Open Access Honors Program Thesis

First Advisor

Chris Larimer


Body image in women--Political aspects; Body image in women--Psychological aspects; Women--Political activity--United States;


The phenomenon of self-objectification develops from the internalization of the objectification of the human body by the individual, occurring most prevalently among women, and results in a host of negative psychological effects (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). Among these effects are increased body surveillance, disrupting one’s ability to achieve peak states of motivation, and body shame. It is possible, then, that feelings of inadequacy, as a result, affect other realms of life, including an individual’s orientation toward the political world. To test this proposition, I conducted an original online survey (N=948) to determine if higher rates of selfobjectification, utilizing measures for body surveillance and body shame, negatively affect internal and external political efficacy. Importantly, I control for a number of demographic measures, including gender, to test whether significant subgroup differences exist. Results suggest increased body surveillance and body shame negatively and significantly affect internal political efficacy among both men and women, but the negative effects of self-objectification on the internal political efficacy rates of women are greater than that of men. Further, in analyzing the impact of selfobjectification on external political efficacy, body shame negatively affects the external political efficacy of women but not men. I conclude by discussing how the effects of self-objectification are not isolated to feelings of oneself, but may extend to other aspects of daily life, including the political and economic.

Date of Award



Department of Political Science

University Honors Designation

A thesis submitted in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the designation University Honors

Date Original


Object Description

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