A test of objectification theory and its relationship to feminist identity



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Texas A&M University


The purpose of this study was to investigate the validity of a sociocultural theory of objectification with a population of older women. Specifically, the study sought to determine if level of self-objectification influenced psychological well-being, disordered eating, and sexual dysfunction. Additional goals of this study included determining if older women self-objectify like their younger counterparts and if level of selfobjectification was influenced by one??????s feminist identity. Participants were 128 randomly selected women living in a small city in the southwest recruited through a local seniors fair and organizations. Participants completed a take-home survey which included a demographic questionnaire, the Feminist Identity Development Scale, the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale, the Scales of Psychological Well-Being Short Form, the Eating Attitudes Test, and the Brief Index of Sexual Functioning for Women. Participants returned surveys in postage pre-paid envelopes. The data was analyzed using structural equation modeling methods and the final model fit the data well. Results indicate that older women do self-objectify but this level of self-objectification is not influenced by their level of feminist identity. In addition, level of self-objectification is negatively related to psychological well-being and positively related to disordered eating; however, no relationship exists between self-objectification and sexual dysfunction. Implications for clinical practice and further research are discussed.