Research Paper: Women Objectification Women

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[. . .] These findings support objectification theory (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997) in that the process of evaluating one's internal value based primarily on external appearance leads to negative consequences.

In order to further examine the role of self-objectification on eating disorder pathology, Calogero, Davis, and Thompson (2005) conducted a study with 209 women in a residential treatment facility for eating disorders. They found that exposure to media ideals of appearance alone did not account for eating disorder symptomology, namely drive for thinness. Internalization of these ideals and self-objectification, however, were linked to these factors and was shown to contribute to drive for thinness. This suggests that viewing of sexually objectifying images of women is linked to the internalization of these images, which may contribute to chronic viewing of the self as a sexual object. Although researchers were cautious to declare causality of these factors based on the co relational nature of the data, they suggested that self objectification is present in women with eating disorders, it negatively influences their emotional experiences, and it motivates them to strive for unrealistic cultural body ideals.

Although the development of eating disorders has been a popular topic of research, other negative outcomes associated with objectification have also been explored. Tiggemann and Kuring (2004) showed that self-objectification ultimately led to greater appearance anxiety, which was then linked to depressed mood. Szymanski and Henning (2007) also suggested a link between objectification and depression. They found that self-objectification led to habitual body monitoring, greater body shame, and appearance anxiety. These variables were then linked to depression, as reported on a self-report measure. Sinclair and Myers (2004) demonstrated that college-aged women who rated themselves low on self-objectification had overall better health and wellness. Wellness scores were based on factors such as sense of control, humor, stress management, self-worth, gender identity, friendships, and self-care. Results indicated that body surveillance and body shame were negatively related to overall wellness. Sinclair and Myers suggested that difficulty achieving cultural body standards may be a risk factor for holistic human functioning and may lead to impairment in multiple life tasks, such as forming meaningful interpersonal relationships and academic success.

Academic and cognitive performance may also be affected by body consciousness caused by objectification (Fredrickson et al., 1998). Researchers conducted a study in which female participants were asked to complete math-related tasks while either trying on a sweater or a swimsuit. Although there were no observers present, participants who tried on swimwear reported significantly higher experiences of body shame and "disgust." Furthermore, they performed significantly lower on math tasks than did women who were wearing sweaters, suggesting that objectification consumes mental energy needed to perform academic functions. Furthermore, after being removed from situations that produce high objectification experiences, women tend to continue focusing on how their bodies look and how others may have evaluated them (Quinn, Kallen, & Cathey, 2006). This suggests that women internalize these experiences and continually evaluate themselves based on the emotional and cognitive response they evoke.


Previous research has demonstrated the pervasive presence of unrealistic beauty ideals in Western culture (Reichert, 2003). Self-objectification has been shown to be prevalent among women (McKinley, 2006), girls (Hirschman et al. 2006), females with eating disorders (Calogeroet al. 2005), dancers, non-dancers (Slater & Tiggemann, 2002), and across cultural groups (Hebl, Identity & Self-Objectification 22 King, & Lin, 2004). It is understandable, therefore, that even identity achievement would not serve as a protective factor against the effects of objectification. However, although identity achieved women did not endorse a decrease likelihood of internalization or self-objectification, they did endorse higher pressure from socio cultural sources. Essentially, these women are aware of the pressure they feel to obtain ideal beauty standards, but this did not increase the likelihood that they would internalize this message or self-objectify


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APA Format

Women Objectification Women.  (2011, April 26).  Retrieved July 17, 2019, from

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"Women Objectification Women."  26 April 2011.  Web.  17 July 2019. <>.

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"Women Objectification Women."  April 26, 2011.  Accessed July 17, 2019.