Contingencies of Self-Worth

The advertisement by the brand AXE seeks to demonstrate how males can be appealing through a variety of means, ranging from physical appearance to skills, confidence, or intelligence. The ad is encouraging the viewer to “find your magic” – with the ultimate goal of finding approval from others, particularly women. This has become a prevalent advertisement tactic, particularly among self-care and beauty products, establishing self-awareness representation and inspiring confidence which translates to sales (DeMeyers, 2017). The AXE advertisement implies to the viewer that through the use of its grooming and self-care products, men can have the confidence to then find their unique point of appeal and attraction. This way, the person will receive approval from a sexual partner or even just the general public, fulfilling their self-worth.

Crocker and Knight (2005) suggest that events in the domains of contingent self-worth can raise or lower self-esteem, both short- and long-term as people seek to prove they are a success in that domain. Approval from others is one of the most critical contingencies since a significant portion of people’s lives is based on social contexts and interpersonal relationships. For example, the element of physical appearance which the ad touches upon stems from cognitive components of body image, measured by constructs such as internalization of social stereotypes and investment in one’s appearance (Grabe et al., 2008). Self-worth in that regard comes from the internalization of approval from others, which is why people want to look good through their bodies and clothing. Finding self-worth through approval from others is an element of validation, ingrained in all humans, no matter how independent or successful. However, chasing validation through contingency is detrimental to self-worth and mental well-being in the long run. It is the challenge of modern society with the advent of social and visual media. Nevertheless, the concept can create anxiety, depression, and low self-esteem in the attempt to find acceptance and acknowledgment to various aspects of life (Gaba, 2019).


Crocker, J., & Knight, K. M. (2005). Contingencies of self-worth. Current Directions in Psychological Science, 14(4), 200–203. Web.

DeMeyers, J. (2017). The self-esteem movement: Why marketers want you to love yourself (and how they sometimes fail). The Entrepreneur. Web.

Gaba, S. (2019). Stop seeking validation from others. Psychology Today. Web.

Grabe, S., Ward, L. M., & Hyde, J. S. (2008). The role of the media in body image concerns among women: A meta-analysis of experimental and correlational studies. Psychological Bulletin, 134(3), 460–476. Web.