An Inhospitable World: Exploring a Model of Objectification Theory With Trans Women

Allison Comiskey, Mike C. Parent, Elliot A. Tebbe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations

Abstract

In this study, we investigated key tenets of objectification theory, a prominent model of body image disturbance, as it relates to trans women’s disordered eating and intention to obtain silicone injections—a specific health risk for this population. We also incorporated appearance congruence, or the degree to which an individual personally feels that their gender expression matches their gender identity, into the objectification theory model. Results of a structural equation model using data from a sample of 173 trans women from the United States indicated that the basic objectification theory model held among this sample and that appearance congruence was associated negatively with body surveillance. However, appearance congruence did not have significant direct or indirect links (via body surveillance and body shame) with disordered eating or intention to obtain silicone injections. Thus, disordered eating and intention to obtain silicone injections are potential negative outcomes of the process of objectification among trans women, and appearance congruence does not appear to be uniquely linked to health risks associated with internalization of cultural standards of attractiveness, body surveillance, and body shame. Our findings support the application of the tenets of objectification theory with trans women as they apply to disordered eating and intention to obtain silicone injections and also indicate the need to identify other positive influences on trans women’s body image to counteract internalization of cultural standards of attractiveness.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)105-116
Number of pages12
JournalPsychology of Women Quarterly
Volume44
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • body image
  • eating disorders
  • objectification theory
  • silicone injections
  • transgender

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Psychology(all)

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