Body & Media Lab

Renee Engeln at Northwestern University

Talking back to the media ideal

This article details the development of the Critical Processing of Beauty Images Scale (CPBI) and studies demonstrating the psychometric soundness of this measure. The CPBI measures women’s tendency to engage in critical processing of media images featuring idealized female beauty. Three subscales were identified using exploratory factor analysis and confirmed using confirmatory factor analysis.

The Fake subscale assesses women’s tendency to critique media images of women as being too perfect to be real. The Questioning/Accusing subscale assesses women’s tendency to produce direct accusations suggesting that these types of images are harmful to women. The Too Thin subscale assesses the tendency to think models are too thin or eating disordered. Scores on all subscales demonstrated strong internal consistency and test-retest reliability. Evidence of convergent, discriminant, and predictive validity are presented. The CPBI may be useful in assessing the outcomes of media literacy efforts and explicating relationships between critical processing of beauty images and body image–related concerns.

Read more at the Psychology of Women Quarterly.