While many researchers examined several harmful consequences of the imposed or forced sexualization of women, still little is known about voluntary self-sexualization and its potential effects on women who engage in the practice. Although the idea that self-sexualization is self-fulfilling remains contentious, women who self-sexualize are naturally expected to receive sexualized attention, including unwanted attention. This study starts with the question of whether self-sexualizing women, including those who use self-sexualization as a source of power, experience sexual objectification, measured by nonphysical sexual harassment, and its negative consequence, measured by body shame. Furthermore, we investigate how age moderates the relationship. An online questionnaire was created and a total of 308 women completed the questionnaire. Structural equation modeling was conducted to test the hypothesized causal relationships from self-sexualization (self-empowering sexualization and no-power-intent self-sexualization) to nonphysical sexual harassment, which can lead to body shame. The results showed that the effects of self-sexualization are dependent on the intent for self-sexualization as well as the self-sexualizer’s age. While self-sexualization without intent to gain power can lead to increased sexual harassment incidents and body shame, mature women’s self-sexualization as a source of power does not lead to increased sexual harassment experiences nor increased body shame. However, unlike the mature women’s self-empowering sexualization, the young women’s self-sexualization, with or without intent to gain power, can lead to more sexual harassment experiences. The findings of this study indicate the need to uncover the various intentions for self-sexualization as well as their different effects.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License.
Original Publication Citation
Choi, D., Kang, J.-Y. M., Kim, J., & Lee, H. K. (2022). Self-sexualization in relation to sexual harassment and body shame. Research Square. https://doi.org/10.21203/rs.3.rs-2330732/v1
Choi, Dooyoung; Kang, Ju-Young M.; Kim, Jieun; and Lee, Ha Kyung, "Self-Sexualization in Relation to Sexual Harassment and Body Shame" (2022). STEMPS Faculty Publications. 242.