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date: 18 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter explores motivational questions that arise when the psychology of girls and women is viewed through the lens of objectification theory, which highlights the centrality of appearance concerns, or body projects, for girls and women in the early 21st century. The chapter examines three theoretical perspectives for what motivates sexually objectifying views and treatment of women and women’s own participation in self-objectifying body projects, which have garnered compelling evidence: a power-related motivation, an existential motivation, and a system-justifying motivation. It then investigates the cultivation, through developmental processes and immersion in objectifying environments, of self-objectification at a trait level, as well as the more direct situational experiences that induce states of self-objectification. And, finally, it reviews evidence that self-objectification, though motivating in itself, carries significant consequences for girls’ and women’s health, well-being, and full participation in the world.

Keywords: sexual objectification, self-objectification, body, gender, motivation

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