Body Inclusivity Trends in American Society

The Psychology of Image

Psychology of Image, Bodily Aesthetics, Body Inclusivity

by Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, MA, MFA
(created April 2019; updated June 2020)


In these slides, I examine the power of images and how images can influence and impact us, especially in the realm of body inclusivity.

Thus, this presentation underscores the power of image in terms of bodily beauty in the U.S. as well as examines how image is strategically used to define and dispel beauty standards across both in- and out-groups.

As you’ll see from the slides, I’ve traced some of the changing aesthetics in terms of body exclusivity trends to the 80s and 90s where the once-dominant Victoria’s Secret lingerie and fashion brand underscored the then-standard for female body beauty: primarily caucasian with ultra long legs and slender frames. From here, I visually disassemble — literally and figuratively — the body exclusivity trend and showcase numerous imagery documenting the dramatic shifts towards inclusivity.

Overall, the totality of this presentation succinctly highlights how the power of image has played a key role in both influencing consumer perceptions and redefining the definition of beauty in dramatic and positive ways across American society.

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Mayra Ruiz-McPherson

Mayra Ruiz-McPherson, MA, MFA

Media Psychologist,
Behavioral Scientist,
Creative Strategist,
Narrative Designer,
and Positive Technologist
for Human-Centered Brands.

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