated for not purchasing a magazine featuring similar images than the
Euro-African fashion photograph. The two reasons coded that came to the fore most frequently
were: Eleven (11) respondents said it is not their style of dressing, and only 4 respondents gave the
reason “not for me”. This was anticipated, as most respondents indicated that they would in fact
purchase a magazine featuring similar images to the Euro-African fashion photograph.
TABLE 6.14: INTENT TO PURCHASE MAGAZINE FEATURING SIMILAR IMAGES
Would you purchase a magazine
N
VERY
MAYBE
LIKELY
featuring similar images?:
VERY
UNLIKELY
WESTERN BEAUTY IDEAL
199
29%
50%
21%
AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
197
17%
44%
39%
EURO-AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
194
65%
28%
7%
Table 6.14 illustrates the results obtained from questions 16.12, 17.12 and 18.12. Respondents
were asked to indicate their intent to purchase a fashion magazine typically featuring fashion
photographs portraying each of the three beauty ideals respectively. From table 6.14 it is clear that
most of the respondents (65%) indicated that they would very likely purchase a magazine
131
depicting the Euro-African beauty ideal in fashion photographs. The African beauty ideal fashion
photograph again scored the worst, as 39% of respondents indicated that it is very unlikely that
they would purchase such a magazine. The results obtained from these questions, therefore verifies
the results obtained in the previous version (the only difference being that here the respondents‟
intent to purchase the fashion magazine was measured, and not the extent, as was the case in the
previous question).
6.3.7.6 Sub-objective 7.6:
To explore and describe the women in the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment‟s intentions to
buy similar clothing than in the fashion images (Q16.11, Q17.11, Q18.11)
TABLE 6.15: INTENT TO PURCHASE CLOTHING FEATURED IN THE IMAGES
Would you purchase the
N
clothing featured in the image portraying
VERY
MAYBE
LIKELY
VERY
UNLIKELY
the:
WESTERN BEAUTY IDEAL
198
20%
44%
36%
AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
197
12%
25%
63%
EURO-AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
194
56%
35%
9%
Questions 16.11, 17.11 and 18.11 asked the respondents if they would purchase the clothing
featured in each of the fashion photographs depicting the various beauty ideals. As seen in table
6.15, fifty six percent (56%) indicated that they would very likely purchase the clothing featured in
the Euro-African beauty ideal fashion photograph, which scored the highest of all three images.
Most of the respondents indicated that they would very unlikely purchase the clothing featured in
the African beauty ideal image (63%). The Euro-African beauty ideal photograph once again
scored the best in this category, with the African beauty ideal image scoring the lowest of the three
fashion images. A very clear theme is therefore being noticed, throughout the results obtained in
the study. This is said because the respondents scored the Euro-African beauty ideal the highest,
and the African beauty ideal the lowest with regard to almost all of the various questions
pertaining to the fashion photographs in the questionnaire.
132
6.4. CONCLUSION
With the results of the study in mind, the upcoming chapter will focus on the discussion and
interpretation of the results against the viewpoints of the theories that were chosen as conceptual
background for the study, as well as the work of previous researchers. Other theories deemed
necessary for interpretation of the results, will also be considered.
133
CHAPTER 7
DISCUSSION OF RESULTS AND INTERPRETATION
7.1. INTRODUCTION
The interpretation of data implies that the broader meaning and the implication of the research
results as well as their congruence or lack of congruence with the results of other researchers are
sought (Trochim, 2006). Whereas the conceptual definition of interpretation includes both “the
search for meaning” and “the search for implication”, this chapter only focuses on the meaning of
the research results. The implication of the results is dealt with in Chapter 8.
The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black
Diamond consumer group‟s social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images.
In this chapter the research results are discussed and interpreted against the viewpoints of the
theories that were chosen as conceptual background for this research, the work of previous
researchers and other theories deemed necessary for the interpretation of the results. The discussion
and interpretation is presented in a specific sequence, as set out by the objectives of the study.
7.2. DEMOGRAPHICS
Most of the respondents indicated that they live in urban areas, meaning that the targeted consumers
are not from a primitive background, and have probably been exposed to the influences of modern
society in the cities of South Africa, which could mean that they are likely to be interested in modern
trends and fashions, as they are part of modern society. The majority of the respondents also
indicated that they are only students at the present time. The results show an accurate reflection of
the intended target market, as the description of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment are
said to be mostly students that are studying toward their future, aspiring and future focused, with a
passion and drive for education (Olivier, 2007:181). Furthermore, the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
has been described as consisting of mostly younger people that are generally optimistic and have a
go-getting style of living, which is consistent with the results obtained from respondents (being that
they are between 18 and 24 years of age) in this study. This sub-segment is said to have the desire,
energy, drive and the time to better themselves in the future, which could be the reason for the
majority of respondents indicating that they are indeed studying, as was anticipated (The new black
135
middle class, 2006). It is interesting that 35% of the respondents indicated that they are presently
working as well, which could mean that they may have extra money that could be spent on luxury
items such as fashionable clothes and fashion magazines.
With regard to magazine consumption of the targeted group, respondents were asked to indicate the
frequency with which they read fashion magazines, whether it being on a daily, weekly, or monthly
basis. Thirty two percent (32%) of the respondents read fashion magazines on a monthly basis, while
25% of respondents indicated that they read fashion magazines on a weekly basis. When these two
figures are added together, is becomes clear that the majority of the respondents read fashion
magazines every week or at least every month. Results obtained from the study by Unilever Institute
of Strategic Marketing (2006), showed that Black Diamonds generally have rather fast paced lives,
and they face a variety of demands on their time, which could have been the reason why not more of
the respondents read fashion magazines on a daily or weekly basis. From the results however, it is
clear that fashion magazines are seen as attractive reading material by the targeted consumers, as
most of the respondents indicated favourably towards reading fashion magazines on at least a weekly
or monthly basis. A reason for this may be, because magazines seem to invite casual reading for
people with more pre-occupations and less time (as is the case with the Mzansi-Youth) (Internet:
Talent- Young Things, 2006).
It was also of interest to gather information on the Mzansi-Youths‟ preference for fashion
magazines, as previous research conducted by the Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing (2006),
indicated that the women in the Black Diamond consumer groups‟ favourite magazine most closely
related to the fashion magazine genre, is “True Love” (Internet: Talent- Young Things, 2006). One
hundred and ten (110) respondents indicated that they read “Cosmopolitan”, 85 respondents
“ELLE”, and 85 respondents “Glamour”. These 3 magazines had the highest frequency, which is
interesting because this could mean that the targeted consumers are specifically interested in fashion
magazines, and not general magazines such as “People” and “True Love”, as was anticipated
considering the results conducted by the Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing. It is also
interesting that their three favourite fashion magazines are all international fashion magazines
(although a national edition) that are available locally here in South Africa. Although these
magazines are available in the form of different editions for each country or area of the world, and
vary to some degree in editorial and advertising content, they are not entirely different. It should
however be noted, that these international fashion magazines that are available in South Africa do
136
not necessarily embody ethnic and racial identities that are related to the country‟s readership in
South Africa.
When respondents had to indicate why they read fashion magazines, most of the respondents
indicated that fashion is the reason for reading fashion magazines, while other important reasons
were “beauty” and “to keep up to date”. It is known that in general, readers read fashion magazines
for information pertaining to new trends and styles (Watt, 1999:2). Fashion magazines tell readers
what the current trends are, as well as the names behind them and where the fashion items or clothes
can be purchased, meaning that fashion magazines therefore legitimize fashion and the world of
fashion in cultural terms (Moeran, 2006: 732).
7.3. IDEAL OF BEAUTY
Most people within their culture strive to achieve a specific ideal of beauty that is currently popular
or accepted in their culture (Englis et al., 1994:50). Objective 1 was formulated to explore and
describe the importance of specific beauty standards in the beauty ideal of the women in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group. Previous research suggested that
consumers of different ethnic backgrounds have varying beliefs about what is defined as “beautiful”
in each of their cultures (Englis et al., 1994:50). The notion of “What is beautiful” can thus be
described as “a culturally constituted phenomenon that happens because of common socialisation
experiences amongst people of a certain culture or ethnicity” (Englis et al., 1994:50). It therefore
became necessary to determine which aspects are important to the consumer group of this study with
regard to their ideal of beauty.
When respondents had to rank the importance of hairstyle, dress, body, accessories and skin colour,
in their beauty ideal, hairstyle was ranked as being the most important, with dress and body
following closely in second and third place. One can therefore anticipate that hairstyle, dress and
body have the most important influence on the respondents‟ perception of what is beautiful, and
should be taken into consideration when one wants to reach this target market. Skin colour was
ranked as being least important to the sample with regard to their beauty ideal, which is very
interesting, as it was anticipated that skin colour would affect their evaluations of what is beautiful.
This does however not necessarily mean that skin colour is not at all important to them; it could be
that the other given aspects are only considered to be of higher importance to them, when faced with
137
ranking the aspects important in their ideal of beauty. Body, dress style and hairstyle were also the
most important aspects respondents indicated that they would compare with their ideal of beauty.
Body image can be defined as “the mental perception of one‟s body, and may influence the general
desire for aesthetic products” (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:92). According to Rubin et al. (2003) there are
culturally based differences in aesthetic body ideals. Body size, features and shape of the women of
colour in South Africa probably differ greatly from mainstream representations of female beauty
from the Western world. This still remains an interesting point in this study, as it seems as though
the respondents prefer reading internationally based fashion magazines, which largely convey
representations of female beauty from the Western world. However, a reason for this may be, that
there is no fashion magazine currently available in South Africa, specifically catering for this market
segment, and therefore these readers have to turn to those fashion magazines most closely related to
their interests. International research has shown that that there are important differences in body
concepts and ideals of beauty among white consumers and their black counterparts (Rubin et al.,
2003:52). This was the specific reason for wanting to gain insight into the groups‟ concept of what is
beautiful, and distinguishing those aspects that differ from other consumer groups, especially those
depicted in fashion magazines from a Western origin.
7.4. THE ROLE OF PERSONAL- AND SOCIAL IDENTITY
With the focus on fashion, appearance is evaluated and compared by the targeted consumers on the
basis of either cultural factors or personal factors (Lennon et. al., 1999:191). People create an
appearance by means of clothing to decorate, shape and adorn their bodies to be presented to others.
Personal factors often affect how people evaluate and compare their own and other‟s appearance,
which are mostly influenced by individual levels of self-esteem and attitudes towards factors such as
body image (Lennon et al., 1999:191). Cultural factors also affect the way people evaluate their own
appearances as well as those of others. It has become clear that beliefs surrounding cultural factors
regarding fashion and beauty may differ among people in different societies and countries. Against
the background of identity theory (Hogg et al., 1995; Stets & Burke, 2000; Stryker & Burke; 2000)
and social identity theory (Tajfel & Turner, 1979; Hogg et al., 1995; Stets & Burke, 2000), it was
further reasoned that the respondents‟ beauty ideal would either be directed by a personal identity
(directed by individual qualities and a Westernised emphasis on power), or a social identity (in this
case sub-cultural identity, with the emphasis on self-categorisation, social comparison and group-
138
belonging). Objective 2 was formulated toc explore and describe the role of personal and social (subcultural) identity in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment's preference for specific appearance qualities.
It was clear from the results that most of the respondents want to be acknowledged as an individual
person, and that their appearance should show their personal qualities. Most of the respondents also
indicated that it is important to them that their appearance shows that they are proud of their personal
qualities. It therefore seems as if it is more important for the respondents to be acknowledged as an
individual person and for their personal qualities, rather than for a Westernised fashion style or
beauty ideal, as all statements relating to a Westernised style or ideal, were scored as being not
important to the respondents.
Although it was important for the respondents to be seen as an African women and up-coming
African student, it was however, not important to them that their appearance or dress should
resemble those of others, in this case African friends and models. It became very clear that it is
important to the respondents to be acknowledged for who they are as an up-coming African
individual, rather than to show others that they belong to a specific cultural, sub-cultural or social
group. A factor analysis showed three factors emerging from the results, namely factor 1 that
portrays an anti-Westernised viewpoint, a factor 2 that portrays an anti-African viewpoint, and a
factor 3 with a strong emphasis on the individual and individual qualities, named “enabling me”. A
reason for a third factor to come to the fore here, could be because the women in the Mzansi Youth
sub-segment lives in a society here in South Africa that is becoming all the more influenced by
Western ideologies, and economic models, which seems to be causing a shift from collectivism to
individualism (Stevens, Garth, Lockhat & Rafiq, 1997). Furthermore, according to Stevens et al.
(1997), this phenomenon can be referred to as the “Coca-Cola” culture, which is said to be the
embracing of the American concept of individualism, competition, individualistic aspirations and
general worldview. A study conducted on young students in South Africa, also showed that
language, religion, culture and ethnicity were mentioned less often when they had to describe their
future identity aspirations in comparison to their self-concepts (Franchi & Swart, 2002:219). This
leads to the implication that cultural standards could be viewed as becoming less important, in
comparison to individualistic standards, as conveyed in the results discussed above. This point was
also conveyed in previous research conducted on the Black Diamonds, which showed that the
importance of culture is expressed by the Mzansi-Youth sub-segment, as them appreciating the
basics, but their commitment and good sentiment regarding culture is declining (Black Diamond
survey, 2007:99). This aspect is especially significant when comparing their views on culture in
139
relation to the other sub-segments in the Black Diamond consumer group (the others still view
culture to be very important in their lives). This is an important point to consider when wanting to
target the consumer segment of this study. Another important consideration is that the targeted
consumers may very well be identifying with more than one reference group, as there are a wide
variety of groups and influences in a rainbow nation such as South Africa (Franchi & Swart, 2002).
This means that cultural identity and even social identity may become salient, when an individual
identifies with multiple reference groups.
Franchi and Swart (2002) further noted from their study, a relative absence of racial or cultural
identity markers amongst African students that may indicate that these young people are attempting
to define their identity beyond the narrow confines of racial or cultural categorisation. This may also
reflect their desire to align themselves with the ethos of a new demographic South Africa, which
embodies a future orientated progression towards a unified national or world identity, whilst
simultaneously recognising individual differences (Franchi & Swart, 2002). It seems as if individual
“enabling me” identity correlates much better with the definition of personal identity, emphasised by
identity theory (Stets & Burke, 2002), including a variety of identities over various socialisations
(including sub-cultural identity), than a social identity, where the emphasis is on group belonging
(Stets & Burke, 2000). It should further be noted that according to the results obtained from a
previous study, a category to be distinguished among consumers in South Africa, is the so-called
“Wild Child” (Now Project, 2007). They are said to be between the ages of 18 to 24 years, which is
the same age category as the target market in this study. This particular consumer group is said to
have a tertiary education, they are cool, confident, and celebrate their individuality (Now Project,
2007). Although this group contains mostly whites, it is increasingly becoming more mixed race,
and especially taking into consideration that we are currently well into post-apartheid years, this
theme is likely to be continued as the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black
Diamonds, seems to have many of those characteristics, with the emphasis on individuality.
7.5. AESTHETIC DIMENSIONS
From the literature background of the study, it is apparent that sub-cultural standards, body image,
perceived self, personal identity standards, as well as aesthetics may play a major role in the Black
Diamond‟s evaluation and decision-making process surrounding fashion products and fashion
magazine advertisements. Socio-cultural differences include sub-cultural standards, which is said to
have a great effect on aesthetic preferences of consumers (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83). By tailoring
140
marketing strategies to the preferences of the women in the targeted consumer group, fashion
products aimed at them would avoid missing the mark when appealing to them through fashion
advertisements. It is said that all products, including fashion magazines, are often bought primarily
for a pleasurable experience (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:3). Aesthetic aspects are often related to the
perceived quality of a product, especially in the case of apparel. It may therefore be anticipated that
aesthetic aspects may also be an important consideration for consumers when purchasing other
fashion products, such as a fashion magazine. It therefore became necessary to explore and describe
the role aesthetic dimensions, which are relevant in this study, play.
As apparent from the theoretical background of the study, aesthetic experience relates to the
selection of symbolic, formal and expressive qualities of a product that result in satisfaction on the
consumer‟s part (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:4). Formal qualities refer to the perceived features of the
structural composition of a product or object, such as colour, texture, shape and proportion, and have
the ability to evoke emotion on the consumer‟s part. Formal qualities of products may provide
pleasure to the senses and can often enhance beauty, and are often evident in the form of emotions
that are evoked by the creator in the consumer, and are learned responses (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:6).
Symbolic qualities on the other hand, originate from content or meaning, and communicate an idea
about the world (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:9).
Differentiating factors in socio-cultural factors were important to consider in this study, because it
often leads to variations in aesthetic preferences and consumer behaviour across cultures (Fiore &
Kimle, 1997:83). These variations are said to be related to the culture‟s definition of aesthetic
experience, meaning that the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond
consumer group probably define their aesthetic experience differently than consumers in other
cultures or sub-cultural groups. Research has shown that culture has a great effect on the importance
ratings of expressive, formal and symbolic aspects of a product in aesthetic evaluation (Fiore &
Kimle, 1997:85). This means that consumers across different cultures and sub-cultures may view
some of these aspects as being more important than others. In this study it became critical to
understand the importance given to these aspects by the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment,
especially when wanting to appeal to them in an effective manner. The idea is that symbolic,
expressive and formal qualities of a fashion product should satisfy the consumer on an emotional,
sensory and cognitive level (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83). Objective 3 in the study aimed to explore and
describe the role of aesthetic dimensions (symbolic, emotional and sensory) in the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group‟s beauty ideal.
141
Although all the aspects regarding the role of sensory aesthetics in the Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟
beauty ideal was seen as important and very important by the respondents, the importance of the
body as a standard in this group, again came to the fore. It was further clear that the emotional
dimension of the aesthetic experience also plays a major role in the female Mzansi Youths‟ beauty
ideal. The emphasis is again on the individual and her feelings (in this regard that the clothes should
make her feel feminine and give her pleasure and should make her feel in command of herself). The
results on the importance of the symbolic dimension underline the unimportance of group belonging
and the importance of the individual, as most of the respondents indicated that it is important and
very important to them that their appearance should show others who they are (as an individual
person), with less than half of the respondents indicating that it is important that their appearance
should communicate their belonging to a specific group.
If one compares the three aesthetic dimensions, the sensory and emotional dimensions could be
regarded as being more important to the respondents than the symbolic dimension with regard to
their ideal of beauty. But in this case it seems of higher significance to consider the fact that the
statements that scored the best results throughout the various aesthetic dimensions, referred to the
individual person, which seems to be an important aspect to the respondents, because it comes
through strongly throughout the results obtained thus far.
7.6. SOCIAL COMPARISON
7.6.1. Aspects important to compare in ideal of beauty
As noted in the literature review of this study, the notion of “What is beautiful” can be described as a
culturally constituted phenomenon that happens because of common socialisation experiences
amongst people of a certain culture or ethnicity (Englis et al., 1994:50). A cultural standard or ideal
can only be achieved when people compare themselves to this. This is known as social comparison,
and consumers continually engage in the process of assessing their own aesthetic values, as well as
those of others. It is said that cultural values can be communicated by means of signals of identity,
which can include skin colour, hairstyles, cultural artefacts and ethnic dress (Craig, 1991:35). All of
these aspects can play a role when the targeted consumers evaluate an advertisement in a fashion
magazine, or when engaging in comparison with others. The question that arises with regard to this
study is, what do the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment compare when they engage in social
142
comparison. They may focus on comparing skin colour, figure, cultural artefacts, hairstyles and
ethnic dress. Objective 4 in the study was therefore formulated to explore and describe which aspects
of the self the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group
compare with the ideal beauty standard in terms of dress, hairstyle, skin colour, body and cultural
artefacts such as accessories.
Most of the respondents indicated that their dress or style, hairstyle and body/shape/size are
important to compare. These results reflect the results obtained from objective 1, that also showed
that dress/style, hairstyle and body are important to the respondents in their ideal of beauty, the only
difference in this instance being that the respondents would „compare‟ those aspects to their ideal of
beauty, with dress/style being the most important aspect to compare. An interesting revelation
obtained through the open-ended nature of this question, was that 21% of respondents, indicated that
personality/ inner beauty are aspects that they would compare in their ideal of beauty. This is
significant, as this can once again be seen as being about the individual person and personal
qualities, which is regarded as very important by the respondents, and evident throughout the results
obtained, whether it relates to their beauty ideal, personal-or sub-cultural beauty standards, aesthetic
preferences, or as in this case social comparison. Duke (2000) found differences between Caucasian
and African-American female students, when comparing themselves to the feminine ideal. She found
that African-American female students were uninterested in striving for, or achieving the ideal
feminine physique as portrayed by most magazines. They also tended to evaluate themselves and
others on character and personality rather than appearance, which also seems to be prevailing in the
results obtained from this study on the Mzansi Youth sub-segment (Duke, 2000).
Considering the importance the Mzansi-Youth sub-segment place on the individual person, more so
than the group, it is necessary to consider the individualist theory, where behaviour tends to be
directed by personal attitudes, more so than by group norms (Voght & Laher, 2009:41). This is
demonstrated in the results obtained regarding the respondents‟ ideal of beauty and comparison, as it
seems to be based more on personal preferences (as highlighted by the importance placed on the
individual, and the prevailing feeling of not wanting to compare), than what is collectively
considered as important in that regard. Individualism is predominantly used to describe general
cultures of the Western world, while Africa and Asia are still characterised primarily by
Collectivism (Voght & Laher, 2009:42). According to past research however, one of the limitations
of research on Individualism versus Collectivism, is that countries are treated as though they are
cultures (Fiske, 2002). As discussed earlier, South Africa is faced with a variety of cultures, which
143
are contained within one political boarder, which may evidently vary in terms of Individualism and
Collectivism. Within an individualist society, as seems to be the case with the targeted consumers of
this study, people are seen as being independent from the group. This leads to the implication that
priority is given to personal goals, more so than to those of the group, meaning that their behaviour
lend itself to being based on personal attitudes, rather than group norms (Voght & Laher, 2009:41).
This aspect is illustrated by the results obtained from the study, as answers seem to be based more on
personal or individualistic views or attitudes. Furthermore, individualists want to have freedom of
choice, and have the need to be seen as being unique, which is also portrayed by the results obtained
from this study (Voght & Laher, 2009:41).
7.6.2. Reasons for comparing to other women
In the social comparison literature, it is believed that social comparison originated from the belief
that people have the need for self-evaluation in order for them to know how and where they stand in
relation to some standard. Festinger (1954) believed that people were more likely to compare
themselves to people that are similar to themselves, because it would provide more meaningful
information (Lennon et al., 1999:192). Some other writers on the other hand, suggested that this
might not always be true, and people may at times engage in comparisons with others that are not
part of their group (Richins, 1991:72). In this instance however, it became necessary to create a
better understanding about the reasons why the respondents‟ engage in social comparison. The aim
of objective 5 was therefore, to explore and describe the reasons why the women in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group engage in social comparison, and how it
affects their self-esteem (in terms of social identity and personal identity).
In question 13 in the questionnaire, respondents were asked to indicate the reasons for comparing
themselves to other women (refer to figure 6.6). The question was formulated with regard to
measuring the results in terms of social identity and personal identity. Most of the respondents
indicated that they compare themselves, to see how they relate in comparison to others, and to see
their shortcomings so that they can improve themselves. Least respondents indicated that they
compare themselves to other women, because it helps them to feel better about themselves, and to
see where they fit in and to feel part of a group. With the above results in mind, it becomes clear that
most respondents (when engaging in comparison) compare to see how they relate in comparison to
others, and to see their shortcomings, while least respondents compare themselves to feel better
about themselves and to determine if they fit into a group. It therefore appears that although, despite
144
a general feeling throughout the results that the respondents would not engage in comparison with
others, because of the “I” or individual person being important to them, most of the respondents,
(when forced to compare) would compare to see how they relate to others, and not because it was
important to see how they fit into a group. This could be interpreted as the individual being regarded
as more important than the group, making the individual or personal identity category more
important than their social identity. A study conducted on African students in post apartheid years,
showed that they come to define their identity broader than racial or cultural categorisation, thereby
aligning themselves with the notions of the new South Africa. They rather seem to embody notions
of future-orientated views, which lend itself to progression towards a unified national identity, yet
still recognising individual differences (Franchi & Swart, 2002). This seems to also be the case when
dealing with the Mzansi Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group. In a
heterogeneous country like South Africa people may face the possibility of multiple and competing
social identities, meaning that there is a divide in social identities between sub-national groups and
the larger community as presented by the nation-state (Bornman, 2010:238). The women in the
Mzansi-Youth sub-segment seem to have a more individualistic approach, rather than regarding a
specific group as important/ or wanting to belong to a certain group. It therefore seems that the
women in this sub-segment are identifying less with a certain social or sub-cultural group, thereby
lacking a common agreement on social identity, even though there seems to be a willingness of
progression towards a unified national identity.
7.6.3. Extent of comparison to the various cultural beauty ideals (Western, African, EuroAfrican)
The targeted consumers of this study fall under the Black Diamonds group. It is said that all their
key complexities and conflicts are underpinned by culture, being the one constant in all of their lives
(Black Diamond Woman, 2009). As discussed in the theoretical background, the Mzansi Youth is
the targeted sub-segment for this study. It was anticipated that the role of culture in social
comparison with fashion magazine images could have a significant impact on these consumers,
although from recent research, it seems as though culture may not have such a huge impact on the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment, as a previous study showed that the importance of culture is expressed
by the Mzansi-Youth sub-segment, as them “appreciating the basics, but their commitment and good
sentiment regarding culture is declining” (Black Diamond survey, 2007:99). This is confirmed by
the results obtained in this study. This seems to be the only sub-segment in the Black Diamond
group to which that notion applies, as the others still view culture as important. It therefore became
145
necessary to gain insight into the extent to which the respondents would engage in comparison to
various cultural beauty ideals, to get a sense of how their beliefs on culture influence the latter.
In the marketing literature there seems to be an agreement that culture greatly influences the way
consumers behave and perceive, and one of the lessons derived from social psychology, is that
culture has a significant impact on the way people generally see the world. These views, may
ultimately affect their behaviour (Jenson, 2004:1). Research has shown that the black middle class
differentiates themselves from the white middle class by means of their culture and roots. Black
people are traditionally more influenced by customs, laws, traditions and social purpose (Mawers,
2006:3). Taking that into consideration, it means that the targeted consumers of this study may be
influenced by cultural factors in their decision-making to a certain extent. Individuals who identify
strongly with their heritage are likely to be influenced by culture to a greater extent, and it therefore
became necessary to create a better understanding how this specifically influences the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment (Shaw & Clarke, 1998:165).
Some researchers argue that advertisements are more effective when the symbols, characters, and
values portrayed in the advertisements are accumulated from the intended audience‟s cultural
environment (Appiah, 2001:31). This allows increased identification with the message and the
source of the message, which is critical when wanting to appeal to a certain group through an
advertisement. This is an important consideration when wanting to appeal to the targeted consumers
through fashion photographs or images in advertisements, and it was thus of interest to gain a better
understanding of the extent to which the respondents would compare themselves to various beauty
ideal typically portrayed in fashion magazines they read. Objective 7 in the study was therefore
formulated to explore and describe the extent to which the women in the Mzansi youth sub-segment
compare themselves to various cultural beauty ideals.
The first cultural beauty ideal portrayed in fashion photograph 1 in the questionnaire, was the
Western beauty ideal. Most of the respondents indicated that they would not compare themselves
to the Westernised fashion photograph, with the aspects “body”, and “dress/ style” coming to the
fore when asked which aspects they would not compare with regard to the Westernised image.
Many respondents also indicated that the model in the photograph is too skinny, and that they can‟t
compare to the image because they don‟t look like the model. With regard to the Euro-African
beauty ideal, most respondents said they would probably or definitely compare themselves to the
Euro-African beauty ideal, with dress/ style, body and hairstyle listed as aspects that they would
146
compare to the image. This is in line with the beauty standards the respondents indicated in
objective 1 as being important in their ideal of beauty, (which may also be the reason they
indicated those 3 aspects to be compared to the image they like most of all the images in the
questionnaire). Furthermore, most of the respondents also indicated that they would probably not
compare themselves to the African beauty ideal image, with most of the respondents indicating
that it is not their style, so they won‟t compare any aspects in the image. When comparing the
summarised results in table 6.10 in Chapter 6, one can therefore assume that most of the targeted
consumers would rather compare themselves to the Euro-African beauty ideal, more so than to the
African or Westernised beauty ideals.
It is interesting that the respondents indicated that they would compare themselves most to the EuroAfrican beauty ideal. A reason for this may once again be that the individual is regarded as highly
important to this market segment, and the Euro-African beauty ideal seems to promote this, as it
seems to reflect a more unique or individual appearance, in comparison to the other two beauty
ideals portrayed in the fashion photographs in the questionnaire. According to the literature
background on the targeted group, culture is said to be declining, but remain part of their lives to
some extent, and the primary brands or products they are interested in, fall under “enabling me” (The
new black middle class, 2006). This could be another reason for the Euro-African beauty ideal
scoring most favourable when respondents were faced with social comparison, as the beauty ideal
still reflects their particular culture (the fashion model is of African heritage), but in a more modern,
individual or unique manner.
From the literature background, it is apparent that in a heterogeneous country like South Africa,
various different cultures are present in society, which means that people within a specific subculture
may take great effort in preventing their identification being submerged into the mainstream society
(Rabolt & Solomon, 2004:198). “Cultural influences may be driven by moral and ethical rewards
within a culture, to convey achievement, exhibit status and success, or for the sake of acting socially
responsible” (du Plessis & Rousseau, 2003:115). It should be kept in mind that the targeted women
in the Black Diamonds group may want to maintain and reflect the symbols of their culture and
traditions to some extent, but at the same time may be adapting to fit into the present day society in
South Africa. Cultural groups are part of a larger mainstream culture, with which they share some
cultural similarities, as well as differences. It therefore happens that these women in the targeted
consumer group probably have to navigate between two cultural forces in order to conduct the
business of life (Holland & Gentry, 1999:73). This is especially important to consider in South
147
Africa, as there are many different cultures in one nation. This means that these women may choose
what is most important to them from their cultural past, but at the same time maintain and adapt it to
meet their current needs in South Africa today (Holland & Gentry, 1999:67). This is apparent from
the results, as the Euro-African beauty ideal seems to invite such notions, as it reflects the
respondents‟ heritage and culture, yet still being modern, trendy and unique.
It is also interesting that with regard to comparison, the African fashion photograph scored higher
than the Westernised beauty ideal fashion photograph, whereas in most of the other questions
relating to the fashion photographs, the African photograph scored the lowest or worst among the
respondents. The reason for this may be, because when respondents are faced with comparing to the
images, they may relate more to the African beauty ideal (as they can relate to the physical features
and ethnicity or culture of the model), although they don‟t necessarily like the image or the way in
which the model in the image is styled. However, with regard to the Westernised beauty ideal, the
respondents may like the way the model is dressed, but can‟t necessarily identify with the way she
looks, thereby making comparisons with the Westernised beauty ideal more difficult.
7.6.4 Coping strategies in case of negative social comparison
As previously stated, people engage in social comparison to assess their aesthetic value as well as
those of others on a continual basis (Adomaitis & Johnson, 2008:183). When individuals compare
themselves to the cultural standard, and come close to reaching the ideal, self-esteem levels can
increase, whereas people that are far from achieving the ideal may choose a coping strategy, or
experience a decline in self-esteem levels (Adomaitis & Johnson, 2008:183). When the targeted
consumers engage in social comparison and it is experienced as negative, they may use one of four
coping strategies. These may include accepting the cultural standard and try harder to reach it,
accept the cultural standard and quit trying to attain it, or modify one‟s personal standard of
appearance, or modify the cultural standard by working toward more inclusive standard of
appearance in one‟s local community (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:2). When evaluations are negative to
the targeted consumers, and they feel the need to use coping strategies to come more closely to the
cultural aesthetic ideal, success of the coping strategy can either harm or enhance both the social
and personal identity of the individual.
In this study, it was of interest to explore and describe the coping strategies the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment use when engaging in comparison. Firstly it was of interest to explore
148
and describe the coping strategies the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment use when
comparing themselves to their specific beauty ideal, and secondly, to gain a better understanding
regarding the respondents‟ use of coping strategies when comparing themselves to the three
various cultural beauty ideals depicted in the fashion photographs in the questionnaire.
In the first instance respondents had to indicate which coping strategies they would use when
comparing negatively to their beauty ideal, and the question was formulated with regard to
measuring the results in terms of personal and social identity, but from the results obtained in
question 11, it became evident that there is a third category to be distinguished, namely the
“individual/ enabling me”, when dealing with the women in this targeted group. It is therefore
necessary to interpret the results obtained here in terms of three categories, and not only the two
categories, as was anticipated earlier. The results show that most respondents would accept the
standard and do nothing further to achieve it, which again emphasises the fact that it is not
necessarily so important for the respondents that their appearance should be exactly the same as
others. It could therefore be argued that, the “individual” is regarded as being more important to
the respondents, more so than the group, as the two statements dealing with the individual scored
the highest among the respondents.
Respondents were also asked which coping strategies they would engage in, if they compared
negatively to each of the various beauty ideals depicted in the three fashion photographs of the
questionnaire. To summarise the results, it appears that when the respondents compare negatively
to the various beauty ideals (Western/ African/ Euro-African), most of the respondents across all
three of the beauty ideals would use the same coping strategy, namely “to accept the standard, and
do nothing further to achieve it”. The only major difference noticeable regarding coping strategies
across the 3 beauty ideals, is that 31% of respondents indicated that they would “accept the
standard, and try harder to reach it”, regarding the Euro-African beauty ideal. This could be due to
the fact that respondents scored this particular fashion photograph the highest (most favourable)
throughout the various questions in the study, therefore preferring and liking this image, and they
would probably attempt to reach the standard portrayed in this particular fashion image, more so
than in comparison with the other two beauty ideals portrayed in the two fashion photographs.
When comparing the results discussed in both of the above instances, the results relate closely to
one another, as most respondents indicated that they would accept the standard, and do nothing
further to achieve it (with regard to their specific beauty ideal), which is the same as the results
149
obtained across all three beauty ideals. This verifies the results with regard to the coping strategies
the respondents would engage in, in case of negative comparison, making the results reliable, once
again emphasising the fact that it is not necessarily so important for the respondents that their
appearance should be exactly the same as others, but that the individual is more important to them.
7.7. APPRAISALS OF THE WESTERN-, AFRICAN-, AND EURO-AFRICAN FASHION
PHOTOGRAPHS AND SUBSEQUENT REACTIONS
Questions 16, 17 and 18 in the questionnaire aimed to explore and describe the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟ appraisals of Western, African and Euro-African fashion images as
well as their subsequent reactions. Results obtained on the extent to which the respondents like the
various fashion photographs, show that the majority of respondents liked the Euro-African beauty
ideal the most, and that the African beauty ideal photograph was liked the least. The main reason
given for liking the Euro-African image, was that they like the dress in the photograph/ that it is
fashionable. Other reasons were that the image is African, yet modern, “my style/ can relate”, good
colour and that the image is attractive or stylish. Reasons given for disliking the African image
(which scored lowest with regard to “liking” the image), were “too busy/ over the top”, “does not
compliment body” and “too traditional or old fashioned”. Most respondents indicated that they
dislike the African image, because it is “not my style/ not appealing”. In a previous objective,
where respondents had to indicate to which fashion photograph or beauty ideal they would
compare themselves to, the Westernised image scored the lowest, whereas in this instance, the
African image scored the worst results. The reason for this may be, because the respondents can
identify with, or relate more to the African beauty ideal fashion photograph when comparisons
have to be made, rather than to the Westernised fashion photograph. Whereas when asked if they
liked the images, they actually liked the Westernised fashion photograph more than the African
photograph when not faced with having to compare themselves, but only having to indicate
whether they like the photograph. This aspect is illustrated in the following paragraph, where the
extent to which respondents relate to the various fashion photographs, are discussed.
When respondents were asked to indicate the extent to which they relate to the three various
beauty ideals, results obtained show that the respondents relate to the Euro-African fashion
photograph the most, then to the African fashion photograph. The image the respondents related to
the least however, was the Western beauty ideal photograph, as most of the respondents indicated
that it is “very unlikely” that they relate to the image. Although the respondents gave the African
150
photograph the lowest scores in most instances throughout the questionnaire, it becomes clear that
when the respondents have to compare themselves/ or are asked if they relate to the fashion
images, the Westernised fashion image scores the worst among the fashion images. The reason for
this may be due to factors such as culture and skin colour, which comes into play in this regard,
and probably play a role when faced with questions pertaining to “comparisons” and whether
respondents “relate” to the photographs.
Furthermore sub-objective 2 of objective 7, aimed to explore and describe the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟ evaluation of the various fashion images. Here respondents were
asked to rate each of the fashion photographs portraying the various beauty ideals on five, 7-point
semantic differential scales, namely eye catching/ not eye catching, for me/ not for me, appealing/
not appealing, likeable/ not likeable, and attractive/ not attractive. (1) Was the highest score if
respondents agreed with the aspect/ feature of the photograph, and (7) the lowest score if
respondents did not agree with the feature/ aspect. The results obtained, show that the respondents
liked the African beauty ideal the least, when considering the medians across all five 7-point
semantic differential scales, and liked the Euro-African fashion photograph the most. The results
obtained in this instance, therefore verifies the results obtained when respondents had to indicate
on a three-point ordered set of options, the extent to which they liked the various fashion
photographs, as the outcome was the same, meaning that the respondents indicated in both
instances hat they liked the Euro-African fashion photograph the most, and the African image the
least.
Respondents were also asked to indicate the extent to which they would consider purchasing a
fashion magazine featuring images similar to the various fashion photographs depicting the
differentiating cultural beauty ideals. More than half of the respondents said they would probably
purchase a magazine featuring Western beauty ideal fashion images, whereas half of respondents
said that they would purchase a magazine featuring similar images portraying the African beauty
ideal. However, most of the respondents indicated that they would probably purchase a magazine
featuring fashion images portraying the Euro-African beauty ideal. This means that the Euro-African
beauty ideal photograph once again scored the highest results when asked if they would purchase a
magazine featuring similar images, and the African beauty ideal scored the lowest amongst the
respondents, as was the case when respondents were asked if they liked the various fashion images.
The results obtained here therefore correlate with previous results, which gives a clear indication of
respondents‟ preferences regarding the three fashion photographs portraying the various beauty
151
ideals, meaning that they prefer the Euro-African image. The major reason given for purchasing a
magazine featuring Euro-African images, were “my style/ fashionable”, with other reasons being
that they like the dress and they want to see more, they can relate to the image, and that the look is
cultural, yet modern.
Taking into consideration the results discussed in the previous paragraph, another question was
asked in the questionnaire to measure the respondents‟ willingness to purchase a specific
magazine. Therefore, in addition to the „extent‟ to which respondents would consider purchasing a
magazine featuring each of the three beauty ideal images, respondents were also asked to indicate
their „intent‟ to purchase a fashion magazine featuring the various fashion photographs. Most of
the respondents again indicated that they would very likely purchase a magazine depicting the
Euro-African beauty ideal in fashion photographs. The African beauty ideal fashion photograph
scored the worst, as most of the respondents indicated that it is “very unlikely” that they would
purchase such a magazine. It therefore once again shows that this market segment prefers the
Euro-African fashion photograph the most. The results obtained from the respondents‟ intent to
purchase, therefore verifies the results obtained on the questions pertaining to the extent that they
would purchase a magazine with similar images (discussed in the previous paragraph).
Lastly, respondents were asked to indicate their intent to purchase the clothing featured in each of
the cultural beauty ideal fashion photographs. Most respondents indicated that they would very
likely purchase the clothing featured in the Euro-African beauty ideal fashion photograph, which
scored the highest of all three the images. Most of the respondents however, indicated that they
would very unlikely purchase the clothing featured in the African beauty ideal image. The EuroAfrican beauty ideal photograph therefore once again scored the best in this particular category,
with the African beauty ideal image scoring the lowest of the three fashion images. A very clear
theme is coming to the fore, throughout the results obtained in the study. This is said because the
respondents scored the Euro-African beauty ideal the highest, and the African beauty ideal the
lowest with regard to almost all of the various questions pertaining to the fashion photographs in
the questionnaire (with the exception of the questions pertaining to social comparison or if they
“relate”), as was discussed earlier in this chapter.
152
7.8. CONCLUSION
With the discussion and interpretation of results of the study in mind, the following chapter will
focus on the conclusions of the study, as well as the implications the study have for the fashion
magazine industry in South Africa, and the use of fashion images in the country. Chapter 8 will
include an evaluation of the limitations and success of the quantitative research style, data
collection methods, sample selection, data analysis, the quality of the study, and the achievement
of the objectives. The study‟s contribution to the existing theory will also be discussed, while
recommendations will be made to the fashion industry and fashion magazine marketers in South
Africa.
153
CHAPTER 8
CONCLUSIONS, EVALUATIONS, CONTRIBUTIONS TO THEORY AND
RECOMMENDATIONS
8.1 INTRODUCTION
The purpose of this study was to explore and describe the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
in the Black Diamond consumer groups‟ social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion
magazine images. The theory on social and personal identity, social comparison, as well as
aesthetics served as point of departure for the study and the research objectives. In Chapter 7 results
were discussed and interpreted in-depth according to each objective.
With the purpose and objectives of the study in mind, this chapter therefore firstly deals with an
overall conclusion regarding the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segments‟ social comparison and
reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images. It should be noted that this was a purposive and
snowball sample. Conclusions can therefore not be generalised to the whole population and therefore
refer to the respondents in this study. Attention is secondly given to the implications of the study, the
quality of the study justified, possible contributions to theory spelled out and general
recommendations, as well as limitations and suggestions for future studies given.
8.2. CONCLUSIONS OF THE STUDY
8.2.1. Demographic background of the sample
The majority of the respondents in the study indicated that they live in urban areas, which means that
they have probably been exposed to the influences of modern society in the cities of South Africa,
which could mean that they are interested in modern trends and fashions. Most of the respondents
were only students at that time, but some were working as well, meaning that they could have extra
spending money that could be spent on luxury items, such as fashion magazines. Most of the
respondents indicated that they read fashion magazines on either a weekly or monthly basis, which
makes the Mzansi Youth sub-segment an appealing target market for a fashion magazine targeting
the women in this group, and specifically catering for their needs. Fashion magazines indicated by
154
the respondents, as magazines they read most frequently, are Cosmopolitan, ELLE, and Glamour,
which are all international fashion magazines (although a national edition) that are available locally
here in South Africa. However, these international fashion magazines that are available in South
Africa do not necessarily embody ethnic and racial identities that are related to the country‟s
readership in South Africa, and does not take the Mzansi Youths‟ specific needs and characteristics
into consideration. A magazine focusing on their specific needs and preferences regarding fashion
magazines may reap rewards from this market segment, as it is evident from the results that these
women read fashion magazines on a regular basis and are interested in fashion. This was illustrated
in the results obtained from the answers given by respondents when asked to indicate their reasons
for reading fashion magazines, and most respondents indicated “fashion” as the major reason, with
“beauty” and “to keep up to date” also being indicated as reasons by the respondents.
8.2.2 Overall conclusions
It can be concluded that the women in the Mzansi-Youth sub-segment are directed by a strong
personal identity and a need to be acknowledged as an African individual with unique personal
characteristics. It is therefore also important for them that their appearance should symbolise their
personal qualities and not necessarily that of a Westernised fashion style or beauty ideal, or that they
belong to a specific social or sub-cultural group. It can further be concluded that dress, hairstyle and
body shape are important features in their beauty ideal, directed by their personal identity.
With regard to their aesthetic dimensions that play a role in dress and appearance, it can be
concluded that the emotional and sensory dimensions of the aesthetic experience are much more
important for them than the symbolic dimension, except that their appearance should show others
who they are as an individual. For them it is more about the sensory beauty of their appearance and
emotional pleasure that their dress and appearance give them, than reflecting that they belong to a
specific group or culture - indicative of a personal identity, rather than a social identity.
It can further be concluded that with regard to social comparison, it is not important to the women in
the Mzansi Youth sub-segment to compare themselves, and specifically their dress and appearance
to those of others, whether it being to their friends, or to an African or Westernised beauty ideal.
However, when they are forced to compare themselves to their own beauty ideal, they would
compare their dress style, and to a lesser extent their hairstyle, body shape and personality. Most of
them would do so just to see how they compare to others, but not to feel better about themselves, or
155
because it makes them feel part of a group. Therefore, when they would compare negatively to their
beauty standard, they would accept the standard, and just do nothing further. This again underlines
the importance of a strong personal identity with the emphasis on the unique individual and a proud
feeling of the self.
Considering the foregoing the question that then arises is, how would they now appraise fashion
images with different beauty ideals, specifically a Western, African and Euro-African beauty ideal?
It can be concluded that the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment prefer the Euro-African
beauty ideal because they like the dress style and feel it is modern, yet African. This is also the
appearance that they can relate to the most and that they would compare themselves to, although
comparison is not important to them. However, if they have to compare themselves, they would
compare the beauty ideal feature that is the most important for them, namely the dress style. They
also mostly compare just for the sake of comparison and not to feel better about themselves or to feel
that they fit into a specific group. In cases where they compare negatively to an image, whether
African, Western or Euro-African beauty ideal, they will still accept the standard and will do nothing
further.
Considering the above, it can lastly be concluded that most of the women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment, would probably buy a fashion magazine which features Euro-African fashion images to see
the latest trends and fashion ideas, but not because the model would inspire them to improve
themselves. Although they do not prefer the African and Western fashion images, some of them
would probably also purchase a fashion magazine that features these images. Fewer women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment would necessarily buy the clothes that are featured in the fashion
magazine images.
With the conclusions of this study in mind, it is important to consider the implications the study may
have for the fashion magazine industry in South Africa, as well as the use of fashion images in the
country. Implications for the study will therefore be discussed.
8.3. IMPLICATIONS OF THE STUDY
With the results and conclusions of the study in mind, it can be argued that there is a market for a
fashion magazine specifically catering for the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment in South
Africa, as it is clear from the results that these women read fashion magazines on a regular basis, and
156
that they are especially interested in fashion. A magazine specifically catering for this market
segment should incorporate Euro-African fashion images, as results obtained from this study showed
a strong preference for the Euro-African image or beauty ideal across many of the objectives of the
study. Another option to reach this market segment could be to incorporate more Euro-African
images in fashion magazines presently read or available to these women in South Africa, which
could result in these magazines reaping rewards from this relatively untapped market segment in
South Africa, especially when these magazines want to avoid future competition in the fashion
magazine industry. From the theory on the Black Diamonds, it is apparent that this market is quickly
becoming an appealing market to target in South Africa. If magazine marketers could act quickly,
they could be the first to reap rewards from this market segment, as the Black Diamond consumer
group is set to keep growing in numbers and become all the more appealing to target with regard to
many products and across many industries in the country.
As is apparent from the conclusions of the study on beauty standards important to the women in the
Mzansi Youth sub-segment in their ideal of beauty, three aspects came to the fore, namely body,
dress or style, and hairstyle. It can therefore be recommended that careful judgement should be taken
when incorporating these aspects into fashion images in fashion magazines, as it may influence their
evaluation of an image, or the extent to which they can relate or make comparisons. As previously
noted, it is very unlikely that these women receive tips on hair care and hairstyles from fashion
magazines of a Western-origin, and a magazine specifically aimed at the women in the Mzansi
Youth sub-segment, could incorporate this, as it is evident that this consumer group view hairstyle as
an important aspect, not only in their beauty ideal, but also in social comparison, as they also
indicated hairstyle as an aspect they would compare, when engaging in comparison. These women
also saw body as an important beauty standard, and as noted throughout the study, these women may
view their bodies differently than other sub-cultural groups in South Africa, and in turn, to those
standards portrayed in images in Western-focused fashion magazines. Another reference made to
this in the results obtained in the study, was where respondents gave reasons for not liking the
Westernised fashion image, where many respondents said the model in the photograph is too skinny,
and that it sends the wrong message. It seems that these women who predominantly read Westernfocused fashion magazines at the present time, simply have to turn a blind eye to such images when
browsing through magazines. A magazine specifically incorporating images more in-line with their
body type and preferences in hairstyles could be even more successful and popular amongst these
targeted women, than the fashion magazines they are currently purchasing.
157
The Mzansi Youth women further embodied a strong view on social comparison, which showed that
they do not want to compare to others. For them, it is more about the individual and personal
qualities, rather than wanting to compare, to fit into a certain social or sub-cultural group. The
women in the MzansiYouth sub-segment therefore have a strong personal identity in comparison to
their social identity. The emphasis these women put on the individual and personal qualities, is
something that cannot be ignored when marketing and tailoring products to meet the needs of the
women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment. Images incorporated in fashion magazines should
promote this, and the “enabling me” aspect, should be prominent when wanting to appeal to this
group, and should be communicated in an effective manner. An editorial or articles emphasising the
uniqueness of the individual could be incorporated in exciting fashion magazines in South Africa, to
attract readers in the Mzani Youth sub-segment.
8.4. EVALUATION OF THE STUDY
Evaluation is necessary for the purposes of follow-up and could serve as a guideline for similar
future studies. This study is hereby evaluated in terms of the quantitative research style (sample
selection, data collection and data analysis), the quality of the data and the achievement of the
objectives.
8.4.1 Research Strategy
Generally speaking, this study was exploratory and descriptive in nature because researching Black
Diamonds‟ social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazines have not yet been done
in South Africa. In quantitative research, reliability is exceedingly important, objective facts are
measured with the emphasis placed on certain variables. The research has to be value-free,
independent of the context and the researcher has to be detached, thus enhancing the objectivity of
the study. The quantitative research style ensured that the researcher was objective when analysing
the data.
A structured questionnaire was used to get the broader picture of the respondents‟ answers regarding
the research topic. The questionnaire measured specific dimensions of personal and sub-cultural
beauty standards, social comparison, personal and social identity, coping strategies, aesthetics and
appraisals of fashion magazine images as explained in the literature review (Chapters 2 and 3), and
clearly indicated in a conceptual framework (Figure 4.1). The questionnaire measured objective
158
aspects, for instance, rating the importance of personal and sub-cultural beauty standards in
respondents‟ beauty ideal, and variables that are central to quantitative research, which were
identified in the literature review and the conceptual framework (Figure 4.1). These variables were
measured by using relative dimensions and indicators and were presented in a language that was
comprehensible to the respondents to understand.
Being an exploratory study, a structured self-administered questionnaire was the best option to use in
the study, as respondents could complete it without any outside influence. The researcher could also
solve unclear issues arising from the questionnaire. Although the researcher was available, some of
the questions were left unanswered, especially some of the open-ended questions in the latter part of
the questionnaire. The respondents felt that the questionnaire was too long, and took up a lot of time
to complete. Although this method can be time-consuming, meaningful information can be acquired
from many respondents in a relatively shorter time if the questionnaire is much shorter.
8.4.1.1 Choice of the research sample for the study
Although it is recommended that the sample size for a quantitative research study should be
representative of the entire population (Mouton, 1996:136; Wimmer & Domnick, 2000: 94), nonprobability sampling techniques could be used in a preliminary or pilot study. In such instance the
results cannot be generalised to a larger population, but should rather be viewed as indicative of the
specific group tested (Wimmer & Domnick, 2000:82-83). The sampling technique could therefore
not be presumed to be representative of the entire population, and is only considered to be
representative of the sample, and results have only been applied to the latter. The sample for the
study was purposive resulting in the use of the snowball sampling method. The questionnaire had
200 respondents. The sample size was selected using probability sampling techniques and hence was
thought to be adequate for data analysis.
8.4.1.2 The choice and application of the data collection techniques
Since willing respondents increase the reliability of the study, as observed by Mouton (1996:145), no
respondents were forced to take part in the study, thereby making the data collection technique
voluntary in nature. Theoretical clarity and descriptions of relevant aspects that were identified
through the literature search, helped to recognise appropriate measures to facilitate the development
of a comprehensive questionnaire covering all concepts of the study. Some questions that had
159
previously been used in related research were adopted in this study. The questionnaire‟s top page
had the University of Pretoria‟s logo (letterhead) and an introductory letter stating the purpose of the
research, giving an assurance of anonymity, an appeal to participate in the study and an
acknowledgement of participation.
Before the research commenced, the questionnaire had been scrutinised by the researcher‟s studyleader, a statistician and the subject specialised lecturers at the Department of Consumer Science,
University of Pretoria (peer evaluation). The questionnaire was also pilot-tested on twenty African
students (between 18 and 24 years) enrolled at the University of Pretoria. Before photographs could
be selected to be included in the questionnaire, intended for the respondents, the photographs needed
careful evaluation by fashion experts. This was done to ensure that the photographs included in the
questionnaire were bias-free, and to aid in the reliability of the results. A panel of four fashion
experts were selected from the University of Pretoria and Tshwane University of Technology (two
Caucasian and two African), and asked to evaluate the fashion images gathered before including
them in the final questionnaire. Photographs were evaluated in a questionnaire format, handed out to
the panel of fashion experts. This was done to enhance the quality and validity of the questionnaire.
It should however be noted, that although great care was taken with the inclusion of the fashion
images in the questionnaire, the choice of images could still have influenced the results of this study.
Except for some open-ended questions that were answered poorly, the questions were all relevant.
Some questions were however later identified as being repetitive and unnecessary, as they measured
the same concepts (Questions 16.3 and 6.12; 17.3 and 17.12; 18.3 and 18.12). The participants
reported that the questionnaire was too long, giving insight into some open-ended questions left
unanswered.
8.4.1.3 Choice of statistical methods employed
The data was analysed using acknowledged statistical tests that were chosen after examining tests
used by other researchers in similar studies. The statistical analysis of data, a characteristic of
quantitative research, was adequate for the study. Hypothesis testing was done at the 5% level of
significance. The statistical methods used and the boundaries set at the 5% level of significance by
specific statistical tests, helped the researcher to determine when the results were statistically
significant. The research problem was solved when logical deductions, derived from the theory, were
linked to concrete evidence obtained from the results.
160
The approach of the study was judged to be successful, because the researcher conducted a thorough
literature search on specific concepts of the study that guided the researcher to make logical
deductions and develop appropriate measurement scales. The first step was to define the concepts
that were to be measured, and then potential scale items were created to determine indicators around
the concepts. The questionnaire measurement scales included nominal (yes or no) type questions,
four-point ordered set of point scales and categorical (Likert-type) scales that directed the decision to
use specific statistical methods. Factor analysis statistics were used where relevant, to describe a
larger number of variables by means of a smaller set of composite variables (so-called “factors”) and
to aid with the interpretation of the data. For the purpose of this study, common factor analysis was
applicable. Common factor analysis focused on the common variance shared among the original
variables and seeked to identify underlying dimensions (known as “common factors”), which was
useful in this study. The Friedman test was also useful in certain questions to analyse the data
obtained. The Friedman test was conducted to determine if there were statistically significant
differences between aspects that the respondents had to rank (in questions 9 and 15). The Friedman
test is a non-parametric test, and the results showed that the Friedman test statistic had a P-Value of
0.0000 (Conover, 1999). Furthermore, Cronbach‟s alpha was also deemed necessary to determine
the most common estimate of the internal consistency or reliability of items in a scale in certain
questions. A widely accepted assumption in the social science is that alpha should be .70 or higher
for a set of items to be considered a scale, as was the case in this study (where applicable) (Trochim,
2006).
8.4.2 Quality of the data
8.4.2.1. Validity
In order to ensure that each measurement accurately reflected the concept it intended to measure
(measurement validity), the following different types of validity were observed in the questionnaire
instrument:

Face validity: The instruments were pre-tested by a group of experts and were also pilottested on a small group of respondents. This was done to ensure that the measurement
instruments actually measured what they purported to measure. Only instruments accurately
measuring the set objectives of the study were used.
161

Content validity: To ensure content validity, all the concepts presented in the conceptual
framework (Figure 1.1) were specified in a construct definition. This facilitated the
development of indicators (questions and statements) from all the parts of the definitions
(relating to the objectives of the study), as recommended by Neumann (2000:142-143) and
Babbie and Mouton (2001: 122-123).

Criterion validity: Being the pilot study, there was no standardised criterion known to
measure the construct validity accurately, to permit comparison with the measurements for
this study. However, some of the questions that had been used successfully in related studies
were adapted for this study.

Construct validity: To determine the degree to which instruments used for this study,
successfully measured the theoretical construct they were intended to measure, definitions
with clearly specified conceptual boundaries were provided (Figure 1.1 and Table 5.2), in
order to isolate the convergent validity. Evidence obtained from the results, and linked to the
theory, indicates the degree to which the instruments were successful.
8.4.2.2. Reliability
According to Neumann (2000:164), reliability is an indicator of dependability or consistency. It
indicates the likelihood that a given measurement technique will repeatedly yield the same
description of a given phenomenon (Mouton, 1996:144). In this study, the following strategies were
applied to ensure reliability:

The questions used in the questionnaire were predominantly closed questions. Some of them had
been previously used in related studies.

Due to poor answering of open-ended questions, those responses (although discussed in Chapter
6 and 7) were not included when concise conclusions were drawn.

The questionnaire was pre-tested by a group of experts and pilot-tested on women in the target
market for this study.

A panel of fashion experts evaluated the fashion photographs before including them in the
questionnaire.

The questionnaire‟s front page had the University of Pretoria‟s logo (letterhead) and an
introductory letter stating the purpose of the research. A consent form also had to be signed
beforehand.
162

Well-established methods of data collection were used and standard statistical coding methods
were also applied.

Hypothesis testing was done at the 5% level of significance.

A non-probability sampling technique (purposive resulting in snowball) was used in this study. It
used a smaller sample size, but this technique is acceptable in this case because it is a
preliminary study. The results therefore are indicative of women in the Mzansi Youth subsegment in the Gauteng region in South Africa.
8.4.3. Achievement of the objectives of the study
In order to solve the research problem stated in Chapter 1, primary objectives and sub-objectives
were set for the study. Each primary objective and concomitant sub-objectives were addressed in the
questionnaire used in the study. The results indicate that valuable data related to the primary
objectives and sub-objectives was collected. The data enabled the researcher to interpret the results
and draw conclusions related to the different objectives. The results, their interpretation and
eventually the conclusions drawn also made it possible to make recommendations to the fashion
magazine industry in South Africa, so as to serve effectively the needs of the women in Mzansi
Youth sub-segment of the Black Diamond consumer group in South Africa.
From the discussion and interpretation of the results, general conclusions and overall conclusions
(Figure 1.1), it is evident that the researcher successfully achieved the primary objectives and subobjectives stated. Information that was obtained from the results can contribute to the existing theory
on issues around social and personal identity theory, social comparison theory, and aesthetics.
8.5. THE CONTRIBUTIONS OF THE STUDY TO EXISTING THEORY
The value of the quantitative research style used in this study is that it enables the researcher to
quantify the data and to link the data to the specific concepts used in the study. The value of research
can be increased when the results are meaningfully linked to the concepts of the established theory
related to the research. The findings of this study can contribute to theory in the following fields:

Personal and Social identity theory

Social Comparison theory
163

Aesthetics
8.5.1 Personal and Social identity theory
The social identity theory deals with inter-group relations, group processes and the social self of
individuals (Hogg, Terry & White, 1995:259). Social identity can be defined as a person‟s
knowledge that one belongs to a certain social category or group (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). Social
identity is said to develop from group memberships on the basis of similar attributes, meaning that
social identity has a more “we” approach, rather than the “I” (Brewer, 1991:476). Results of this
study show that the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment do not have a strong social identity,
because of the individual and personal qualities being more important to them, than merely being
part of a certain social or sub-cultural group.
The physical self and the internal self forms part of a person‟s personal identity. Personal identity,
emanates from individual achievements, and differentiates one individual from another in a given
social context based on individual characteristics (Stets & Burke, 2000:225). This study proves the
importance the targeted consumers place on personal identity, specifically “enabling me”, as
portrayed in results obtained from factor analysis (table 6.5). Although culture is said to remain an
important part in the lives of the Mzansi Youth, for them it is more about “enabling me” when it
comes to products, brands and a fashion style (The new black middle class, 2006). This study
therefore shows that the “enabling me” aspect, form an important part of the Mzansi Youth‟s subculture that also direct their behaviour, in this case their appraisals of fashion magazine images.
8.5.2 Social Comparison theory
It is said that people engage in social comparison to assess their aesthetic value as well as those of
others on a continual basis (Adomaitis & Johnson, 2008:183). When individuals compare themselves
to the cultural standard, and come close to reaching the ideal, self-esteem levels can increase,
whereas people that are far from achieving the ideal may choose a coping strategy, or experience a
decline in self-esteem levels (Adomaitis & Johnson, 2008:183). When the targeted consumers
engage in social comparison and it is experienced as negative, they may use one of four coping
strategies. (Reilly & Rudd, 2009:2). When evaluations are negative to the targeted consumers, and
they feel the need to use coping strategies to come more closely to the cultural aesthetic ideal,
success of the coping strategy can either harm or enhance both the social and personal identity of the
164
individual. This study proves, that the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment, do not want to
engage in comparison with others, whether it being people similar to themselves, or people from
another social group or sub-culture. The reason for this is due to the importance this group place on
the individual person and personal qualities, making social comparison salient.
The study did however show that the women (when forced to compare) would choose to compare
with the Euro-African beauty ideal, more so than the Westernised- or African beauty ideals. Despite
a general feeling throughout the results that the women in the target market of this study would not
engage in comparison with others, because of the “I” or individual person being important to them,
most of the women would compare to see how they relate to others, and not because it is important
to see how they fit into a group. The study also showed which coping strategies the women in the
targeted consumer segment would use in case of negative comparisons, being that they would
“accept the standard and do nothing further to achieve it”, which again emphasise the fact that it is
not necessarily so important for the targeted consumers that their appearance should be exactly the
same as others (once highlighting the importance of personal identity over social identity in social
comparison).
8.5.3 Aesthetics
Aesthetic experience relates to the selection of symbolic, formal and expressive qualities of a
product that result in satisfaction on the consumer‟s part (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:4). The idea is that
symbolic, expressive and formal qualities of a fashion product should satisfy the consumer on an
emotional, sensory and cognitive level (Fiore & Kimle, 1997:83). Regarding the role of aesthetics in
this study, it became of higher significance to consider the fact that the statements that scored the
highest results throughout the various aesthetic dimensions, referred to the individual person, and
that for the Mzansi Youth women it is more about showing others who they are (as an individual
person), than communicating their belonging to a specific group. The results obtained in this study
should help to address these aesthetic dimensions correctly when dealing with the Mzansi Youth
women, and should be used to create an understanding about their preferences (Fiore & Kimle,
1997:83). Magazine marketers targeting this market segment, should understand aesthetic aspects
playing a role in the Mzsnsi Youth women‟s aesthetic experience in order to ensure their consumers‟
satisfaction and in turn, the profitability of a fashion product such as a fashion magazine brand.
165
8.6. GENERAL RECOMMENDATIONS
Although the conclusions made in this study cannot be generalised to a broad population, certain
recommendations can be made at this stage to the fashion magazine industry and fashion magazine
marketers in South Africa. It is recommended that magazine marketers should look into the potential
of creating a fashion magazine specifically targeting the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment
and catering for their unique preferences in that regard, as there is no fashion magazine available in
the country specifically catering for their needs. These women therefore read fashion magazines
from a Western origin, which seemingly is most closely related to their interests, for example giving
ideas on the latest trends and fashion, which this sub-segment indicated as being interested in. From
the results of this study, there seems to be a market for a fashion magazine aimed specifically at
them, as it is clear that the women in the market segment of the study are interested in fashion and
read fashion magazines regularly. Previous research also showed that the Mzansi Youth want to
„make a statement‟, and have the need to show that they are “with it” and on par with the latest trend
at the moment (Black Diamond Survey, 2008:60). A fashion magazine specifically aimed at them,
should incorporate this “state of mind” when wanting to target this market segment.
Furthermore, it is recommended that fashion magazine marketers should take into account the strong
preference for the Euro-African fashion photograph the women in the targeted group displayed in
this study. It could be useful to include more Euro-African images in existing fashion magazines in
South Africa, or to create a fashion magazine focusing on the Euro-African beauty ideal, as this
particular beauty ideal seems to promote the importance this group place on their personal identity. It
is also recommended that the importance they place on personal beauty standards, specifically dress
and style, body, and hairstyle, should be in line with their wants and needs in that regard, and
portrayed in fashion images accordingly. As was also evident from previous research, the Mzansi
Youth women are future focused, and hold high expectations for their future. This future-focused
mind set of the women in the Black Diamond consumer group should be taken into consideration
when wanting to target them, as it is said that they have a unique-needs mind-set, which includes
dominance, superiority, ambitiousness, assertiveness, and a go-getting style of living (Black
Diamond Survey, 2008:68). However, the most important needs mind-set of future focused Black
Diamond women is the “individualistic” aspect, which is also portrayed strongly in the results
obtained throughout this particular study, and should come through strongly in the brand identity of
a magazine targeting this consumer segment. It is therefore important that a fashion magazine brand
aimed at the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment, should embrace their language and symbols
166
of their success and enable them to achieve their set goals, as deemed necessary by the Black
Diamond Survey (2008).
8.7. LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY AND SUGGESTIONS FOR FUTURE STUDIES
It should be noted that there are certain limitations to this research that also provide a basis for
further research. Studying the Black Diamonds‟ social comparison and reflected appraisals of
fashion magazine images is a new phenomenon in South Africa. This is said, because although
recent research concerning the Black Diamond consumer group has been conducted over the past
few years, this is a relatively new consumer group in South Africa, and more extensive research on
the group is required. To fully understand this consumer group, more research regarding the apparel
industry and fashion magazine industry is needed, as little previous research has been done on this
market segment in that regard. With regard to this study, it is suggested that similar research be
conducted on a larger sample, and in all the regions of South Africa, with a more representative
sample, as this study is only relevant to one metropolitan area in the country. It is also suggested that
a similar study be done on all of the sub-segments in the Black Diamond consumer group, as this
study focused on the Mzansi Youth sub-segment only. If a study could be conducted on all four subsegments, results can be generalised to the entire Black Diamond consumer group, although the
segmented nature within the Black Diamond consumer group should be kept in mind when doing so.
It could also be useful to conduct research on the differences of perceptions regarding the research
topic, on young white South African women and their black counterparts. By conducting a similar
study on young adult white South African women, comparisons can be made to the results obtained
from this study, to better target all young adult South African women. This could be useful when
wanting to understand their similarities and differences, when wanting to appeal to them through a
fashion magazine, and to use fashion magazine images accordingly. It could also prove to be fruitful
to conduct interviews with respondents, especially with regard to their appraisals of the various
cultural beauty ideals portrayed in the fashion photographs in the questionnaire of this study, as
open-ended questions attempting to gather information regarding the reasons for their answers, were
not up to par. By conducting interviews, a better understanding could be created in that regard.
Finally, the aim of this study was to explore and describe the Black Diamonds‟ social comparison
and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images. It was also to assess the void in the fashion
magazine market specifically catering for the needs of the women in the Mzansi Youth sub-segment.
The study was done to contribute to research in the fashion magazine field in South Africa, and can
167
serve as a basis for further research to be conducted in the industry, to better understand the wants
and needs of the women in the Black Diamond consumer group regarding fashion magazines aimed
at them, and the images included in such magazines. In spite of the limitations mentioned, and
possibilities for improvement, the results of this study should be used as a pilot study to improve the
use of fashion magazine images in South Africa aimed at young adult black women in the country.
168
LIST OF REFERENCES
ADOMAITIS, A.D. & JOHNSON, K.P. 2007. „Advertisements: interpreting images used to sell to
young adults‟. Journal of Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 12, No. 2, 2008, pp.182-192.
Available at: www.emeraldinsight.com/1361-2026.htm
APPIAH, O. 2001. 'Black, White, Hispanic, and Asian American Adolescents' Responses to
Culturally
Embedded Ads'. Howard Journal of Communications, Vol. 12, No. 1, pp. 29-48 Available at:
http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10646170117577
BABBIE, E. & MOUTON, J. 2001. The practice of social research. Cape Town: Oxford University
Press.
BANIM, M., GREEN, E., & GUY, E. 2001. Through the Wardrobe: Women‟s relationships with
their clothes. Oxford, New York.
BELK, R.W. 1988. Possessions and the extended self. Journal of Consumer research, Vol.15, no. 2,
pp. 139-168. Available at:
http://www.citeulike.org/user/ianli/article/482195) (accessed on 4 July 2007).
BLACK DIAMOND WOMAN, 2009. „Possibly the most important local market in Sa in the
foreseeable future‟. Issued by The Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing. Available at:
http://www.unileverinsitute.co.za
BLACK DIAMOND 2007 SURVEY, conducted by the University of Cape Town Unilever Institute
for Strategic Research in partnership with TNS Research Surveys, Ogilvy and B-two. Strategic
Marketing, presented June (CD-ROM). Cape Town: South Africa
BLACK DIAMOND 2008 SURVEY, conducted by the University of Cape Town Unilever Institute
for Strategic Research in conjunction with TNS Research Surveys, presented October (CD-ROM).
Cape Town: South Africa
169
BORNMAN, E. 2010. Emerging patterns of social identification in post-apartheid South Africa.
Journal of Social Issues, Vol. 66, No. 2, 2010, pp. 237-254.
BREWER, M.B. 1991. The Social Self: On being the same and different at the same time.
Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, Vol. 17, no. 5, October 1991, pp. 475-482.
BUDGEON, S. & CURRIE, D.H. 2002. „From Feminism to post feminism – Women‟s liberation in
Fashion Magazines‟. Women‟s studies International Forum, Vol. 18, No. 2, (March-April 1995),
pp. 173-186. Available at: www.sciencedirect.com
BURNS, L.D. & SPROLES, G.B. 1994. Changing Appearances: Understanding dress in
contemporary society. Fairchild Publications. New York.
BUUNK, A.P. & GIBBONS, F.X. 2007. Social Comparison: The end of a theory and the emergence
of a field. Organisational Behaviour and Human Decision Processes, Vol. 102, 2007, pp.3-21.
CANT, M., GERBER-NEL, C., NEL, D. & KOTZE, T. 2003. Marketing Research. New Africa
Books. South Africa.
CHILDERS, T.L. & RAO, A.R. 1992. „The Influence of Familial and Peer-Based Reference Groups
on Consumer Decisions‟. The Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 19, No. 2, ((Sep., 2002), pp198211). Published by The University of Chicago Press. Available at:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/2489328
CLODFELTER, R. 2003. Retail Buying: from basics to fashion. New York. Fairchild Publications.
CONOVER, W.J. 1999. Practical nonparametric statistics, 3rd edition. New York: John Wiley &
Sons.
CRAIG, R.L. 1991. Designing Ethnicity: The ideology of images. Design Issues, Vol. 1, No. 2.
(Spring), pp. 34-42.
170
CRANE, D. 1999. Gender and Hegemony in Fashion Magazines: Women‟s Interpretations of
Fashion Photographs. The sociological Quarterly, Vol. 40 (Autumn, 1999), pp. 541-563. Available
at: www.jstor.org/stable/4121253
DAVIDSON, L., MCNEILL, L. & FERGUSON, S. 2007. „Magazine communities: Brand
community formation in magazine consumption‟. International Journal of Sociology and Social
Policy. Vol. 27, No. 5/6, 2007 (pp. 208-220). Available at: www.emeraldinsight.com/0144-333x.htm
DESHPANDE, R. & STAYMAN, D.M.
1994. “A tale of two cities: Distinctiveness Theory
Effectiveness Theory”. Journal of Marketing Research. Vol. 31, No.1, pp. 57-64.
DE VOS, A.S. 2005. Research at Grass roots: for the social sciences and human service
professions. 3rd Edition. Pretoria. Van Schaik.
DIAMANTOPOULOS, A. & SCHLEGELMILCH, B.B. 1997. Taking the Fear Out of Data
Analysis: A Step-by-Step Approach. The Dryden Press. London.
DUKE, L. 2000. Black in a blonde world: race and girls' interpretations of the feminine ideal in teen
magazines. Journalism and Mass Communication Quarterly Vol. 77, No.2, pp. 367-392.
DU PLESSIS, P.J & ROUSSEAU, G.G. 2003. Buyer Behavior: A Multi-Cultural Approach. 3rd
edition. Oxford University Press.
ENGLIS, B.G., SOLOMON, M.R., ASHMORE, R.D. 1994. Beauty before the eyes of the
beholders: The cultural encoding of beauty types in magazine advertising and music television.
Journal of Advertising, Vol. Xxiii, No. 2, June, pp. 49-63.
ETHIER, K.A. & DEAUX, K. 1994. Negotiating Social Identity when contexts change: Maintaining
identification and responding to threat. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 67, No.
2, pp. 243-251.
FESTINGER, L. 1954. A Theory of social comparison process. Human Relations, Vol. 7, pp. 117140.
171
FIORE, A. M., & KIMLE, P. A. 1997. Understanding aesthetics for the merchandising and design
professional. New York. Fairchild Publications
FISKE, A.P. 2002. Using Individualism and Collectivism to compare cultures- A critique of the
validity and measurement of constructs: Comment on Oysterman et al. Psychological Bulletin, Vol.
28, pp. 78-88.
FRANCHI, V. & SWART, T.M. 2003. From apartheid to affirmative action: the use of „racial‟
markers in past, present and future articulations of identity among South African students.
International Journal of Intercultural Relations, Vol. 27, pp. 209-236.
FRIEDMAN, 2000. Consumer behavior course. (Available at): http://academic.brooklyn.cuny.edu/
(Accessed on 20 August 2007)
FRINGS, G.S. 2005. Fashion: from concept to consumer. 8th Edition. New Jersey. Upper Saddle
River.
FRISBY, C.M. 2004. Does race matter?: effects of idealized images of African American women‟s
perception of body esteem. Journal of Black Studies, Vol. 34, No. 3, January, pp. 323-347.
GELB, S. 2007. „The Great South African Middle Class‟. Available at:
http://web.wits.ac.za/newsroom/newsitems/gelb.htm
HEAVEN, P.C.L., SIMBAYI, L., STONES, C. & LE ROUX, A. 2000. Human Values and Social
Identity among samples of white and black South Africans. International Journal of Psychology, Vol.
35, No. 1, pp. 67-72.
HOGG, M.A., TERRY, D.J., & WHITE, K.M. 1995. A Tale of Two Theories: A critical comparison
of identity theory with social identity theory. Social Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 58, No.4, pp. 255269.
HOLLAND, J. & GENTRY, J.W., 1999. „Ethnic consumer reaction to target marketing: A Theory
of Intercultural Accommodation‟. Journal of advertising, Vol. XXVIII, No. 1 (Spring 1999), pp 6577.
172
JENSEN, S. H. 2004. „Exploring the Impact of Culture and Acculturation on Consumer Purchase
Decisions: Toward A Microcultural Perspective‟. Published by the Academy of Marketing Science
Review. Available at: http://www.allbusiness.com/management/3504484-1.html
JOHNSON, K.P. 2008. Advertisements: interpreting images to sell to young adults. Journal of
Fashion Marketing and Management, Vol. 12, No. 2, pp. 182-192.
KACEN, J.J. & LEE, J.A. 2002. „The Influence of Culture on consumer Impulse Buying Behavior‟.
Journal of Consumer Psychology, Vol. 12, No. 2 (2002), pp. 163-176. Available at:
http://www.jstor.org/stable/1480261
KAISER, S.B. 1985. The social psychology of clothing. Macmillan publishing company. New York.
KAISER, U. & WRIGHT, J. 2005. Price structure in two-sided markets: Evidence from the
magazine industry. International Journal of Industrial Organization, Vol. 24 (2006), pp. 1-28.
Available at: www.sciencedirect.com
KOPNINA, H. 2007. The world according to Vogue: The role of culture(s) in international fashion
magazines. Dialectical Anthropology, Vol 31, pp 363-381
KUCUKEMIROGLU, O. 1999. „Market segmentation by using consumer lifestyle dimensions and
ethnocentrism‟. European journal of Marketing, Vol. 33, No. 5/6, pp. 470-487. Available at:
http://www.emeraldinsight.com.innopac.up.ac.za
LAKE, J. 2007. Magazines evolve with print media technology. Article available at:
http://www.christiannotepad.com (accessed on 24 March 2007).
LAMB, C.W & HAIR, J.F. 2002. Marketing. New York. Oxford University Press.
LEEDY, P.D. & ORMROD, J.E. 2005. Practical research: Planning and design (8th ed.)
International edition. Prentice Hall. New Jersey.
173
LENNON, S.J., RUDD, N.N., SLOAN, B., KIM, J.S. 1999. Attitudes toward gender roles, selfesteem, and body image: Application of a model. Clothing and Textiles Journal, Vol. 17, No. 4, pp.
191-202.
LE ROUX, M. 2007. Not all fun and games for South Africa‟s „Black Diamonds‟. (Article cited at):
http://news.yahoo.com (Accessed on 14 August 2007).
MAWERS, S. 2006. „Market Intelligence- South Africa‟s “black diamonds”‟. Available at:
http://business.iafrica.com/african_business/features/592855.htm
MCKAY, J. 2008. „The Magazine Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to Consumer Magazines‟.
Magazine Publishers of America, Inc. New York. Available at: http://www.magazine.org (accessed
3 March 2009).
MOERAN, B. 2003. „International Fashion magazines‟. 6th ESA Conference, Murcia, 2003.
Research Networks 6 – Economic Sociology.
MOERAN, B. 2006. „More than just a Fashion Magazine‟. Current Sociology, Vol. 54, No. 5, (Sept
2006), pp. 725-744. Available online at:
http://www.sagepublications.com/cgi/content/abstract/54/5/725
MOERAN, B. 2002. „The Field of Women‟s Fashion magazines: A cross-cultural comparison of
Elle‟. Working paper no. 27 , 2002. Available at http://ep.lip.cbs.dk/paper/ISB
MOUTON, J. 1996. Understanding Social Research. Pretoria: Van Schaik
NEUMANN, W.L. 2000. „Social research methods, qualitative and quantitative approaches‟. 4th
Edition. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.
NOW PROJECT, 2007. Reference to 12 Archetypes. Available online at:
http://www.nowproject.co.za (accessed 1 March 2011)
OLIVIER, D. 2007. „South Africa poised to become a loyalty marketing gem‟. Journal of Consumer
Marketing, Vol. 24, no. 3, pp. 180-181. Available at: www.emeraldinsight.com/0736-3761.htm
174
PEASE, C. 2005. The Haute Couture of Journalism. (Journal cited at):
http://oak.cats/fashionwritng.html (accessed on 5 March 2007)
PHINNEY, J.S. & ONG, A.D. 2007. „Conceptualisation and measurement of Ethnic identity:
Current status and future directions‟. Journal of Counselling Psychology, 2007, Vol. 54, No. 3, pp.
271-281.
RABOLT, N.J. & SOLOMON M.R. 2004. Consumer Behaviour in Fashion.
Prentice Hall. Upper Saddle River. New Yersey.
REILLY, A. & RUDD, N.A. 2009. Social Anxiety as Predictor of personal aesthetic among women.
Clothing & Textiles Journal, Vol. XX, No. X, pp. 1-13.
RICHINS, M.L. 1991. Social Comparison and the Idealised images of advertising. Journal of
Consumer Research, Vol. 18, June 1991, pp. 71-83.
RUBIN, L.R, FITTS, M.L & BECKER, A.E. 2003. “Whatever feels good in my soul”: Body ethics
and aesthetics among African American and Latina women. Culture, Medicine and Psychiatry, Vol.
27, pp. 49-75
RUNDELL, S. 2006. „How South Africa‟s black buying power is changing society‟. Available at:
www.allbusiness.com/finance/4077861-1.html
SCHMITT, M.T., BRANSCOMBE, N.R., SILVIA, P.J., GARCIA, D.M., & SPEARS, R. 2006.
Categorising at the group-level in response to intra-group social comparisons: A self-categorisation
theory integration of self-evaluation and social identity motives. European Journal of Social
Psychology, Vol. 36, 2006, pp. 297-314.
SHAW, D.S. & CLARKE, I. 1998. „Culture, consumption and choice: towards a conceptual
relationship‟. Journal of Consumer Studies an Home Economics, Vol. 22, No. 3 (Sept 1998), pp
163-168. Available at: www.blackwell-synergy.com
175
STETTS, J.E. & BURKE, P.J. 2000. Identity Theory and Social Identity Theory. Social Psychology
Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 3, pp. 224-237.
STEVENS, GARTH, LOCKHAT, RAFIQ. 1997. „Coca-Cola Kids‟- reflections on black identity
development in post-apartheid South-Africa. South African Journal of Psychology, Dec. 1997, Vol.
27, Issue 4, pp. 1-5.
STRYKER, S. & BURKE, P.J. 2000. The past, present, and future of an Identity Theory. Social
Psychology Quarterly, Vol. 63, No. 4, pp. 284-297.
SOLOMON, M.R., ASHMORE, R.D., LONGO, L.C. 1992. The beauty match-up hypothesis:
Congruence between types of beauty and product images in advertising. Journal of Advertising, Vol.
Xxi, No 4, December pp.23-34.
STROHSCHNEIDER, S. 2002. „Cultural Factors in Complex Decision-making‟. Available at:
http://www.wwu.edu/~culture
SNYDER, R. 2002. „Market Segmentation: successfully targeting mature markets‟, The Journal of
Active Aging: March-April, pp10-50, viewed 1 Sept 2007,
http://www.caa/ArticleArchives/Marketsegmentation
SOUTH AFRICAN ADVERTISING RESEARCH FOUNDATION, 2009. Media audiences,
product and brands. Available at: http://www.saarf.co.za/
TAJFEL, H. 1981. Human groups and social catergories. Cambridge. Cambridge University Press.
TAJFEL, H. & TURNER, J.C. 1979. An Integrative Theory of Intergroup Conflict. In W. G. Austin
& S. Worchel (Eds.), The Social Psychology of Intergroup Relations. Monterey, CA: Brooks-Cole
TALENT- BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS. 2006. New study shows how marketers can better connect
with SA‟s black middle class. Issued by: UCT Unilever Institute of Strategic Marketing. Rabana.
Available at: http://www.tmtd.biz/ (Accessed on 20 August 2007)
176
TROCHIM, W.M.K. 2006. The Research Methods Knowledge Base. 2006. Available at:
http://www.socialresearchmethods.net/kb/reltypes.php (Accessed on 27 February 2009)
THE NEW BLACK MIDDLE CLASS. 2006. „Economic power‟. Issued by Research Surveys.
Available at: http://www.bizcommunity.com. (accessed on 14 August 2007).
VOGHT, L. & LAHER, S. 2009. The five-factor model of personality and Individualism/
Collectivism in South Africa: An exploratory study. PINS, 2009, Vol. 37, pp. 39-54.
WALLIMAN, N. 2005. Your Research Project: A Step-by-Step Guide for the first-time researcher.
London. SAGA Publications.
WANG, C., ZHANG, P., CHOI, R., & D‟EREDITA, M. 2002. Understanding Consumers Attitude
toward Advertising. Eighth Americas Conference on Information Systems, 2002, pp. 1143-1148.
WATT, J. 1999. The Penguin Book of Twentieth-century FASHION WRITING. Middlesex.
England. Penguin Group.
WIMMER, R. D. & DOMINICK, J. R. 2000. Mass media research: an introduction, (6th ed.).
Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Publishing Company.
WHITTLER, T. 1989. The effects of actors‟ race in commercial advertising: Review and extension.
Journal of Advertising. Vol. 20, pp. 54-60.
177
ADDENDUM A:
QUESTIONNAIRE
(Please note: For printing purposes the “For office use (coding)” section was removed in the
questionnaire below)
178
UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
FACULTY OF NATURAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER SCIENCE
Dear Respondent,
I am inviting you to participate in my research project on young women‟s evaluation of fashion
photographs. Along with this letter is a short questionnaire that asks a variety of questions about the
research topic. Please look through the questionnaire and, if you choose to do so, complete it and
please give it back to me. It should take you about ten minutes to complete.
The results of this research project will be used in a dissertation for the completion of my Masters
Degree in Consumer Science: Clothing Management.
I do not know of any risks to you if you decide to participate in this survey and I guarantee that your
responses will not be identified with you personally. I promise not to share any information that
identifies you with anyone outside my research group, which consists of my study leader and me.
I hope you will take the time to complete this questionnaire and return it. Your participation is
voluntary and you do not have to put your name on the questionnaire.
If you have any questions or concerns about completing the questionnaire or about being in this
study, you may contact me at 0824143841. The Review Board at the University of Pretoria
(Department of Consumer Science) has approved this study.
Sincerely,
Candice Grebe
(Student at the University of Pretoria)
I consent to participate in the study about young women‟s evaluation of fashion photographs.
Signature:………………………
Date:………………………
179
The questionnaire consists of 3 Sections. Please complete all the questions in each section and
follow the instructions carefully.
SECTION A:
1. Please state your age ……
2 Are you a South African Citizen? Yes
No
1
2
3. To which cultural group do you belong?
1
African
2
3
Caucasian
Other (please specify)…………………………
4 Where do your parents live?
1
2
Rural area
3
City suburbs
Other (please specify)…………………
5. Please indicate whether you are a student and/ or working?
1
2
Student only
Student and working
6. How often do you read fashion magazines? (Please tick the applicable box)
1
Almost every day
2
Once a week
4
Not so often
5
Almost never
3
Monthly
7. Which of the following magazines do you purchase? You may choose more than one:
a)
1
Cosmopolitan
b)
d)
4
Cleo
e)
2
2
5
ELLE
c)
3
Glamour
True Love
f)
6
Other (Please specify)……………………
8. Why do you read fashion magazines? You may choose more than one reason:
a)
1
Beauty
b)
2
Health
c)
3
To keep up to date
d)
4
Fashion
e)
5
Articles
f)
6
Other (Please specify)……………………
SECTION B:
Please answer the following questions. There are no right or wrong answers. We are only interested in
your honest opinion.
9. Considering your feminine ideal of beauty, which of the aspects below are most important to you (Please rank
the factors below, with (1) being most important, and (5) being least important):
a)
1
Hairstyle b)
2
Accessories
c)
3
Body
d)
4
Skin colour
e)
5
Dress
180
10. When you think of your feminine ideal of beauty, which aspects are important to you? (You may choose more
than one):
a)
1
Dress
b)
2
Skin colour
c)
3
Hairstyle
d)
4
Accessories
e)
5
Body shape
f)
6
Other (Please specify)……………………
11. Please indicate the importance of each of the following statements by placing a cross (X) in the appropriate
block, where (1) indicates very important, (2) indicates important, (3) indicates less important and (4) indicates
not important.
Statement:
IT IS IMPORTANT TO ME:
Very
Important
1
Important
2
Less
Important
3
Not
Important
4
a) that my dress style looks like that of my African friends
b) that my dress style looks like that of Westernised women
c) to compare my appearance to that of my friends
d) to compare my appearance to Western styles
e) that fashion magazine models are from my own culture
f) that fashion magazine models are from a Western origin
g) to feel that I belong to a specific cultural group
h) to be acknowledged as an individual person
i) that my appearance shows that I am an African women
j) that my appearance shows my personal qualities
k) that my appearance shows that I am an upcoming
African student
l) that my appearance shows that I am proud of my
personal qualities
12. If you compare your appearance and the image that you portray to your specific ideal of beauty, what is
important to you to compare? (Please give a detailed description)
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
…………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
13. Why is it important to you, to compare yourself to other women? (Select the ONE most important to you)
1
It helps me to see where I fit in and to feel part of a group
2
3
4
It helps me to see my shortcomings so that I can improve myself
It helps me to see how I relate in comparison to others
It helps me to feel better about myself
181
14. When you compare yourself to the fashion ideal of beauty, but feel like you fall short of it, what is it you will
most likely do? (Please tick only ONE box)
1
I would accept the beauty standard, and try harder to reach it
2
3
4
I would accept the beauty standard, but would not do anything to achieve it
I would modify or change my personal beauty standard
I would modify or change my cultural beauty standard
15. Please indicate the importance of each of the following statements by putting a cross (X) in the appropriate
block, where (1) indicates very important, (2) indicates important, (3) indicates less important and (4) indicates
not important.
Statement
Very
Important
Important
Less
Important
Not
Important
1
2
3
4
a) The colour of my dress should complement my skin colour
b) The style of my dress should fit my body beautifully
c) My accessories should be eye-catching
d) My clothes should make me feel feminine
e) My appearance should give me pleasure
f) My appearance should make me feel in command of myself
g) My appearance should reflect my cultural values
h) My appearance should show others who I am
i) My appearance should reflect the group I belong to
SECTION C:
Please study the fashion photographs below and answer all the questions by placing a cross (X) in
the appropriate block where applicable:
PHOTOGRAPH 1:
182
16.1
Statement
Yes,
very much
1
Yes
No,
not so much
3
2
No,
not al all
4
I like the fashion image
16.2 Please describe the reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
16.3
Statement
Yes,
Definitely
1
Yes,
probably
2
Probably not
3
No,
not al all
4
I would buy a fashion magazine
with similar images
16.4 Please describe the reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
16.5
Statement
Yes,
Definitely
1
Yes,
probably
2
Probably not
No,
not al all
4
3
I would compare myself with
the image
16.6 Please describe which aspects of yourself you would compare and which not?
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
16.7 If you have ticked block 1 or 2 in Question 16.5, please choose one of the reasons below
1
2
3
4
It helps me to see where I fit in and to feel part of a group
It helps me to see my shortcomings so that I can improve myself
It helps me to see how I relate in comparison to others
It helps me to feel better about myself
183
16.8 If you have ticked block 1 or 2 in Question 16.5, please give reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
16.9 If you have ticked block 3 or 4 in Question 16.5, what will your reaction most probably be?
1
2
I will change my appearance to compare more positively
3
4
I will change my view of what I personally think is beautiful
I won’t do anything further to look like the standard
I will change the way I view my cultural beauty standard
16.10 Please indicate with an “X” in the corresponding block, whether you find Photograph 1:
16.10.1)
Eye-catching
1
2
Not eye-catching
3
4
5
6
7
16.10.2)
For me
1
Not for me
2
3
4
5
6
7
16.10.3)
Attractive
1
16.10.4)
Not attractive
2
3
4
5
6
Appealing
1
7
Not appealing
2
3
4
5
6
7
16.10.5)
Likeable
1
Not likeable
2
3
4
5
6
7
184
16.11 Please indicate if you would purchase the clothing featured in Photograph 1, by marking an “X” in the
appropriate block:
1
Very likely
2
Maybe
3
Very unlikely
16.12 Please indicate if you would purchase a fashion magazine typically featuring fashion photographs similar to
Photograph 1, by marking an “X” in the appropriate block:
1
2
3
Very possible
Maybe
Probably not
16.13 Please indicate if you relate to Photograph 1 in terms of dress, cultural background and appearance?
1
Very likely
2
Maybe
3
Very unlikely
PHOTOGRAPH 2:
17.1
Statement
Yes,
very much
1
Yes
2
No,
not so much
3
No,
not al all
4
I like the fashion image
185
17.2 Please describe the reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
17.3
Statement
Yes,
Definitely
1
Yes,
probably
2
Probably not
3
No,
not al all
4
I would buy a fashion magazine
with similar images
17.4 Please describe the reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
17.5
Statement
Yes,
Definitely
1
Yes,
probably
2
Probably not
No,
not al all
4
3
I would compare myself with
the image
17.6 Please describe which aspects of yourself you would compare and which not?
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
17.7 If you have ticked block 1 or 2 in Question 17.5, please choose one of the reasons below
1
2
3
4
It helps me to see where I fit in and to feel part of a group
It helps me to see my shortcomings so that I can improve myself
It helps me to see how I relate in comparison to others
It helps me to feel better about myself
17.8 If you have ticked block 1 or 2 in Question 17.5, please give reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
186
17.9 If you have ticked block 3 or 4 in Question 17.5, what will your reaction most probably be?
1
2
3
4
I will change my appearance to compare more positively
I won’t do anything further to look like the standard
I will change my view of what I personally think is beautiful
I will change the way I view my cultural beauty standard
17.10 Please indicate with an “X” in the corresponding block, whether you find Photograph 1:
17.10.1)
Eye-catching
1
2
Not eye-catching
3
4
5
6
7
17.10.2)
For me
Not for me
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
17.10.3)
Attractive
1
Not attractive
2
3
4
5
6
7
17.10.4)
Appealing
1
Not appealing
2
3
4
5
6
7
17.10.5)
Likeable
1
Not likeable
2
3
4
5
6
7
17.11 Please indicate if you would purchase the clothing featured in Photograph 1, by marking an “X” in the
appropriate block:
1
Very likely
2
Maybe
3
Very unlikely
187
17.12 Please indicate if you would purchase a fashion magazine typically featuring fashion photographs similar to
Photograph 1, by marking an “X” in the appropriate block:
1
2
3
Very possible
Maybe
Probably not
17.13 Please indicate if you relate to Photograph 1 in terms of dress, cultural background and appearance?
1
Very likely
2
Maybe
3
Very unlikely
PHOTOGRAPH 3:
18.1
Statement
Yes,
very much
1
Yes
2
No,
not so much
3
No,
not al all
4
I like the fashion image
188
18.2 Please describe the reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
18.3
Statement
Yes,
Definitely
1
Yes,
probably
2
Probably not
3
No,
not al all
4
I would buy a fashion magazine
with similar images
18.4 Please describe the reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
18.5
Statement
Yes,
Definitely
1
Yes,
probably
2
Probably not
3
No,
not al all
4
I would compare myself with
the image
18.6 Please describe which aspects of yourself you would compare and which not?
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
18.7 If you have ticked block 1 or 2 in Question 18.5, please choose one of the reasons below
1
2
3
4
It helps me to see where I fit in and to feel part of a group
It helps me to see my shortcomings so that I can improve myself
It helps me to see how I relate in comparison to others
It helps me to feel better about myself
18.8 If you have ticked block 1 or 2 in Question 18.5, please give reasons for your answer:
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
……………………………………………………………………………………………………………………
189
18.9 If you have ticked block 3 or 4 in Question 18.5, what will your reaction most probably be?
1
2
3
4
I will change my appearance to compare more positively
I won’t do anything further to look like the standard
I will change my view of what I personally think is beautiful
I will change the way I view my cultural beauty standard
18.10 Please indicate with an “X” in the corresponding block, whether you find Photograph 1:
18.10.1)
Eye-catching
1
2
Not eye-catching
3
4
5
6
7
18.10.2)
For me
1
Not for me
2
3
4
5
6
7
18.10.3)
Attractive
1
Not attractive
2
3
4
5
6
7
18.10.4)
Appealing
1
Not appealing
2
3
4
5
6
7
18.10.5)
Likeable
1
Not likeable
2
3
4
5
6
7
190
18.11 Please indicate if you would purchase the clothing featured in Photograph 1, by marking an “X” in the
appropriate block:
1
Very likely
2
Maybe
3
Very unlikely
18.12 Please indicate if you would purchase a fashion magazine typically featuring fashion photographs similar to
Photograph 1, by marking an “X” in the appropriate block:
1
2
3
Very possible
Maybe
Probably not
18.13 Please indicate if you relate to Photograph 1 in terms of dress, cultural background and appearance?
1
Very likely
2
Maybe
3
Very unlikely
THANK YOU FOR YOUR PARTICIPATION
191
ADDENDUM B:
PANEL QUESTIONNAIRE
(Please take note: Photographs for the panel questionnaire were given on a CD to be viewed on a
computer by the panel of experts. Here however, the photographs will be attached (printed) at the
end of the questionnaire, and the CD is included at the end of the study. Please refer to the
photographs attached at the end of the questionnaire or view the photographs on the CD, where
references are made to Category 1, Category 2, and Category 3 on the CD)
192
UNIVERSITY OF PRETORIA
FACULTY OF NATURAL AND AGRICULTURAL SCIENCES
DEPARTMENT OF CONSUMER SCIENCE
Dear Respondent,
I am inviting you to participate in my research project to study the role of culture in Black
Diamonds‟ social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images. Along with this
letter is a short questionnaire that asks a few questions about a variety of fashion images. Please look
through the questionnaire and, if you choose to do so, complete it and please give it back to me. It
should take you about ten minutes to complete.
The results of this research project will be used in a dissertation for the completion of my Masters
Degree in Consumer Science: Clothing Management. Your evaluation of the fashion images will
help to ensure that the fashion images that will ultimately be included in my questionnaires to be
handed out to the Black Diamond‟s consumer group, will include stimuli that are similar across all
fashion images, and therefore eliminate bias in responses.
Through your participation I hope to understand the role that culture plays in Black Diamonds‟
social comparison and reflected appraisals of fashion magazine images. I hope to share my results by
publishing them in a scientific journal. I do not know of any risks to you if you decide to participate
in this survey and I guarantee that your responses will not be identified with you personally. I
promise not to share any information that identifies you with anyone outside my research group,
which consists of my study leader and me.
I hope you will take the time to complete this questionnaire and return it. Your participation is
voluntary and you do not have to put your name on the questionnaire.
If you have any questions or concerns about completing the questionnaire or about being in this
study, you may contact me at 0824143841. The Review Board at the University of Pretoria
(Department of Consumer Science) has approved this study.
Sincerely,
Candice Grebe
(Student at the University of Pretoria)
193
***The following criteria were considered when the fashion photographs were
selected:

Fashion photographs evoking more or less the same amount of attractiveness

Fashion photographs evoking the same level of vividness & drawing the same
amount of attention

Fashion photographs (in my opinion) representative of each of the three beauty
ideals, in terms of skin colour, dress, hairstyle and cultural artefacts such as
accessories.

Fashion photographs with no imagery brand names

Fashion photographs featuring models of similar sizes

Fashion photographs with a clear view of the clothes featured

Fashion photographs featuring one style, namely dresses
CATEGORY 1:
Please open the folder “Panel evaluation” on your CD, open “Category 1”, and click “view
slide show”. The ten fashion photographs are from fashion editorials typically seen in
women’s fashion magazines and on the Internet. Please answer all the questions and rate
the ten fashion photographs in terms of the guidelines below:
194
Question 1
Please indicate whether you agree with each statement below, by placing an “X” in the
appropriate block.
1.1)
The fashion photograph portrays a Westernised beauty ideal well, in terms of dress.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
1.2)
The fashion photograph portrays a Westernised beauty ideal well, in terms of skin colour.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
195
1.3)
The fashion photograph portrays a Westernised beauty ideal well, in terms of hairstyle.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
1.4)
The fashion photograph portrays a Westernised beauty ideal well, in terms of cultural
artefacts, such as accessories.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
196
Question 2
2.1) Please rate the fashion photographs from most attractive to least attractive, by placing the
numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate blocks below:
Most attractive
Least attractive
2.2) Please rate the fashion photographs according to the level they represent an appropriate
Westernised beauty ideal, by placing the numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate
blocks below:
Most representative
Least representative
2.3) Please rate the fashion photographs from most eye-catching to least eye-catching, by placing
the numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate blocks below:
Most eye-catching
Least eye-catching
CATEGORY 2:
Please open “Category 2” on your CD, and click “view slide show”. The ten fashion
photographs are from fashion editorials typically seen in women’s fashion magazines and
on the Internet. Please answer all the questions and rate the ten fashion photographs in
terms of the guidelines below:
197
Question 1
Please indicate whether you agree with each statement below, by placing an “X” in the
appropriate block.
1.1)
The fashion photograph portrays a African beauty ideal well, in terms of dress.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
1.2)
The fashion photograph portrays a African beauty ideal well, in terms of skin colour.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
198
1.3)
The fashion photograph portrays a African beauty ideal well, in terms of hairstyle.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
1.4)
The fashion photograph portrays a African beauty ideal well, in terms of cultural artefacts,
such as accessories.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
199
Question 2
2.1) Please rate the fashion photographs from most attractive to least attractive, by placing the
numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate blocks below:
Most attractive
Least attractive
2.2) Please rate the fashion photographs according to the level they represent an appropriate
African beauty ideal, by placing the numbers of the photographs
(1 – 10) in the appropriate blocks below:
Most representative
Least representative
2.3) Please rate the fashion photographs from most eye-catching to least eye-catching, by placing
the numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate blocks below:
Most eye-catching
Least eye-catching
CATEGORY 3:
Please open “Category 3” on your CD, and click “view slide show”. The ten fashion
photographs are from fashion editorials typically seen in women’s fashion magazines
and on the Internet. Please answer all the questions and rate the ten fashion
photographs in terms of the guidelines below:
200
Question 1
Please indicate whether you agree with each statement below, by placing an “X” in the
appropriate block.
1.1)
The fashion photograph portrays a Euro-African beauty ideal well, in terms of dress.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
1.2)
The fashion photograph portrays a Euro-African beauty ideal well, in terms of skin colour.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
201
1.3)
The fashion photograph portrays a Euro-African beauty ideal well, in terms of hairstyle.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
1.4)
The fashion photograph portrays a Euro-African beauty ideal well, in terms of cultural
artefacts, such as accessories.
Strongly
agree
Agree
Neutral
Disagree
Strongly
disagree
Picture 1
Picture 2
Picture 3
Picture 4
Picture 5
Picture 6
Picture 7
Picture 8
Picture 9
Picture 10
202
Question 2
2.1) Please rate the fashion photographs from most attractive to least attractive, by placing the
numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate blocks below:
Most attractive
Least attractive
2.2) Please rate the fashion photographs according to the level they represent an appropriate
Euro-African beauty ideal, by placing the numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate
blocks below:
Most representative
Least representative
2.3) Please rate the fashion photographs from most eye-catching to least eye-catching, by placing
the numbers of the photographs (1 – 10) in the appropriate blocks below:
Most eye-catching
Least eye-catching
Thank you for your participation
203
CATEGORY 1:
WESTERNISED BEAUTY IDEAL
1
2
4
3
5
204
6
8
7
9
10
205
CATEGORY 2:
AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
1
2
4
3
5
206
6
8
7
9
10
207
CATEGORY 3:
EURO-AFRICAN BEAUTY IDEAL
1
2
4
3
5
208
6
8
7
9
10
209
Was this manual useful for you? yes no
Thank you for your participation!

* Your assessment is very important for improving the work of artificial intelligence, which forms the content of this project

Download PDF

advertisement