Use of Objectification Theory to Examine the Effects of a Media Literacy Intervention on Women

Although the impact of the media’s thin ideal on body image may be lessened by media literacy, empirical support for this is inconsistent. Objectification theory, which suggests that certain social situations serve to increase women’s self-objectification (i.e., viewing self from a third person perspective), was used as a framework to understand this inconsistency. In particular, it was hypothesized that media literacy may involve both negative (heightened self-objectification) and positive (well-being) effects. We used both qualitative and quantitative measures, and two studies showed that viewing the video Slim Hopes increased state self-objectification, as well as self-esteem and positive affect. Implications for effective media literacy and self-objectification are discussed.