Facebook Causes Self-Objectification in Young Women

A new paper finds that young women are objectifying themselves more when they browse photos on Facebook and in magazines.

The paper, published in Psychology of Women Quarterly, looked at 150 female college students and staff aged 17 to 25. Researcher Jasmine Fardouly found that there was also a connection between type of media, comparing the way women look, and self-objectification.

"Our research shows that spending more time reading magazines and on Facebook is associated with greater self-objectification among young women and these relationships are influenced by women's tendency to compare their appearance to others, particularly to peers on Facebook," Fardouly commented.

Magazines, though significantly related to self-objectification, are infrequently read by women. Researchers also found that on average, women spent about two hours a day on Facebook, which accounts for 40 per cent of daily internet use and check the site every few hours. Facebook users compare their appearance most often to their own images, then to those of their peers, and rarely to images of family members and celebrities.

The paper goes on to say that unlike TV and music videos, on Facebook, users can compare pictures of themselves with their peers or past images of themselves. The researchers also note that self-comparisons may lead to greater self-objectification for women as they look at themselves literally as an observer. They wrote, "Furthermore, self-comparisons to images of a previous self might engender a greater focus on specific body parts, also contributing to self-objectification."

To stop this negative cycle, researchers recommend that young women post fewer images of themselves on Facebook and follow people on Facebook who post photos less frequently.

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