The purpose of this study is to examine women’s motivations for posting sexualized photos of themselves on social media sites. In Western society, women are objectified through many forms of media, such as magazines and television. As a result, women have learned to view themselves as objects, through a process known as self-objectification (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). Women experience a number of negative consequences from self-objectification, such as depression, anxiety, and eating disorders (Moradi & Huang, 2008). Despite all of the research indicating the negative effects of the objectification of women, other research has shown that some women enjoy feeling sexualized (Liss, Erchull, & Ramsey, 2011) because it gives them a sense of empowerment and self-worth, although some researchers believe this may simply represent another form of social control over women and their sexuality (Gill, 2008). The overarching hypothesis is that women who post self-sexualizing photos (especially if they receive many “likes” on those photos) will have a greater sense of sexual empowerment rather than self-objectification. Undergraduate women (N=45) completed a number of surveys that related to objectification and empowerment and downloaded 10 photos of themselves from their social media sites. After coding the photographs, our results showed that none of the empowerment or objectification measures correlated with the degree of sexualization in the photos. The sexualized photos did correlate with the motivation statements of obtaining attention and more friends/followers.
Laura Ramsey (Thesis Director)
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Original document was submitted as an Honors Program requirement. Copyright is held by the author.
Horan, Amber L.. (2016). Picture This! Objectification Versus Empowerment in Women's Photos on Social Media. In BSU Honors Program Theses and Projects. Item 155. Available at: http://vc.bridgew.edu/honors_proj/155
Copyright © 2016 Amber L. Horan