Thursday, April 5, 2007

Science corner

It's about time that I backed up the content of this website with another scientific study. The research that has been done on the topics I discuss here serve as the foundation for my arguments. There is research being done every day on the effects of media images, so one just needs to turn to the abundance of data available to know that my purpose here is not merely to assert my opinion.

Thin, sexy women and strong, muscular men: grade-school children's responses to objectified images of women and men

Just in case you don't want to go through the whole 16 page journal article, here are some highlights:

There are data that show that women are objectified in the media, that girls and women experience a high rate of body dissatisfaction and eating problems, and that exposure to objectified media images of women is related to the experience of self-objectification and body shame among women. One purpose of the present study was to examine the links between these variables from a developmental perspective by examining how grade-school girls responded to objectified images of women.


Cultural images that objectify women are noticeable, and girls' responses to such images suggest that girls develop a pattern of response. Those girls who reject the images manifest higher body esteem and seem less vulnerable generally to the cultural ideal of thin, sexy women. Objectification is likely one factor among the "lived experiences" of being female that contributes to the gendered pattern found in the eating disorders of anorexia and bulimia. Smolak and Murnen (2001) argued that the gendered experiences of the "culture of thinness" promoted for girls, a greater experience of sexual harassment and sexual abuse which might contribute to body shame and loss of voice (see Smolak & Murnen, 2001, 2002; Smolak & Munstertieger, 2002), and limitations on women's achievement that focus girls on a good body as the key to success present a particular risk of body image and eating problems among girls and women. Objectification is part of this cultural constellation of factors.

This page through offers links to free full-text scientific journal articles. What could be more fun?!

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