Aubrey, J.S. et al. 2009. “A Picture is Worth Twenty Words (About the Self): Testing the Priming Influence of Visual Sexual Objectification on Women’s Self-Objectification.

Aubrey, Jennifer Stevens, Jayne R. Henson, K. Megan Hopper, and Siobhan E. Smith. 2009. “A Picture Is Worth Twenty Words (About the Self): Testing the Priming Influence of Visual Sexual Objectification on Women’s Self-Objectification. Communication Research Reports 26(4): 271-284.

Objectification Theory (coined by Frederickson and Roberts 1997?) – “sexual objectification of women’s bodies teaches women to internalize an outsider’s perspective on the self such that they come to see themselves as objects to be evaluated by others” (272) — where women are primarily valued (and value themselves) based upon appearance – this is self-objectification, and is manifested by understanding the self as a body that appears to others (consumption) rather than a body of activity and emotion(agency). Self-objectifying women are more likely to have low status of self, body and also indicators of depression or disordered eating (Slater and Tiggeman 2002). Media as a site of socializing development of self-objectification (Aubrey 2006a, 2006b) — media as encouraging self-objectification through the sexual objectification of women – according to Fredrickson and Roberts 1997 as “whenever a woman’s body, body parts, or sexual functions are separated out from her person, reduced to the status of mere instruments, or regard as if they were capable of representing her” (175 here 272).

Media impacts men as when prompted with sexually-objectifying images of women, are often followed with sexually-motivated behaviors toward women (McKenzie-Mohr and Zanna 1990).

Self-objectification can be positive; however, literature often frames it with negative consequence and preoccupation with appearance.

Visual stimuli of objectification can heighten women’s own sense of self-objectification. Women who were exposed to pictures of women exposing a lot of skin were more likely to use negative words to self-describe their own images; more so than images of women who were segmented into body parts.


Aubrey, J.S. 2006a. “Effects of Sexually Objectifying Media on Self-Objectification and Body Surveillance in Undergraduates: Results of a Two-Year Panel Study. Journal of Communication 56:366-386.

Aubrey, J.S. 2006b. Exposure to Sexually Objectifying Media on Negative Body Emotions and Sexual Self-Perceptions: Investigating the Mediating Role of Body Self-Consciousness. Mass Communication and Society 10:1-23.

Fredrickson, B.L. and T. –A. Roberts. 1997. “Objectification Theory: Towards Understanding Women’s Lived Experiences and Mental Health Risks. Psychology of Women Quarterly 21: 173-206.

McKenzie-Mohr, D. and M.P. Zanna. 1990. “Treating Women as Sexual Objects: Look to the (Gender Schematic) Male Who Has Viewed Pornography. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 16: 296-308.

Slater, A. and M. Tiggeman. 2002. “A Test of Objectification Theory in Adolescent Girls.” Sex Roles 46: 343-349.


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