Appearance, Shape and Self-Image
The video THE HUMAN BODY: APPEARANCE, SHAPE, AND SELF-IMAGE
is about the variety, meaning, and importance of the bodies we
inhabit. The video examines 12 different facets of
the human body that impact our preferences, our ideals, our
attitudes, and -- perhaps most important -- our self-images.
Some of the subjects explored in THE HUMAN BODY include bulimia,
anorexia, tattooing, branding, plastic surgery, scarification,
body prejudices and "weightism," the impact of "super-models"
and beauty pageants, the effects of aging, and cultural differences
in ideas about who is beautiful.
In each case, the power, subtlety, and significance of the body
is explored. Using the powerful evidence of their own lives,
the people in THE HUMAN BODY demonstrate how each of us is
dramatically affected by the strong attitudes, preferences, and
feelings we have about our own body.
Here is what reviewers are saying about THE HUMAN BODY:
- "In clear, concise, and sometimes poignant ways,
THE HUMAN BODY lays bare the many facets of our culture's
preoccupation with, and effects of, physical appearance.
Students cannot watch THE HUMAN BODY without wanting to discuss
and debate the issues it raises. It is that good;
that compelling. And the more matters such as weight
discrimination, eating disorders, and other excesses
in the name of youth and beauty are discussed, the greater the
chances we will deal more sensibly with such matters in the future."
- ---Mark L. Knapp, Jones Centennial Professor in Communication,
University of Texas, co-author "Nonverbal Communication and
- "In THE HUMAN BODY, Archer continues his exploration of the world
of nonverbal behavior. This video deals sensitively and in a thought-
provoking manner with body image and our personal relation to our
body. His use of candid interviews remains an excellent way for the
viewer to identify personally, thus intensifying the impact and allowing
a wide range of responses. This video touches on numerous topics that
are important in today's society and does so in a way that is sure to
stimulate very profitable discussion in class, as well as
"This video is emotionally compelling and it engages the empathy
of the viewer. The women who talked about eating disorders really got
to me, and I marvel at how Archer can get people to be so real and
frank in front of the camera.
"The non-judgmental tone of the video will keep the interest of college
students who are so involved with their bodies--through decoration, piercing,
tattooing, controlling their weight, changing the body through surgery--
while helping them to understand these phenomena at both a personal and a
societal level. This excellent film should be shown in many classes."
- ---Judith Hall, Professor of Psychology, Northeastern University, former Editor, "The Journal of Nonverbal Behavior."
- "THE HUMAN BODY
is a fantastic teaching tool because it captures
students' attention and makes them look at the world in new ways. My
students loved the way that the film uses real people, highlights
cross-cultural differences in beauty ideals, and reveals the human costs of
trying to live up to "barbie doll" standards. The segments on branding,
scarring, piercing, and tattooing are especially effective in helping
students see how the body is a vehicle for expressing both individual
identity and social conformity.
After showing THE HUMAN BODY to a class of
over 100 students, we had a provocative discussion that was both emotional
and academic. Students spoke of personal experiences but also discussed
the social and psychological processes that undergird our understandings of
our own and others' bodies.
"THE HUMAN BODY is a fantastic introduction
to a variety of social and personal issues that confront young people
today. Showing the film is a wonderful way to begin a discussion of the
many ways that gender is linked to self-image, self-presentation, deviance,
conformity, and social control. The film does a masterful job of
illustrating how unrealistic beauty ideals at the societal level are linked
to eating disorders at the individual level and how people struggle to
overcome them. Perhaps most importantly, the film gives students a
first-hand look at how beauty standards differ across cultures.
THE HUMAN BODY is ideal for use in courses on gender, social psychology,
socialization, and popular culture."
- ---Scott Coltrane, Professor of Sociology, University of California, Riverside
- "Dane Archer's videos on nonverbal communication are now
an integral component of several of my courses--from introductory
sociology to topical courses on emotions, gender, and social
interaction. Student reactions to the video series have been
terrific, and I'm routinely asked if there are other videos in
the series to be viewed.
"Having screened Archer's latest video, THE HUMAN BODY: APPEARANCE,
SHAPE AND SELF-IMAGE, I know that I have another excellent teaching
tool at my disposal. Archer's latest video will be the
perfect addition to my course on gender, health and body image.
The video offers fascinating visual images and
first-person accounts on a range of provocative topics, including
"weightism," eating disorders, cosmetic surgery, and body
decoration from tattoos to scarification. The video should go
a long way in helping students think about the links between
these important topics.
"I found the speakers very powerful. I loved hearing the
men from the Ivory Coast and Kenya offer alternative, positive
views of large women--with large women being seen as much more
beautiful and thinness being seen as undesirable signs
of poverty and starvation."
- ---Diana Dull, Ph.D., Lecturer in Sociology and Women's Studies,
Sonoma State University
- "This elegant and sensitive new video is an indispensible
teaching tool for those of us who are looking for ways
to enliven lectures on nonverbal communication,
self-perception, and self-expression. Instead of lecturing
to the viewer, Archer wisely steps aside and lets a
facinating collection of people speak directly into the
camera. Tattoo artists, super models, feminist activists,
anorexics, bulemics, cosmetic surgeons, and many others
tell their stories. These sometimes amusing and often
poignant interviews illuminate the varied ways body
characteristics shape our identities and interpersonal
judgments. Also, because THE HUMAN BODY is divided into
several discrete segments (e.g., standards of beauty,
weightism, body "enhancement") teachers can easily
make use of different segments at different times.
THE HUMAN BODY will engage students and make abstract
- ---Mark Costanzo, Professor of Psychology, Claremont College
- "Dane Archer's THE HUMAN BODY: APPEARANCE, SHAPE, AND SELF-IMAGE is a useful
addition to a women's studies video library. It presents a broad outline
of body issues of concern to feminists, from cosmetic surgery to eating
disorders, in a personal yet informative manner that will appeal to
students. Students who so often resist viewing the politics involved in
seemingly personal matters like appearance will no doubt be moved by the
words of their peers that are presented here. Instructors in introductory
women's studies courses as well as sociology courses that deal with gender
will find this video to be a valuable teaching tool."
- ---Judith Gerson, Professor of Women's Studies and Sociology, Rutgers University