Women, Body Image, Shame and Self-Objectification

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Social science research report available here. Below is a short excerpt:

In considering why a state of self-objectification might lead to extended body thoughts, we predicted that the experience of shame would play a key role. Previous researchers who manipulated state self-objectification have shown that one of the strongest outcomes of self-objectification is the experience of shame–both general shame and body specific shame (Calogero, 2004; Fredrickson et al., 1998; Quinn et al., 2006). Women who experience self-objectification do not view their bodies indifferently. They think about how they look from a third person perspective and consider whether they fall short of an idealized image of beauty. The belief that one has failed to meet an important standard often results in the self-conscious emotion of shame during which people focus on their own actions and inadequacies (Lewis, 1971; Tangney, 1991). Notably, shame may be a particularly long lasting emotion because it is experienced when a person attributes her or his failure to an internal, stable cause (Tracy & Robins, 2004). Research on trait level self-objectification also shows that it is consistently and strongly correlated with shame (Miner-Rubino, Twenge, & Fredrickson, 2002; Slater & Tiggemann, 2002; Strelan, Mehaffey, & Tiggemann, 2003; Tiggemann & Kuring, 2004; Tiggemann & Lynch, 2001; Tylka & Hill, 2004). Thus, shame may be a crucial ingredient in how an experience (or many experiences over time) of self-objectification leads to an increased body focus.

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