Self-Objectification Endorsement Among Heterosexual and Sexual Minority People and Its Association With Negative Affect and Substance Use

Rotem Kahalon, Tabea Hässler, Léïla Eisner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Scopus citations

Abstract

Objectification theory proposes that women self-objectify as a result of internalizing the male gaze on their bodies. In this case, additional groups that are attracted to men (e.g., gay men and bi/pansexual people) should also present higher levels of self-objectification than those that are not (e.g., lesbian women, heterosexual men, and nonbinary people not attracted to men). We tested this prediction using a large sample of Swiss heterosexual and sexual minority individuals (n = 2,770). We also extended previous work on objectification theory by systematically exploring the association of self-objectification with outcomes especially prevalent among sexual minority people, namely negative affect and substance use, and tested whether appearance anxiety mediates these associations. The present study found support for the male gaze hypothesis. People with sexual orientations that reflect attraction toward men, or toward men and other genders, reported higher levels of self-objectification. Self-objectification was also associated with negative affect through appearance anxiety, and directly associated with substance use. We conclude that people with sexual orientations that reflect attraction toward men, or toward men and other genders, are at higher risk of selfobjectification and its negative effects.

Original languageEnglish
JournalPsychology of Sexual Orientation and Gender Diversity
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2024

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2024 American Psychological Association

Keywords

  • appearance anxiety
  • negative affect
  • self-objectification
  • sexual minority people
  • substance use

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