Body objectification in advertising : effects of visual sexual objectification on body image dissatisfaction and advertising effectiveness
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[ACCESS RESTRICTED TO THE UNIVERSITY OF MISSOURI AT REQUEST OF AUTHOR.] Based on Objectification Theory and Social Comparison Theory, the study examined the effects of beauty and non-beauty product ads featuring sexual objectification images on psychological responses—self-objectification, social comparison and body image dissatisfaction among college females. The study further explored the relationship between psychological attitudes and advertising effectiveness. Regarding psychological responses, the study tested two main sets of hypotheses. First, beauty product ads generated greater psychological responses than non-beauty product ads. Second, high-objectified ads exerted greater impact on psychological responses than low-objectified ads. Neither of the main effects hypotheses was supported. In terms of advertising effectiveness, results showed that low-objectified ads had higher advertising effectiveness than high-objectified ads without being mediated or moderated by psychological responses. The study further found that non-beauty product ads would generate better advertising effectiveness when combined with low-objectified images. The author provides explanations for the inconsistencies between the study findings and the theories used, and discusses conceptual implications and methodological limitations of the study.
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