Depicting Women as Sex Objects in Television Advertising: Effects on Body Dissatisfaction

Howard Lavine, Donna Sweeney, Stephen H. Wagner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations

Abstract

This study examined whether exposure to TV ads that portray women as sex objects causes increased body dissatisfaction among women and men. Participants were exposed to 15 sexist and 5 nonsexist ads, 20 nonsexist ads, or a no ad control condition. Results revealed that women exposed to sexist ads judged their current body size as larger and revealed a larger discrepancy between their actual and ideal body sizes (preferring a thinner body) than women exposed to the nonsexist or no ad condition. Men exposed to the sexist ads judged their current body size as thinner, revealed a larger discrepancy between their actual and ideal body size (preferring a larger body), and revealed a larger discrepancy between their own ideal body size and their perceptions of others’ male body size preferences (believing that others preferred a larger ideal) than men exposed to the nonsexist or no ad condition. Discussion focuses on the cognitive, attitudinal, and behavioral consequences of exposure to gender stereotypic television advertising.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1049-1058
Number of pages10
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume25
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 1999

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