The Mediating Role of Appearance Comparisons in the Relationship Between Media Usage and Self-Objectification in Young Women

Jasmine Fardouly*, Phillippa C. Diedrichs, Lenny R. Vartanian, Emma Halliwell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

38 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The media’s portrayal of women is often sexually objectifying, and greater exposure to objectifying media is associated with higher levels of self-objectification among young women. One reason why media usage may be associated with self-objectification is because women may be comparing their appearance to others in the media. The present study examined (a) the relationship between the usage of different media types (online social media [Facebook], Internet, television, music videos, and magazines) and self-objectification among young women, (b) whether appearance comparison tendencies in general mediated any observed relationships, and (c) whether appearance comparisons to specific types of women on Facebook (self, family, close friends, distant peers, and celebrities) mediated any relationship between Facebook usage and self-objectification. Female participants (N = 150) aged 17–25 years completed questionnaires about their media usage, appearance comparison tendency in general, appearance comparisons to specific target groups on Facebook, and self-objectification. Results showed that Facebook usage and magazine usage were positively correlated with self-objectification and that these relationships were mediated by appearance comparisons in general. In addition, the relationship between Facebook usage and self-objectification was mediated by comparisons to one’s peers on Facebook. These findings suggest that appearance comparisons can play an important role in self-objectification among young women.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)447-457
Number of pages11
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Volume39
Issue number4
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2015
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • body image
  • mass media
  • objectification
  • physical appearance
  • social comparison
  • social media

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