Viren Swami, Rebecca Coles, and Karolina Wyrozumska, Department of Psychology, University of Westminster; Emma Wilson, Natalie Salem, and Adrian Furnham, Department of Clinical, Educational, and Health Psychology, University College London.
OPPRESSIVE BELIEFS AT PLAY: ASSOCIATIONS AMONG BEAUTY IDEALS AND PRACTICES AND INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN SEXISM, OBJECTIFICATION OF OTHERS, AND MEDIA EXPOSURE
Article first published online: 2 AUG 2010
©2010 Division 35, American Psychological Association
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 34, Issue 3, pages 365–379, September 2010
How to Cite
Swami, V., Coles, R., Wilson, E., Salem, N., Wyrozumska, K. and Furnham, A. (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: 365–379. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2010.01582.x
We are grateful to Kristin Karlovich for her comments on a draft of this article.
- Issue published online: 2 AUG 2010
- Article first published online: 2 AUG 2010
- Initial submission: July 30, 2009Initial acceptance: February 8, 2010Final acceptance: March 14, 2010
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.