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Body on My Mind: The Lingering Effect of State Self-objectification

Abstract

Objectification theory explicates a model in which women are socialized to view their own bodies as objects to be evaluated. In the current study, we used a 2 (self-objectification condition: swimsuit versus sweater) × 2 (gender) factorial design to examine whether body-related thoughts continued after women were removed from a self-objectifying situation. Results showed that, compared to participants in the other three groups, women in the self-objectification condition listed more body-related thoughts during a free response task given after they had re-dressed. The amount of shame experienced during self-objectification mediated the relationship between self-objectification condition and lingering body-related thoughts. This study adds to the understanding of how the process of self-objectification works to maintain women’s focus on their appearance.

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Acknowledgements

The authors thank Stephenie Chaudoir, Diana Milillo, and Jeffrey Sanchez-Burks for their helpful comments on earlier drafts of this article.

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Correspondence to Diane M. Quinn.

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Quinn, D.M., Kallen, R.W. & Cathey, C. Body on My Mind: The Lingering Effect of State Self-objectification. Sex Roles 55, 869–874 (2006) doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9140-x

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Keywords

  • Objectification
  • Gender
  • Body image
  • Shame