Original Article

Sex Roles

, Volume 58, Issue 9, pp 649-657

First online:

The Effect of Thin Ideal Media Images on Women’s Self-Objectification, Mood, and Body Image

  • Brit HarperAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Flinders University
  • , Marika TiggemannAffiliated withSchool of Psychology, Flinders University Email author 

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Objectification theory (Fredrickson and Roberts, Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, 173–206, 1997) contends that experiences of sexual objectification socialize women to engage in self-objectification. The present study used an experimental design to examine the effects of media images on self-objectification. A total of 90 Australian undergraduate women aged 18 to 35 were randomly allocated to view magazine advertisements featuring a thin woman, advertisements featuring a thin woman with at least one attractive man, or advertisements in which no people were featured. Participants who viewed advertisements featuring a thin-idealized woman reported greater state self-objectification, weight-related appearance anxiety, negative mood, and body dissatisfaction than participants who viewed product control advertisements. The results demonstrate that self-objectification can be stimulated in women without explicitly focusing attention on their own bodies.


Self-objectification Objectification theory Body image Thin ideals Media images