Contributions of Diverse Media to Self-Sexualization among Undergraduate Women and Men
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Although everyday exposure to media content that sexually objectifies women is believed to lead women to sexualize themselves, research testing this connection has produced mixed results. Most studies have focused only on the self-objectification component of self-sexualization, and on limited assessments of media exposure. Our goal was to extend tests of this component of objectification theory both to understudied media genres and to men, and to do so using broader measures of self-sexualization. Surveying 1,107 U.S. undergraduate students (658 women and 449 men), we used structural equation modeling to test the contributions of exposure to popular reality programs, romantic-themed movies, and music videos to self-sexualization (a latent construct comprised of body surveillance, enjoyment of sexualization, and importance of sexual appeal). Frequent consumption of reality TV programs consistently predicted self-sexualization for women and men, and music video exposure predicted self-sexualization only for men. Findings confirm pathways proposed by objectification theory and indicate unique contributions of understudied media.
KeywordsSexualization Media effects Self-objectification Body surveillance
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