Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 56, Issue 7, pp 429-437

First online:

Indecent Exposure: Self-objectification and Young Women’s Attitudes Toward Breastfeeding

  • Ingrid Johnston-RobledoAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, State University of New York Email author 
  • , Stephanie WaresAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, State University of New York
  • , Jessica FrickerAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, State University of New York
  • , Leigh PasekAffiliated withDepartment of Psychology, State University of New York

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Abstract

The sexualization of the breast may lead women who internalize the sexual objectification of their bodies to have more negative attitudes toward breastfeeding. The purpose of the present study was to examine self-objectification in relation to young women’s attitudes toward and concerns about breastfeeding. Two hundred and seventy-five female undergraduates completed a survey with questions that assessed their plans for infant feeding, attitudes toward breastfeeding, concerns about breastfeeding, and self-objectification. Women who scored higher on measures of self-objectification were more likely to view public breastfeeding as indecent and to be concerned that breastfeeding would be embarrassing and would negatively impact their bodies and sexuality. Self-objectification was not related to general attitudes toward breastfeeding or to young women’s future infant feeding plans. Implications for theory and future research are discussed.

Keywords

Self-objectification Breastfeeding Attitudes