Sex Roles

, Volume 58, Issue 9–10, pp 639–648 | Cite as

Empowerment and Powerlessness: A Closer Look at the Relationship Between Feminism, Body Image and Eating Disturbance

  • Rachel D. Peterson
  • Karen P. Grippo
  • Stacey Tantleff-Dunn
Original Article


Objectification Theory (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997) states that women’s bodies are viewed as objects to be evaluated and this societal objectification may lead to self-objectification when women view their own bodies as objects. The current study theorized that empowerment is an important factor in reducing self-objectification. Although empowerment is a central tenet of feminist theory, this study is the first to examine the relationship between empowerment, feminism, and body image and eating disturbance. Participants were 276 women from the southeastern USA. Results demonstrated that empowerment was more predictive of body image and eating disturbance than was feminism. Development of a validated empowerment scale specific to body image and eating disturbance may be useful for future research, prevention, and treatment efforts.


Body image Eating disorders Feminism Empowerment Prevention 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rachel D. Peterson
    • 1
  • Karen P. Grippo
    • 1
  • Stacey Tantleff-Dunn
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Central FloridaOrlandoUSA

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