Empowerment and powerlessness: A closer look at the relationship between feminism, body image and eating disturbance

Rachel D. Peterson, Karen P. Grippo, Stacey Tantleff-Dunn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectification Theory (Frederickson & Roberts, 1997) states that women's bodies are viewed as objects to be evaluated and this societal objectification may lead to self-objectification when women view their own bodies as objects. The current study theorized that empowerment is an important factor in reducing self-objectification. Although empowerment is a central tenet of feminist theory, this study is the first to examine the relationship between empowerment, feminism, and body image and eating disturbance. Participants were 276 women from the southeastern USA. Results demonstrated that empowerment was more predictive of body image and eating disturbance than was feminism. Development of a validated empowerment scale specific to body image and eating disturbance may be useful for future research, prevention, and treatment efforts.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)639-648
Number of pages10
JournalSex Roles
Volume58
Issue number9-10
DOIs
StatePublished - May 2008
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Body image
  • Eating disorders
  • Empowerment
  • Feminism
  • Prevention

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