„Happily Objectified“. Exposure to sexualizing music videos, self-objectification, and enjoyment of sexualization 

The current study investigates how exposure to sexualizing media content may activate a chain of increased self-objectification and subsequent enjoyment of sexualization (EOS). Thus, it was analyzed whether consumer of sexualizing media may not only experience direct negative outcomes, but may also learn to perceive them as empowering (e.g., Gill, 2003). We conducted a 1x 2 between subjects lab experiment with 126 women, using pop music videos from female artists as a prime. Participants were randomly allocated to watch either three pop music videos high in sexual objectification (= experimental condition; n=64) or low in sexual objectification (= control condition; n=61). Subsequently we assessed the individual levels of self-objectification and EOS in a questionnaire. This results indicate that exposure to stereotypic and sexualized music videos fosters self-objectification among young women which in turn leads to greater EOS. Thus, women “learn” through media images to enjoy male sexualization. Whereas a myriad of studies indicates that self-objectification is rather a negative view of the self (Moradi & Huang, 2008), the current body of literature is less clear about the concept of enjoyment of sexualization. Enjoying sexualization does not automatically lead to a perceived sense of empowerment, neither does enjoyment of sexualization automatically imply negative outcomes (Erchull & Liss, 2014). This study contributes to the research field by analyzing in a first step, how these concepts are related to media exposure. It is up to future research to further investigate possible moderators and mediators that identify which women feel empowered and which not.


Kathrin Karsay

karsay_fotoKathrin Karsay, Mag., ist seit 2013 wissenschaftliche Mitarbeiterin der Abteilung Advertising and Media Effects am Institut für Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft der Universität Wien. Ihre Forschungsschwerpunkte liegen in den Bereichen Rezeptions- und Wirkungsforschung. In Ihrer Dissertation beschäftigt sie sich mit Sexualisierung & Medien.

Email: kathrin.karsay@univie.ac.at

Felix Stoisser

stoisser_fotoStudium: Publizistik- und Kommunikationswissenschaft

Forschungsinteressen: Werbeforschung, Wirkungsforschung, genderspezifische Themen

Email: a0905617@unet.univie.ac.at