Discussion: Social Comparison

People tend to compare themselves to others to gauge their intelligence, attractiveness, and success. Problematically, those who need a self-esteem and self-confidence boost may try to gain it through a downward comparison. In other words, in order to improve their self-esteem and self-confidence, they might compare themselves to less intelligent, attractive, or successful individuals to make them feel better about their relative social standing. Consider the pervasive media images of female or male physical perfection. Western culture often overemphasizes a woman’s (and, to a lesser degree, a man’s) physical attractiveness as a measure of her (or his) cultural value. That is, western culture often conflates physical attractiveness with inherent goodness—a woman (or in some cases, a man) who is not physically attractive is somehow less good.

For this Discussion, you will analyze the development of self-concept from the perspective of downward comparisons and idealized images.

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