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The Beast of Beauty Culture: An Analysis of the Political Effects of Self-Objectification. Sarah Oliver. Primary Question. How does self-objectification affect internal and external political efficacy?. Objectification.
The Beast of Beauty Culture: An Analysis of the Political Effects of Self-Objectification Sarah Oliver
Primary Question • How does self-objectification affect internal and external political efficacy?
Objectification • “Whenever a woman’s body, body parts, or sexual functions are separated out from her person, reduced to the status of mere instruments, or regarded as if they were capable of representing her.” (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997).
New Objectification Culture • Normalization of female objectification in popular culture • The new vogue of “consensual” objectification • Idea that objectification is empowering • Appropriation of female agency and power for male pleasure (the FFT)
Self-Objectification • “a key process whereby girls [and women] learn to think and treat their bodies as objects of others’ desires” (Zubriggen et al., 2007:2) • When a woman integrates the image of herself as an object into her own value system.
Examples • “The boys wear funny outfits to attract girls, and the girls wear risqué outfits to be attractive… A girl is walking down DP with her posse, all of whom are wearing scraps of fabric that cover their nipples and their genitals and nothing else - I know you’re supposed to be an Indian, but I can only tell from the feather on your head.” Dana Olson, October 31, 2007
Negative Effects of Self-Objectification • Unipolar depression • Habitual body monitoring • Eating disorders • Body shame • Social physique anxiety • Depressed cognitive functioning • Sexual dysfunction • Lower self-esteem • Political efficacy?
Political Efficacy • Internal Political Efficacy: An individual’s confidence to understand and participate effectively in politics. • External Political efficacy: An individual’s beliefs about whether the government will respond effectively to the demands of its citizens.
Data and Measures • Survey of 162 college students at Whittier College • 26 different randomly-selected classes • Sample was roughly representative of the respective college populations
Now we would like to know how much importance you place on different aspects of your body. Please rank each of these characteristics in ascending order in terms of importance, from most important (rank = 1) to least importance (rank = 12). Please use each number from 1 through 12 only once. g. Sex appeal _______ h. Health _______ i. Measurements _______ j. Physical fitness _______ k. Muscle tone _______ l. Physical energy level _______ Self-Objectification Measure a. Physical attractiveness _______ b. Muscular strength _______ c. Coloring _______ d. Physical coordination _______ e. Weight _______ f. Stamina _______
Political Efficacy Questions Please check the box that fits best for each response.
Self-Objectification and Internal Political Efficacy for Women Gamma= -.242, p=.289
Self-Objectification and External Political Efficacy for Women Gamma= -.145, p=.511
Self-Objectification and Internal Political Efficacy for Men Gamma= .484, p=.034