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Oppressive beliefs at play: associations among beauty ideals and practices and individual differences in sexism, objectification of others, and media exposure

Swami, Viren and Coles, Rebecca and Wilson, Emma and Salem, Natalie and Wyrozumska, Karolina and Furnham, Adrian (2010) Oppressive beliefs at play: associations among beauty ideals and practices and individual differences in sexism, objectification of others, and media exposure. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34 (3). pp. 365-379. ISSN 0361-6843

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1471-6402.2010.01582.x

Abstract

In recent years, beauty ideals and practices have been explained almost exclusively using evolutionary psychological frameworks, to the exclusion of more proximate factors such as psychosocial and individual psychological variables. To overcome this limitation, we examined the associations among sexist beliefs, objectification of others, media exposure, and three distinct beauty ideals or practices. Across three studies, a total of 1,158 participants in a British community sample completed a series of scales that measured their attitudes toward women, hostility toward women, benevolent sexism, hostile sexism, their tendency to objectify others, media exposure, and endorsement of the thin ideal and (for women) body dissatisfaction (Study 1); height preferences in an other-sex partner (Study 2); and endorsement of cosmetic use (Study 3). Across the three studies, results supported the idea that sexist beliefs predicted beauty ideals and practices, although the strength of these associations varied according to the ideal or practice in question. These results support feminist critiques that beauty ideals and practices in Western societies are linked with sexist attitudes. Furthermore, our results suggest that programmes aimed to reduce or eliminate sexist attitudes, or that promote more gender egalitarian attitudes, may result in healthier beauty ideals and practices.

Item Type:Article
Research Community:University of Westminster > Social Sciences, Humanities and Languages, School of
ID Code:8332
Deposited On:20 Jul 2010 16:20
Last Modified:22 Sep 2010 12:23

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