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Sex Roles

, Volume 66, Issue 9–10, pp 646–654 | Cite as

Clothes Make a Difference: The Role of Self-Objectification

  • Marika Tiggemann
  • Rachel Andrew
Original Article

Abstract

Objectification Theory contends that women self-objectify as a result of internalizing an observer’s perspective on their physical selves. Self-objectification has been examined as both a stable enduring trait and as a context dependent state. The present study aimed to assess the link between clothing, a neglected area of women’s appearance management, and self-objectification. Participants were 102 South Australian female undergraduate students who completed a questionnaire containing a trait measure of self-objectification, as well as four different scenarios varying in clothing worn and setting depicted, followed by state measures of self-objectification, negative mood, body shame, and body dissatisfaction. It was found that the scenarios involving revealing clothing (bathers) led to greater state self-objectification, body shame, body dissatisfaction and negative mood than the scenarios involving more modest clothing (sweater), especially for heavier women. In addition, the dressing room scenarios led to greater state self-objectification but less negative mood than the public scenarios. It was concluded that clothing represents an important contributor to the body and emotional experience of contemporary young women.

Keywords

Self-objectification Clothing Objectification theory Body shame Body dissatisfaction 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of PsychologyFlinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia

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