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

Abstract

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.

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Correspondence to Marika Tiggemann.

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Harper, B., Tiggemann, M. The Effect of Thin Ideal Media Images on Women’s Self-Objectification, Mood, and Body Image. Sex Roles 58, 649–657 (2008). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9379-x

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Keywords

  • Self-objectification
  • Objectification theory
  • Body image
  • Thin ideals
  • Media images