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Self-objectification functions as both a trait and a state.
The theory also helps illuminate why changes in these mental health risks occur alongside life-course changes in the female body, emerging at puberty and diminishing after menopause.
At the beginning of the 20th century, American psychologists explored the notion of the looking-glass self, which says that a person’s sense of self is a social construction and reflects how others view him or her.
This perspective is a precursor to objectification theory, which takes the looking glass, or mirror, component of this metaphor quite literally.
Shame is an emotion that occurs when one perceives one’s failure to meet cultural standards of conduct.
The chronic comparison of one’s own body with the impossible cultural standards of attractive, sexy appearance is a recipe for shame. Numerous studies have shown stronger body shame, appearance anxiety, and feelings of self-disgust in young women who internalize a sexualized view of self, and also in young women after viewing media portrayals of idealized women’s bodies, or even being exposed to sexualizing words that commonly appear on magazine covers such as sexy or shapely.