creates an environment ripe for sexism. Next, we detail two themes of sexism which emerged through the interviews and journals: (a) diminishment of intellectual contributions and capabilities and (b) objectification of physical appearance. We then analyze the emotional and professional repercussions
Lauren C. Hindman and Nefertiti A. Walker
Ivanka Prichard and Marika Tiggemann
This study aimed to identify predictors of self-objectification among exercising women. A brief questionnaire incorporating demographic questions and measures of self-objectification was completed by 133 new female fitness center members (aged 16 to 68 years) upon joining a fitness center and 12 months later. Results demonstrated that young women who remained fitness center members had greater self-objectification at 12 months than women who ceased their memberships. Furthermore, both initial age and reasons for exercise predicted subsequent increases in self-objectification. Specifically, being younger, as well as being more motivated by appearance-related reasons to exercise, predicted self-objectification at 12 months. These findings suggest that young women exercising within the fitness center environment may be at an increased risk of developing self-objectification, one of the predictors of negative body image and disordered eating.
Rafael Monge-Rojas, Tamara Fuster-Baraona, Carlos Garita-Arce, Marta Sánchez-López, Uriyoán Colon-Ramos and Vanessa Smith-Castro
In Latin America, more than 80% of adolescent girls are physically inactive. Inactivity may be reinforced by female stereotypes and objectification in the Latin American sociocultural context.
We examined the influence of objectification on the adoption of an active lifestyle among 192 adolescents (14 and 17 years old) from urban and rural areas in Costa Rica. Analyses of 48 focus-groups sessions were grounded in Objectification Theory.
Vigorous exercises were gender-typed as masculine while girls had to maintain an aesthetic appearance at all times. Adolescents described how girls were anxious around the prospect of being shamed and sexually objectified during exercises. This contributed to a decrease in girls’ desire to engage in physical activities. Among males, there is also a budding tolerance of female participation in vigorous sports, as long as girls maintained a feminine stereotype outside their participation.
Self-objectification influenced Costa Rican adolescent girls’ decisions to participate in physical activities. Interventions may include: procuring safe environments for physical activity where girls are protected from fear of ridicule and objectification; sensitizing boys about girl objectification and fostering the adoption of a modern positive masculine and female identities to encourage girls’ participation in sports.
Lindsey Darvin and Michael Sagas
Gendered processes in the sport industry often perpetuate male dominance and female inferiority. While these gendered occurrences have been well documented, the outcomes of such processes are underexplored. Under the guidance of objectification theory and the production–reception relationship, the authors investigated the influence of objectification in sports-media outlets’ coverage of a female sporting event for a national sample of U.S. consumers (N = 225). In addition, given the lack of coverage directed toward female sporting events, the current study investigated the influence of previous viewership on consumer behaviors for a future women’s sporting event. Findings suggest that processes of objectification influence both men’s and women’s consumer behaviors and that previous viewership influences future consumer-behavior motives. Furthermore, objectified images and language did not adversely affect future consumer behaviors for those who had previously viewed a similar women’s sporting event. Sport-media and communications professionals alike can leverage these relationships.
Cecilie Thøgersen-Ntoumani, Nikos Ntoumanis, Jennifer Cumming, Kimberley J. Bartholomew and Gemma Pearce
Using objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997), this study tested the interaction between self-objectification, appearance evaluation, and self-esteem in predicting body satisfaction and mood states. Participants (N = 93) were physically active female university students. State self-objectification was manipulated by participants wearing tight revealing exercise attire (experimental condition) or baggy exercise clothes (control condition). Significant interactions emerged predicting depression, anger, fatness, and satisfaction with body shape and size. For participants in the self-objectification condition who had low (as opposed to high) appearance evaluation, low self-esteem was associated with high depression, anger, and fatness and low satisfaction with body shape and size. In contrast, for participants with high self-esteem, these mood and body satisfaction states were more favorable irrespective of their levels of appearance evaluation. For female exercisers, self-esteem-enhancing strategies may protect against some of the negative outcomes of self-objectification.
Renee Engeln, Margaret Shavlik and Colleen Daly
exercise class by comparing the impact of appearance-focused and function-focused versions of the same instructor script. Objectification and Fitness Outcomes Objectification theory ( Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997 ) provides a framework for understanding why appearance-focused fitness could negatively affect
Jacinta O’Brien, Kathleen A. Martin Ginis and David Kirk
The purpose of this study was to examine the effects of an 8-week body-focused physical and health education module on self-objectification and social physique anxiety (SPA) in a sample of 85 Irish schoolgirls. Classrooms were randomly assigned to receive the experimental module or the standard curriculum. Participants completed pre- and postassessments of the value they placed on objectifying and nonobjectifying physical attributes, along with a measure of SPA. Girls in the experimental condition increased the value they placed on physical health and strength, decreased the value they placed on sex appeal, and showed no change in SPA. Girls in the control condition decreased the value they placed on body weight and physical fitness and experienced a significant increase in SPA. These results suggest that a body-focused module can decrease self-objectification and prevent developmentally linked increases in SPA.
Drawing on Merleau-Ponty and Bourdieu, this article explores corporeal ways to modify the somewhat anxiety-filled bodily habit(us) of many young women. The article is based on accounts of body experience written by Finnish women’s studies students. In the article, I demonstrate how experiences of overcoming the mind/body dichotomy and connecting the body with the surrounding world disrupted the young women’s habitual experience of an alienated body. I argue that a corporeal agency that arises within physical actions and situations can modify a troublesome habit(us) and enable a young woman to transform her habitual self-body-world relation. Moreover, I discuss how physical activity can facilitate empowering body experiences.
Caitlyn R. Hauff
Objectification theory postulates that societal norms influence women to internalize cultural standards of beauty and thinness as their own. The consequences of objectification experiences include body shame, anxiety, body surveillance, and internalization of the thin ideal. Self-presentation theory suggests that individuals attempt to control and manage impressions when they perceive they are being evaluated by others. Previous research has documented the role of apparel in objectification of women and how women use apparel to create particular impressions. Research has also documented how objectification and self-presentation mediates reasons and motivations for exercise. However, qualitative explorations of women’s thoughts and feelings regarding exercise apparel as a motivator or deterrent for physical activity within these frameworks are lacking. In the current study, twelve recreationally active women were interviewed to understand their perceptions of exercise apparel in relation to their exercise environment and motivation to exercise. Two higher order themes emerged: exercise apparel as a tool for the optimal exercise experience (lower order themes: comfort, functionality of clothing, and reciprocal relationship between motivation and affect) and societal influences shaping exercise apparel choices (lower order themes: social influence and social comparison within the exercise setting, the cultural standard, and past experiences of evaluation). For the women in our study, exercise apparel serves as both a motivator and deterrent for exercise and certain exercise apparel contributes to self-presentation concerns within the exercise setting.
Margaret Carlisle Duncan
Sport media scholars have been increasingly interested in studying sport media texts for their meanings, particularly meanings that relate to gender and gender stereotypes. I argue that it is time to go beyond our present level of sport media analysis by identifying the formal structures that give rise to individual texts. Using the method of homology, I examine three dialectical formal structures or mechanisms of patriarchy: objectification, commodification, and voyeurism. I then select a particular text, the March 1992 Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue, to show how these mechanisms are manifested in the photographs and captions. Finally, I situate the three mechanisms in the historical and cultural contexts of the last decade and a half, where political events reveal the underlying formal structures of patriarchy.