Melissa Grey

Date Approved


Date Posted


Degree Type

Open Access Dissertation

Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Department or School


Committee Member

Silvia von Kluge, PhD, Chair

Committee Member

Stephen Jefferson, PhD

Committee Member

Amy M. Young, PhD

Committee Member

Nina Nabors, PhD


According to objectification theory, girls and women are socialized to adopt an external observer’s view of the self. Self-objectification occurs when there is an emphasis on physical appearance and a de-emphasis and devaluation of internal and physical competence features, all of which have been related to negative psychological consequences. Trait self-objectification is chronic preoccupation with physical appearance that occurs with little or no environmental appearance cues. While self-objectification has been demonstrated in diverse samples, research suggests self-objectification is particularly prominent for women. This study investigated the relationships between different feminist and sexual identities and trait self-objectification. A sample of 187 undergraduate women was administered a survey to measure affiliation with sexual and feminist identities, self-objectification, and well-being. While support for the protective influence of identification as a feminist, lesbian, and bisexual against self-objectification was not found, two measures of feminist identity development were found to be protective against self-objectification, and some support for the role of connection with the feminist community was found. Results are discussed in the context of objectification theory and constraints of this study.