The Influence of Clothing on Women’s State Self-Objectification

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTV11IS060302

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The Influence of Clothing on Womens State Self-Objectification

Yingqi Wang

Dept. College of Textile and Clothing Engineering Soochow university

China

Cong Meng

Dept. College of Textile and Clothing Engineering Soochow university

China

Xiaofeng Jang

Dept. College of Textile and Clothing Engineering Soochow university

China

AbstractBased on objectification theory, this paper used questionnaires and dressing experiments to explore the effects of revealing clothing and tight clothing on women's state self- objectification. The results showed that women who wore revealing loose and tight unrevealing clothing had significantly higher state self-objectification than those who wore loose unrevealing clothing; the level of womens state self- objectification was significantly negatively correlated with body satisfaction and significantly positively correlated with state anxiety in public environments. The results of the study can provide a reference for changing the dress to reduce the level of state self-objectification in women, and then intervene in psychological disorders such as anxiety and depression caused by self-objectification.

KeywordsSelf-objectification; revealing dress; tight dress

  1. INTRODUCTION

    Self-objectification is a cognitive way of looking at oneself through the eyes of an observer and making evaluations of oneself based on their physical appearance, which is specifically manifested as frequent appearance monitoring and body shame. and women with high levels of self-objectification focus more on how their bodies look than on what their bodies can do[1]. Since Fredrickson and Roberts proposed objectification theory in 1997, scholars from various countries have conducted many related studies around the subject of objectification and found that sexual objectification gaze[2], mass media intervention[3], sexy dress[4], and viewing images of the ideal body[5] may all stimulate individuals to self-objectify. Dress is a conscious act of appearance management, and clothing style can cover or reveal the wearer's body shape[6]. For women, male attention to their dressed bodies is what places them in the environment of sexual objectification which is easy to cause self-objectification of women. Self- objectification can be triggered and heightened in many situations or public places that emphasize appearance. Fredrickson used the swimsuit-sweater paradigm to set up a swimsuit wearing situation to induce state self-objectification in subjects and found that women with higher state self- objectification engaged in frequent body monitoring[7]. After the swimsuit-sweater paradigm, scholars have tried to use more ways to induce state self-objectification, such as exposing women to sexually objectifying media[8], receiving "ideal body" messages in social media, and simulating the experience of sexual objectification in daily life[9], etc. The situations of

    body presentation in these studies all These studies have attracted a lot of attention from clothing researchers because of the inseparability of clothing modifications. Lennon et al. used Halloween dress as the basis of their study and found that women's Halloween costumes exposed more of their bodies than men's, and women who wore revealing Halloween costumes were more likely to be objectified than women who wore unrevealing Halloween costumes[10]. Grogan's study found that wearing tight-fitting costumes led to a decrease in body confidence and an increase in the frequency of body monitoring in women[11]. The above studies, confirm that dress behavior can have an effect on state self-objectification, and that exposing or modifying an individual's body shape by changing the degree of dress exposure or tightness can have the effect of promoting or resisting self-objectification.

    In summary, in the field of research at home and abroad, experimental clothing is mostly both revealing and tight clothing, and it is difficult to determine which dress style has a stronger stimulating effect on self-objectification among the two variables of tight and revealing, this experiment uses the group wearing loose and unrevealing clothing as the control group, and changes only one of the variables, i.e., the experimental group is the revealing loose group and the tight unrevealing group, to study the effect of wearing revealing or tight clothing on women's state self-objectification. And based on this, the effect of state objectification on women's appearance anxiety, body satisfaction and state anxiety was further investigated.

  2. PRE-TEST EXPERIMENT

    1. Method

      The pre-test experiment was conducted in the form of a questionnaire, and the Trait Self-Objectification Questionnaire consisted of two parts, Trait Self-Objectification and Degree of Body Part Concern.

      1. Participants

        The 119 valid questionnaires were collected, and the age distribution of the subjects was 18-34 years old, with a mean age of 23.82±2.6.

      2. Materials

        Objectified Body Consciousness Scale (OBCS): this scale was developed by Mckinly and Hyde in 1996. The scale has 24

        self-assessment items and is divided into 3 subscales: Body Surveillance Scale, Body Shame Scale, and Appearance Control Scale, each of which consists of 8 items[12] Panpan Zheng revised Objectification Consciousness Scale (OBCS), the body surveillance and body shame subscales were selected and scored using a 6-point Likert scale , and the level of the score represented the level of trait self-objectification.

    2. Results

    According to the OBCS scores (see Tbl.1), the level of trait self-objectification was divided into three levels: individuals with scores higher than 64.34, which is one standard deviation above the mean, were defined as having a high level of trait self-objectification; individuals with scores lower than 43.58, which is one standard deviation below the mean, were defined as having a low level of trait self-objectification, with scores based on the mean Those who scored within one standard deviation of the mean, i.e., between 43.58 and 64.34, were defined as having a moderate level of trait self-objectification.

    TABLE I. SURVEY RESULTS OF TRAIT SELF-OBJECTIFICATION

    Trait Self-Objectification

    M

    N

    SD

    OBCS

    53.96

    119

    10.38

  3. FORMAL EXPERIMENT

    1. Method

      1. Participants

        The trait self-objectification questionnaire was distributed before the experiment, and female subjects who volunteered to participate in the experiment were recruited. According to the definition of the trait self-objectification level in the pre-test experiment, 23 subjects with high level of self-objectification, 24 subjects with medium level of self-objectification, and 23 subjects with low level of self-objectification were finally selected, a total of 70 females between 18 and 27 years old with an average age of 23.06 years. Each group of subjects was equally assigned to wear three types of clothing, and all subjects had normal corrected vision and no history of psychiatric disorders. At the end of the experiment, a payment is made and a small gift is given to the subject to show appreciation.

      2. Materials

        1. Clothing

          Clothing: Three styles of experimental clothing were prepared, namely, revealing loose clothing, tight unrevealing clothing and loose unrevealing clothing, and this stdy drew on the division of the degree of nudity in Zhen Xiaoli's study, with 50% of the chest revealing, 100% of the waist revealing and 100% of the legs revealing[13]; unrevealing clothing completely wrapped the body and limbs except for the hands, feet and neck; tight clothing completely fit the body; loose clothing completely cover the body curve, as shown in Fig. 1.

          There have been studies using swimsuits and sweaters as experimental materials, but swimsuits are revealing and tight- fitting clothing, and it is impossible to determine whether state self-objectification is caused by revealing clothing or tight- fitting clothing. Therefore, in this experiment, loose and unrevealing clothing was used as the control group, and only one of the variables of revealing or tight clothing was used in

          the experimental group. In order to eliminate the influence of other factors as much as possible, the color of clothing was uniformly black, and all of them were not decorated. Three sizes of S, M and L were prepared for each type of clothing to fit subjects of various body types.

          Fig. 1. Experimental clothing

        2. Measures

          The questionnaire of the Experimental Psychological Questionnaire on Dressing consisted of four parts: the State Self-Objectification Questionnaire, the Body Appearance Anxiety Scale, the Body Satisfaction Scale and the State Anxiety Scale.

          Twenty Statement Test (hereafter referred to as TST), an assessment questionnaire revised by Fredrickson and Noll, was used to understand individuals' perceptions of themselves. By setting up scenarios that elicit self-objectification, subjects are asked to write down their true perceptions or evaluations of themselves. The state self-objectification score is the sum of the number of items in a twenty-item description of body size, physique, or appearance, with a score range of [0, 20], and the higher the score, the higher the level of state self- objectification [7].

          Appearance Anxiety Scale: developed by Dion et al. The scale contains 14 question items and uses a 5-point scale with scores distributed between 14 and 70, with higher scores indicating higher levels of appearance anxiety[14]. In the present experiment, the Nakamoto version of the scale revised by Qingqing Sun, containing 14 items and using a 5-point scale, was used to measure the degree of individuals' anxiety about physical appearance[15]. 1 means never, 5 means almost always, and a higher score indicates a higher degree of anxiety.

          Body satisfaction scale: compiled by Rosen et al. The scale includes each body part and the whole, body parts in order are neck, shoulder, chest, arm, waist, abdomen, hip, hip, and leg; the body as a whole includes height, weight, and overall, the scale uses a 5-point scale score of 1 for very dissatisfied and 5 for very satisfied[16].

          State Anxiety Scale: prepared by Spielberger et al, has been widely used in several research areas to measure the anxiety of individuals in a specific state for a short period of time. The scale contains 20 question items and is rated on a 4-point scale, with 1 indicating almost none and 4 indicating very pronounced, with higher scores indicating higher levels of state anxiety.

      3. Procedure

        Two weeks before the formal experiment, the Self- Objectification Questionnaire was administered to measure the level of trait self-objectification of the subjects. The subjects were divided into three groups according to the trait self- objectification level score definition in Chapter 3: high trait self-objectification group, medium trait self-objectification group, and low trait self-objectification group.

        Subjects were contacted after two weeks for the formal experiment. After the formal experiment, the subjects were arranged to change into the experimental clothes in a private space, and then spent 5 minutes observing themselves in the mirror and filling out the "Psychological Questionnaire of the Experimental Dressing" questionnaire, in which the subjects were required to imagine that they were wearing the experimental clothes in a private scene and a public scene, the private scene being trying on clothes in a dressing room in a shopping mall, and the public scene being walking in the experimental clothes in a lively The private scenario was trying on clothes in a dressing room in a shopping mall, and the public scenario was walking down a busy street in the experimental clothes. The subjects in the three levels of trait self-objectification groups were randomly assigned to wear the experimental clothing. 24 of them wore revealing loose clothing, 24 wore tight unrevealing clothing, and the remaining 22 wore loose unrevealing clothing.

    2. Results and Analysis

      The subjects were divided into three groups according to the level of trait self-objectification, high level trait self- objectification group, medium level trait self-objectification group and low level trait self-objectification group. The age and BMI distribution of the subjects in the three groups are shown in Tbl.2, and there were no significant differences in age and BMI among the three groups of subjects with different levels of self-objectification.

      TABLE II. AGE AND BMI DISTRIBUTION OF DIFFERENT TRAIT SELF- OBJECTIFICATION GROUPS

      1. The influence of trait self-objectification and dress style

        Variable

        Trait self-objectification

        F

        P

        High(n=23)

        Mid(n=23)

        Low(n=24)

        Age

        23.04±2.16

        23.04±2.03

        23.08±1.59

        0.00

        0.997

        BMI

        21.02±2.43

        20.09±2.59

        19.89±2.99

        1.17

        0.317

        on state self-objectification

        The independent variables were trait self-objectification level and dress style, and the dependent variable was status self-objectification, and the results of the analysis were analyzed using ANOVA as shown in Tbl.2.

        The results showed that the main effect of dressing style was significant, F=13.52, p=0.000; the main effect of trait self- objectification grouping was not significant, F=2.33, p=0.106; the interaction effect of dressing style and trait self- objectification was not significant, F=0.56, p=0.695. It indicates that wearing different styles of clothing has a significant should effect on the level of state self- objectification, trait self- The main effect of objectification level and the interaction effect of trait self-objectification level and dress style were not significant, indicating that this variable did not have a significant effect on the level of state self- objectification. Women with different levels of trait self-

        objectification tended to have the same level of state self- objectification when wearing the same item of clothing.

        TABLE III. ANOVA OF STATE SELF-OBJECTIFICATION FOR DIFFERENT LEVELS OF TRAIT SELF-OBJECTIFICATION AND DRESS STYLE

        Source

        SS

        df

        MS

        F

        p

        2

        Dress

        427.10

        2

        213.55

        13.52

        0.000

        0.31

        Trait Self- Objectification

        73.69

        2

        36.84

        2.33

        0.106

        0.07

        Dress×Trait Self- Objectification

        35.12

        4

        8.78

        0.56

        0.695

        0.04

        Due to the significant main effect of dress style, in order to investigate the specific effect of dress style on state self- objectification, the effect of the three styles of clothing on state slf-objectification was further tested post hoc, and the results of the multiple comparison analysis are shown in Tbl.3.

        The results of the multiple analyses showed that subjects wearing revealing loose clothing had significantly higher state self-objectification means than those wearing loose unrevealing, p=0.000; subjects wearing tight unrevealing clothing had significantly higher state self-objectification scores than those wearing loose unrevealing, p=0.000; subjects wearing tight unrevealing clothing had higher levels of state self-objectification than those wearing revealing loose, but the The difference did not reach a significant level. This shows that the level of state self-objectification in women is mainly influenced by the style of clothing worn, and wearing revealing or tight clothing stimulates high levels of state self- objectification in women.

        TABLE IV. MULTIPLE COMPARISONS OF DRESS STYLE AND STATE SELF- OBJECTIFICATION

        (I) Dress

        MD (I-J)

        SE

        P

        Revealing Loose

        Tight Unrevealing

        -0.96

        1.16

        0.407

        Loose Unrevealing

        4.80*

        1.18

        0.000

        Tight Unrevealing

        Revealing Loose

        0.96

        1.16

        0.407

        Loose Unrevealing

        5.76*

        1.18

        0.000

        Loose Unrevealing

        Revealing Loose

        -4.80*

        1.18

        0.000

        Tight Unrevealing

        -5.76*

        1.18

        0.000

        1. * indicate statistically significant differences at p < 0.05.

          The state self-objectification of women with different levels of trait self-objectification while wearing revealing loose, tight unrevealing, and loose unrevealing clothing is shown in Tbl.5 and Fig. 2.

          10

          ***

          ***

          8

          6

          4

          2

          0

          State self-objectification

        2. *** indicate statistically significant differences at p < 0.01.

          14

          ***

          ***

          Revealing Loose

          Tight Unrevealing

          Loose Unrevealing

          12

          ***

          High

          Mid

          Trait self-objectification

          Low

          Fig. 2. State self-objectification under different experimental conditions

          TABLE V. STATE SELF-OBJECTIFICATION DESCRIPTIVE VARIABLES UNDER DIFFERENT EXPERIMENTAL CONDITIONS

          Trait self- objectifi cation

          Dress

          M

          SD

          F

          P

          High

          Revealing Loose

          10.75

          1.41

          7.70

          0.003

          Tight Unrevealing

          11.38

          1.41

          Loose Unrevealing

          4.00

          1.50

          Mid

          Revealing Loose

          7.63

          1.41

          3.01

          0.072

          Tight Unrevealing

          9.88

          1.41

          Loose Unrevealing

          4.29

          1.50

          Low

          Revealing Loose

          7.63

          1.41

          3.96

          0.035

          Tight Unrevealing

          7.63

          1.41

          Loose Unrevealing

          3.38

          1.41

          Low-level self-objectification subjects who wore loose revealing clothing. The state self-objectification scores for the medium level trait self-objectification group were, in descending order, M=9.88, SD=1.41 for tight unrevealing clothing, M=7.63, SD=1.41 for revealing loose clothing, and M=4.29, SD=1.50 for loose unrevealing clothing, with significantly higher state self-objectification in tight unrevealing clothing than in loose revealing clothing. State self-objectification scores for the low level trait self- objectification group: revealing loose dressing and tight unrevealing dressing had the same mean, M=7.63, SD=1.41, significantly higher than loose unrevealing dressing, M=3.38, SD=1.41.

      2. Effect of state self-objectification on appearance anxiety, state anxiety, and body satisfaction

    The subjects were divided into two groups according to the level of state self-objectification, and the mean value of state self-objectification was 7.94, with 35 people below 7.49 being the high state self-objectification group and 35 people above

    7.49 being the low state self-objectification group. The specifics of these two groups of subjects on appearance anxiety, body satisfaction, state anxiety in private settings, and state anxiety in public settings are shown in Tbl.6.

    State Self- Objectification

    Appearance Anxiety

    Body satisfaction

    STAI(private)

    STAI(public)

    High

    37.24±1.52

    39.06±0.94

    35.20±1.79

    41.35±2.42

    Low

    40.89±1.72

    36.18±1.06

    37.26±2.02

    44.86±2.74

    TABLE VI. APPEARANCE ANXIETY, BODY SATISFACTION, AND STATE ANXIETY IN DIFFERENT STATE SELF-OBJECTIFICATION EXPERIMENTAL GROUPS

    1. STAI private is state anxiety in private scenarios; STAI public is state anxiety in public scenarios

    Independent samples t-tests were conducted for appearance anxiety, body satisfaction, state anxiety in private settings, and state anxiety in public settings, using the state self- objectification water mean of 7.49 as the split point. The results of the tests are shown in Tbl.7.

    The results of Levene's test show that appearance anxiety F=1.99, p=0.16>0.05; body satisfaction F=0.36, p=0.55>0.05;

    STAI private F=3.71, p=0.06>0.05; and STAI public F=2.89, p=0.09>0.05, none of the sample variance differences reached the 0.05 significant level, so the hypothesis of variance chi- squared is valid. From the results of the mean equivalence t-test in the assumed equal variance, we can see that appearance anxiety t=1.49, p=0.14>0.05, indicating that the effect of state self-objectification on appearance anxiety is not significant; body satisfaction t=-2.83, p=0.01<0.05, indicating that state self-objectification has a significant effect on appearance satisfaction, the level of state self-objectification and body satisfaction are negatively correlated, the higher the level of state self-objectification, the lower the body satisfaction; STAI private t=1.24, p=0.22>0.05; STAI public t=2.66, p=0.01<0.05, indicating that the effect of state self-objectification on state anxiety in private scenes is not significant, and has a significant effect on state anxiety in public scenes, and the level of individual state anxiety is also the influence of the environment in which they are located.

    TABLE VII. ANOVA OF APPEARANCE ANXIETY, BODY SATISFACTION AND STATE ANXIETY

    Levene

    t Test

    F

    p

    t

    df

    p

    MD

    SE

    Appearance Anxiety

    1.99

    0.16

    1.49

    68.00

    0.14

    2.97

    1.99

  4. DISCUSSION

This experiment explored the effects of revealing dressing and tight dressing on individual state self-objectification and whether state self-objectification causes appearance anxiety, body dissatisfaction or state anxiety through a dressing experiment. The results showed that there was no significant difference in the state self-objectification scores between the three groups of subjects with different levels of trait self- objectification under different experimental conditions; dress style had a significant effect on the level of individual state self-objectification, and the level of state self-objectification was significantly higher for women wearing revealing loose clothing and women wearing tight unrevealing clothing than for women wearing loose unrevealing clothing, that is, wearing revealing loose or tight unrevealing clothing stimulated high levels of state self-objectification. This conclusion was satisfied in high, medium and low level trait self-objectification groups.

The effect of state self-objectification level on appearance anxiety, body dissatisfaction and state anxiety, the experimental results do not fully conform to the research hypothesis, as shown by the following: state self-objectification level is significantly negatively correlated with body satisfaction, and women with high level of state self- objectification, will produce body dissatisfaction; state self- objectification level is significantly positively correlated with state anxiety in public environments, and women with high level of state self-objectification women experience anxiety in public environments. Self-objectification has been studied to show that the level of trait self-objectification affects women's appearance anxiety and body satisfaction. However, the level of state self-objectification in this experiment did not have a significant effect on appearance anxiety or state anxiety in private settings. It is hypothesized that this is because appearance anxiety is a long-term, stable trait, and a brief, unstable state of self-objectification is not sufficient to cause

changes in appearance anxiety; compared to public environments, private environments bring a sense of comfort and security, so state anxiety in private environments also did not change with state self-objectification.

Dress can change state self-objectification and thus reduce state anxiety. However, long-term intervention is needed to change trait self-objectification and appearance anxiety through dressing. Future research on dressing preferences of women with trait self-objectification can help women with high trait self-objectification choose more appropriate dressing and thus assist women in regulating their level of self-objectification.

The shortcoming of the study is that the sample of subjects is not rich enough, and most of them are undergraduate and graduate students, and the sample can be expanded in future studies.

ACKNOWLEDGMENT

Thanks to scholars in the field of self-objectification whose research provided the basis for this article. Thanks for the training of Soochow University.

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