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Body Objectification, Self-Esteem, and Relationship Satisfaction: A Comparison of Exotic Dancers and College Women

Abstract

We examined body objectification, self-esteem, and relationship satisfaction differences between college women and exotic dancers and the relationships among these measures for both groups. Forty-three college women and 40 female exotic dancers completed a questionnaire that assessed each of these constructs. Relative to college women, exotic dancers reported less relationship satisfaction, more body surveillance, and a greater prioritizing of body attractiveness over physical competence. Relationship satisfaction and the prioritizing of appearance over physical competence varied for the heterosexual and bisexual dancers. For exotic dancers, the body objectification measures of surveillance and shame were negatively, and body control was positively, related to self-esteem; body shame was negatively related to relationship satisfaction. For college women, higher levels of body surveillance and body shame were associated with higher prioritizing of physical attractiveness relative to physical competence.

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Correspondence to Gloria Cowan.

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Downs, D.M., James, S. & Cowan, G. Body Objectification, Self-Esteem, and Relationship Satisfaction: A Comparison of Exotic Dancers and College Women. Sex Roles 54, 745–752 (2006). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-006-9042-y

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Keywords

  • Body objectification
  • Exotic dancers
  • Self-objectification