Self-Subjugation Among Women: Exposure to Sexist Ideology, Self-Objectification, and the Protective Function of the Need to Avoid Closure

Rachel M. Calogero, John T. Jost

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Despite extensive evidence confirming the negative consequences of self-objectification, direct experimental evidence concerning its environmental antecedents is scarce. Incidental exposure to sexist cues was employed in 3 experiments to investigate its effect on self-objectification variables. Consistent with system justification theory, exposure to benevolent and complementary forms of sexism, but not hostile or no sexism, increased state self-objectification, self-surveillance, and body shame among women but not men in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2, we replicated these effects and demonstrated that they are specific to self-objectification and not due to a more general self-focus. In addition, following exposure to benevolent sexism only, women planned more future behaviors pertaining to appearance management than did men; this effect was mediated by self-surveillance and body shame. Experiment 3 revealed that the need to avoid closure might afford women some protection against self-objectification in the context of sexist ideology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)211-228
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Personality and Social Psychology
Volume100
Issue number2
DOIs
StatePublished - Feb 2011

Fingerprint

Sexism
objectification
Shame
ideology
sexism
experiment
shame
surveillance
Cues
system theory
evidence
management

Keywords

  • Benevolent sexism
  • Complementary stereotypes
  • Need for cognitive closure
  • Self-objectification
  • System justification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Social Psychology

Cite this

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abstract = "Despite extensive evidence confirming the negative consequences of self-objectification, direct experimental evidence concerning its environmental antecedents is scarce. Incidental exposure to sexist cues was employed in 3 experiments to investigate its effect on self-objectification variables. Consistent with system justification theory, exposure to benevolent and complementary forms of sexism, but not hostile or no sexism, increased state self-objectification, self-surveillance, and body shame among women but not men in Experiment 1. In Experiment 2, we replicated these effects and demonstrated that they are specific to self-objectification and not due to a more general self-focus. In addition, following exposure to benevolent sexism only, women planned more future behaviors pertaining to appearance management than did men; this effect was mediated by self-surveillance and body shame. Experiment 3 revealed that the need to avoid closure might afford women some protection against self-objectification in the context of sexist ideology.",
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