Date of Award

January 2013

Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)



First Advisor

Richard Ferraro


The current study examined how men's expectations and references in women's body type (the study attempts to examine the effects of men's expectations by manipulating the gender and race of the present research assistant) may affect how heterosexual women value and judge themselves. This was explored through a manipulation of the experimenter's race and gender. The researcher manipulated the experimenter's race and gender; assuming that the participants have a stereotypical expectation of what men prefer (a more slender body type) in feminine body types. The experimenters interviewed the participants on their confidence, self-esteem, and body-image. The research is important to help identify reasons why women have a greater tendency to self-objectify than men. Previous research has emphasized the role media plays on self-objectification of women. It is possible that the media is not the only influence society has on how a woman determines her worth and value. The self-objectification theory suggests that women are socialized to determine their value based on their appearance and physical attractiveness. Each participant was interviewed by an experimenter. The experimenters varied in gender and race: an African American undergraduate male student, a caucasian undergraduate male student, and a Caucasian undergraduate female student. The current study consisted of one hundred and fifty five Caucasian female undergraduate participants from the University of North Dakota. They were divided into three groups. Fifty-three participants were in the Caucasian Male group; the African American Male and the Caucasian Female group each had fifty-one participants. The participants had their BMI measured. They were given the Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (OBC), Rosenberg's Self Esteem Scale (RSES), and the Figure Rating Scale (FRS). The participants were also asked to fill out a questionnaire providing information regarding age, ethnicity, grade, sexuality, and their attraction to the research assistant. A Modern Racism Scale was given in order to rule out racism as a factor in the OBC scores. The current study suggested that women were more self conscious or increased their self objectification in the presence of the female experimenter. According to the present data, a women's self-objectification did not seem to depend upon a stereotyped perception of the preferences of males' sexual desires. The difference between men and women's impact on self-objectification should be researched further and in various social situations. The author proposes in the discussion, that women in a research situation did not feel in the laboratory as they would in day to day situations where they may otherwise feel objectified, such as job interviews, working, classrooms, and/or socializing.