- Women on display: the effect of portraying the self online on women’s self-objectification
- Computers in Human Behavior
- Volume | Issue number
- 29 | 4
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam School of Communication Research (ASCoR)
Objectification research has largely ignored the potential impact of Internet activities, such as online self-portrayal, on women’s self-objectification and whether this may interact with traditional sexually objectifying stimuli. In response to these research gaps, the present study had two goals: first, to investigate if portraying the self to others online leads to self-objectification in women; second, to test whether priming with sexually objectifying content from traditional media moderates the effect of online self-portrayal on self-objectification. We conducted an online experiment with a two (priming stimuli: objectifying vs. neutral) by two (audience: online audience vs. no audience) between subjects design among 221 women aged 18-25. All participants created an online profile, which consisted of choosing an avatar and writing a self-description. As expected, participants in the online audience condition self-objectified more strongly than did participants in the no audience condition. However, this effect only held among those who had been primed with sexually objectifying stimuli. Our results suggest that women’s online self-portrayal, if combined with sexually objectifying stimuli, may lead to self-objectification.
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