The Weekly Ringer

The University of Mary Washington Student Newspaper

Objectification Hurts Female’s Self Esteem

2 min read

Women in our country are continually told what to wear and how to look. We are socialized in a society that emphasizes appearances considerably.

Television, movies, magazines and even explicit radio content discuss and portray women’s bodies in a hypersexualized, objectified manner.

Any one of these forms of media may cause women to self-objectify.

Self-objectification occurs when a woman begins to see herself as an object to be looked at by others and begins to value appearance related characteristics over her individual abilities and non-physical attributes. This may encourage a woman to adopt an outsider’s view of herself, a third-person perspective.

Some women feel empowered when they receive attention for their bodies and their physical appearance, while others simply feel degraded.

It is difficult to predict the consequences from objectifying women, but studies have shown that there may be severe mental and physical consequences for certain individuals.

For example, body shame, body consciousness, depression and appearance anxiety have all been documented as mental consequences while eating disorders and suicidal thoughts have been cited as potential outcomes of negative body image.

A large part of this objectification stems from television programs such as “American’s Next Top Model” and “Extreme Makeover,” which promote stick-thin models as the definition of beautiful.

What they neglect to mention is the fact that the typical “barbie” figure of 6 feet, 100 pounds is not only unrealistic but also unhealthy. In fact, according to an Australian study, the likelihood of having Barbie’s body type is a rare one in 100,000 people.

From a girl’s perspective, I can attest that the 39’/19’/33’ measurements of Barbie are a high standard to live up to.

I am currently working on my honors thesis and am most interested in the psychological and behavioral consequences of objectifying media.

You would contribute greatly to my research if you could please go online to the website and take my survey. If you have any questions regarding this study please do not hesitate to e-mail me at: Thank you for your help.