Mirror, mirror on the wall: the effect of listening to body positive music on implicit and explicit body esteem

Sarah Coyne*, Emilie Davis, Wayne A Warburton, Laura Stockdale, Imogen Abba, Dean Busby

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    2 Citations (Scopus)
    3 Downloads (Pure)


    The current article used 3 studies to examine the impact of listening to body positive music on both explicit and implicit measures of body esteem in women. Study 1 found that women who viewed a mainstream popular body positive music video reported higher levels of body esteem than those who viewed a popular body objectifying music video. In Studies 2 and 3, we wrote and recorded our own songs to keep the musical features apart from the lyrics constant (e.g., rhythm, melody, and singer identity). Study 2 also found that women showed higher levels of implicit (but not explicit) body esteem when watching a music video portraying body positive lyrics as compared with objectifying lyrics. Study 3 added a neutral song and examined a number of moderators. There were few differences between those listening to the body positive and neutral lyrics, but those who listened to objectifying compared with neutral lyrics had lower body esteem. Moderation revealed that women who had preexisting low body esteem showed lower implicit body esteem after listening to any appearance-related music compared with those who listened to neutral lyrics. Thus, we recommend that women choose to listen to body positive lyrics over objectifying ones and to avoid appearance-related songs if they are prone to body esteem concerns.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)2-13
    Number of pages12
    JournalPsychology of Popular Media Culture
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021


    • music
    • body image
    • media
    • music video
    • body esteem


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