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Adverse Effects of Sexual Objectification Among Women Research Paper

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Introduction

Although women experience depression almost twice as much as men, this etiology of incongruity remains imprecise among researchers. While little gender difference in cases of depression is experience among young children, these cases have been reported among mid-adolescent1 and high cases appear to persist into adulthood2. Despite this set incongruity, there is substantial evidence to explain why depression in gender difference has emerged over the life span.

Girls experiencing physical puberty are understood to have increased fats while men have increase muscles. Consequently, this drives men towards and women away from the socially recognized ideal body. However, since hormones during puberty stage play a significant role in girls’ lives, it determines how women interact with society. A woman’s body is perceived as a “public property3 and is increasingly observed, criticized, and examine society. Consequently, women become more instigated into the beliefs of sexual objectification. This study links sexual objectification to body shame and hopelessness, thus resulting in depression.

Literature review

According to the philosophy of sexual objectification, women are perceived as instruments of pleasure rather than individuals with their autonomy and freedom to make independent decisions and choices. At the individual level, women begin to realize ways in which they can develop themselves so as they can be observed, gazed at and admired. As women are exposed to the world, they monitor their body while paying attention to how people judge and treat them. This leads to a predictable habit and behavior that may result in adverse mental health issues among women. Researchers have linked body shame to various risk issues such as stress, bulimia, weight gain, low self-esteem, and an eating disorder. In many ways, it appears that body shame is the core aspect of mental health issues in women.

According to Mitchell and Mazzeo4, continuous body monitoring results to shame, anxiety as well as a weakened awareness of internal bodily stress which consequently results in mental health issues in which women are overrepresented, including unipolar hopelessness. Body shame as a result of sexual objectification has been to be the leading cause of depression in adolescent girls5. A woman who is understands that her life will positively change if she attains the elusive beauty ideal body, but when she continuously tries and fails to accomplish it, she experiences signs of depression, which results in hopeless depression.

Currently, the minimum investigation has evaluated the philosophies proposed by objectification theory in connection with body shame and depression. A study by Triggerman and Kuring6 found dimensions of body shame and anxiety corresponding in the correlation between depression and sexual objectification among university females. Szymanski and Henning’s7 path analysis affirmed the similar relationship between depression and sexual objectification with an element of anxiety and body shame. However, these studies used a general measure of depression. Triggerman and Kuring8 used “Deck Depression Inventory” while Szymanski and Henning9 used “Self-rating Depression Scale.” In another study, Grabe, and Hyde10 used a common depression apparatus to understand the connection between symptoms of depression and sexual objectification. In their study, they focused on a number of bodies related consequences and music televisions viewing.

Research question

This study seeks to understand the relationship between sexual objectification with body shame and depression. Although the examined written literature presents variables to predict sexual objection and depression in women, they lack substantial evidence in bringing into insight the understanding and consequences of self-objection. Using some of the variables in written literatures, the study will seek to answer the following question: Does body shame in sexual objectification predict depression?

Operationalization

The researcher chooses a quantitative approach where he chose to combine a set of studies and make a narrative view. The reasons why the researcher chose this methodology were: to discover the presence of an effect; to recognize the level of effect; to guarantee the convenience of moderator variables for an effect; and to minimize errors in the study. First, after identifying the hypothesis, the researcher collected information in a systematic way by reviewing various published newspapers.

Next, dependent and independent variables of interest were identified. The researcher group the reviews of relevant articles into variables developed by McKinley and Hyde11 to measure the characters and approaches suggested by feminist philosophers to address female’s negative body experience. According to McKinley and Hyde, female are socially perceived as entities to be admired, and henceforth ladies are designed to view and monitor their bodies as per stranger’s views.

The scale contains variables such as body shame, body observation, and control opinions. The body observation encompasses the monitoring of appearance; the body shame consists examination of disgrace and inadequacy in connection to women’s body while control belief encompasses elements of women’s power and freedom to control their appearance. Since the emphasis of the study was to find evidence of depression portrayed by newspaper articles, the researcher incorporated those studies that addressed exposure to media as opposed to self-reported influence.

The study omitted experimental studies since they did not seem to control media situations. In most conditions, the images that appeared in celebrity magazines and beauty articles were omitted since these images appeared to have been photoshopped or exaggerated. Control situation most often used women’s views, experience and complains about sexual objectification. The non-appearance presentation was chosen as a control situation because it was the comparison that occurred most in newspapers. If the individuals in the control group did not portray significant signs of objectification, they were not considered in the research study. Relationship studies were included if influence of media on women body image were investigated. The most commonly used approach to studying objection was by focusing on ideal thin and ideal weight. Finally, the data was coded according to the identified variables so as to identify their frequencies.

Sampling

The researcher uses multiple methods to obtain previously published newspaper. Internet search on newspaper database of Globe and Mail, National Post, and Toronto Star were conducted so as to produce a pool of articles. Keywords include body image, thin ideal, body dissatisfaction, and ideal body were used so as to generate appropriate articles. The search limit restricted studies published more than four years ago. The articles researched were only on women living in Europe and American, English speaking countries. 17 articles were retrieved and coded while twenty articles were found to be irrelevant to the objective of the study. Only article with women complaining about their weight, body image and their relationship at work or men were consulted. The collected data were then coded according to the publication media and the proposed outcome variable (body shame, body observation, and control beliefs)

author publisher variables
Amanda Mascarelli the Washington post, body shame,
Megan Ogilvie the Washington post, control beliefs
robin Levinson King Staff Reporter body shame,
Zosia Bielski Special to the Star body observation
Steve Karnowski and Jeff Baenen, Health Reporter control beliefs
Nancy J. White the globe and mail body shame,
Shereen Lehman the globe and mail control beliefs
Michelle Mcquigge, the globe and mail body observation
Erin Anderssen the globe and mail body shame,
Emily Rivas the globe and mail body shame,
Wency Leung the globe and mail body shame,
Sarah Boesveld the globe and mail body shame,
Dave McGinn the globe and mail control beliefs
Zosia Bielski the globe and mail body observation
Katrina Onstad the globe and mail control beliefs
Adriana Barton the globe and mail control beliefs

Findings

Variables Frequency
body observation 3
body shame 7
control beliefs 6

Frequencies analysis were utilized to affirm the relationship between sexual externalization, body shame, and depression. For a variable to appear as a mediator, it must have a positive correlation with the dependent as well as the independent variables. Also, the dependent variable need to be positively correlated with the mediator and independent variables. When this situation is accomplished, the independent variable represents an association between the mediator and the dependent variable12. The frequencies with body observation predicted depression was significantly represented for 3 of the authors. The second variable, body shame representing depression accounted for seven publishers. Finally, the third frequency variable with control beliefs accounted for 6 of the publishers. This demonstrates that body shame completely acted as mediator in the relationship between sexual objection and depression.

Discussion

Basing on other studies that connects sexual objectification to depression and body shame, this study has brought insight into causes of mental illness among women. According to the findings of this study, body shame occurs when women despise themselves because of their failures to replicate the ideal image portrayed by media Women experience hopelessness through a continuous cycle of looking like thin-ideal. First, the realized it is impossible to replicate similar and ambiguous images of ideal body, and then when they repeat the process and inevitably fail, the ideal remains elusive. Consequently, body shame propels them to feel a sense of hopelessness which in turn, results in depression. Therefore, body shame has resulted in a feeling of hopelessness which leads to depression, thus a correlation between depression and body shame.

Similar to Grabe et al13 the data, this study supports the hypothesis that sexual objectification is significantly correlated to body shame and hopelessness, as well as depression. In the frequency analysis, it was found that sexual objectification alone significant predicted hopelessness. Also, this study found that sexual objectification to be positively correlated with body shame. This indicates that body shame is significantly correlated with depression and sexual objectification.

This study means that body shame is a significant element of depression in sexual objectification theory. This study agrees with Syzmanski and Hennig14 findings that body shame has a significant relationship between body observation and depression. Other than strengthening the need for more research to look for the anticipated results, this study adds knowledge to the philosophies of objectification.

Challenges

Although the study was successful, it faced several challenges. First, the method chosen for this study advocated low standards of judgments of the qualities of studies. For instance, results from poorly designed studies were included, in the meta-analyses, to be synthesized along with results from good studies. However, a measure was addressed to deal with this challenge. Research studies that were unable to meet the conditions based on subjective measurement were eliminated; although it resulted in unhealthy conclusion.

Another problem faced in this study was publication bias. This is because the study favored significant publications while the non-significant publications were rarely used. This may lead to biased in the meta-analysis results. Besides, Grabe and colleagues15 agreed that prejudices in publication avails the most notable threat to the validity of study synthesis. To counter this challenge, the results were analyzed separately for types of publications so as to conduct a mediator analysis.

Conclusion

Like most literatures, this study presents evidence that can be used in women counselling given that such encounters can set the stage for an assortment of a range of adverse mental health consequences, for example, eating disorder, sexual brokenness, and depression. Sinclair and Meyers concur that counseling on women’s sexual objectification may significantly help women since it is part of their daily life thus helping ladies to increase some knowledge into the roots of their discontent with their bodies. This could be the preparatory venture in redefining their capability. Along these lines, this study could add to various interventions that focuses on the different developments involved with sexual objectification thus increasing personal sense of wellness.

Bibliography

Adriana Barton, “Are middle-aged women succumbing to ‘Desperate Housewives syndrome’?” The global and mail. 2013. Web.

Dave McGinn. “The globe and mail, 2012. Web.

Emily Rivas. “Images of larger models portrayed as sexy linked to higher satisfaction among women with their own bodies: study”, National post. 2014. Web.

Erin Anderssen, “Teens talk: airbrushing and body image” the globe and mail, 2012. Web.

Grabe, Shelly L., Ward, Monique & Hyde, Janet Shibley. “The Role of the Media in Body Image Concerns among Women” A Meta-Analysis of Experimental and Correlational Studies. 134, no. 3(2008), p. 460-476. Web.

Grabe, Shelly, Hyde J. Shibley, and Lindberg, Sara.M. “Body objectification and depression in adolescents: The role of gender, shame and rumination”, Psychology of Women Quarterly, no.31 (2007), p. 164-175. Web.

Katrina Onstad. “Why being called ‘tiny’ isn’t all it’s sized up to be” The global and mail. 2012. Web.

King robin Levinson “the Washington post. 2015. Web.

McKinley, Morison, & Hyde, Shibley J. “The objectified body consciousness scale: Development and validation”. Psychology of Women Quarterly, no.20 (1996), 181-215. Web.

Mitchell, Karen. S., & Mazzeo, Suzanne E. “Evaluation of a structural model of objectification theory and eating disorder symptomology among European American and African American undergraduate women.” Psychology of Women, 33 (2009) p. 384-395. Web.

Nolen-Hoeksema, Susan. “An interactive model for the emergence of gender difference in depression in adolescence.” Journal of Research on Adolescence, 4, no. 4(1994), p. 519-534. Web.

Shereen, Lehman. “Body Weight bias extends to sense of smell, study finds” Reuters. 2015. Web.

Syzmanski, Dawn, M, & Henning, Stacy L., “The role of self-objectification in women’s depression: A test of objectification theory” Sex Roles, no. 56 (2007) p.54. Web.

Triggerman, Marika and Boundy, Michelle. “Effect of environment and appearance the compliment on college women’s self-objectification, mood, body shame, and cognitive performance.” Psychology of Women Quarterly, no.32 (2008), p. 399-405. Web.

Wency Leung. “Body image-boosting TV shows make viewers feel worse: study” The global and mail. 2012. Web.

Zosia Bielski. ““Even when your thighs touch:” Miley chennels Marilyn in ‘fat’ battle” The global and mail. 2012. Web.

Zosia, Bielski, “Being cancer-free worth concerns about body image and sexuality, doctor says” the globe and mail. 2013. Web.

Footnotes

  1. Susan Nolen-Hoeksema. “An interactive model for the emergence of gender difference in depression in adolescence”. Journal of Research on Adolescence, 4, no. 4(1994), p. 519-534.
  2. karen., S. Mitchell, & Suzanne E. Mazzeo “Evaluation of a structural model of objectification theory and eating disorder symptomology among European American and African American undergraduate women.” Psychology of Women, 33 (2009) p. 384-395.
  3. ” Nolen-Hoeksema. “An interactive model, “p.526.
  4. Mitchell, & Mazzeo. “Evaluation of a structural model” p. 387.
  5. Shelly Grabe, Janet Shibley Hyde, and Sara.M Lindberg. “Body objectification and depression in adolescents: The role of gender, shame, and rumination,” Psychology of Women Quarterly, no.31(2007), p. 164-175.
  6. Marika Tiggerman and Michelle Boundy. “Effect of environment and appearance compliment on college women’s self-objectification, mood, body shame, and cognitive performance.” Psychology of Women Quarterly, no.32(2008), p. 399-405.
  7. Dawn,M Syzmanski, & Stacy L. Henning, “The role of self-objectification in women’s depression: A test of objectification theory” Sex Roles, no. 56,(2007) p.54.
  8. Triggerman and Kuring, “Effect of environment and appearance” p. 401.
  9. Szymanski and Henning, “The role of self-objectification in women,” p.56.
  10. Grabe, JHyde, and Lindberg, “Body objectification and depression” p.389.
  11. Morison McKinley, & Shibley J. Hyde. “The objectified body consciousness scale: Development and validation”. Psychology of Women quarterly, no.20(1996),181-215.
  12. Shelly Grabe L. Monique Ward Janet Shibley Hyde. “The Role of the Media in Body Image Concerns among Women” A Meta-Analysis of Experimental and Correlational Studies., 134, no. 3(2008), p. 460-476.
  13. Ibidi, p. 475.
  14. Syzmanski and Hennig, “The role of self-objectification in women”, p. 57.
  15. Shelly Grabe L. Monique Ward & Janet Shibley Hyde. “The Role of the Media in Body Image” p. 470.
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