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Film Catalog » Subject Areas » Communication » Nonverbal Communication » The Human Body: Appearance, Shape and Self-Image

The Human Body: Appearance, Shape and Self-Image

The Human Body: Appearance, Shape and Self-Image - Image Produced by Dane Archer.
37 min. Color. 1998.
Available as: VHS and DVD
Captioned: Yes
Catalog #: 0006
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Sale Price: $295.00 Buy VHS Buy DVD

This often poignant and always compelling video examines with sensitivity and cross-cultural insight the variety, meaning, and importance of the bodies we inhabit. It explores 12 different facets of the human body, each of which impacts our preferences, our ideals, our attitudes, and -- perhaps most important -- our self-images.

Some of the subjects examined in the video are 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 personal beauty. In each case, the power, subtlety, and significance of the body is explored. Using the powerful evidence of their own lives, the people who appear in the video demonstrate how each of us is dramatically affected by the strong attitudes, preferences, and feelings we have about our own bodies.

The Human Body is perhaps the most moving and deeply emotional of all the videos on nonverbal behavior and communication produced by Prof. Dane Archer, of UC Santa Cruz. It is also imbued with the same zest and humor that have made all his works so popular in classrooms worldwide.


"In this video, Dane Archer continues his exploration of the world of nonverbal behavior. The 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. The 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 in-class discussion as well as personal insight. The 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." -- Judith Hall, Prof. of Psychology, Northeastern University

"In clear, concise, and sometimes poignant ways, this video lays bare the many facets of our culture's preoccupation with, and effects of, physical appearance. Students cannot watch this video 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 Prof. in Communication, University of Texas

"A fantastic teaching tool! After showing the video to a class of more than 100 students, we had a provocative discussion that was both emotional and academic. This is a superb introduction to a variety of social and personal issues that confront young people today. Showing the video 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 important, the film gives students a first-hand look at how beauty standards differ across cultures. It is ideal for use in courses on gender, social psychology, socialization, and popular culture. -- Scott Coltrane, Prof. of Sociology, University of California, Riverside


  • Western Psychological Assn. Award of Merit
  • American Psychological Assn. honoree

Additional Material

For additional information, visit http://nonverbal.ucsc.edu



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