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Essay History Humanities Natural Sciences Nonfiction Social Sciences

The Role of Masculinity and Femininity in Body Objectification: Comparison of Heterosexual and Gay Communities

By Catherine J. Massey, Emily Keener, and Jennifer Sanftne McGraw , 2021

Drawing on objectification theory, we investigated associations among age, gender-typed traits (masculinity, femininity), community involvement (gay and lesbian sample), and body objectification (body surveillance and body shame) in gay men, lesbians, and heterosexual men and women. Our sample included 390 participants from university and community settings. A total of 82 gay men, 62 lesbians, 82 heterosexual men, and 164 heterosexual women, M age = 23.06 years (range 18–62), completed a measure to assess body surveillance and body shame and masculinity and femininity. Additionally, the lesbian and gay participants completed an assessment to measure LGBT community involvement. Controlling for age, results were significant for the femininity × masculinity interaction on body surveillance for gay men and lesbians, and masculine gender-typed traits for heterosexual women. Masculinity also was a significant predictor of body shame for lesbians. LGBT community involvement was non-significant for both gay men and lesbians. Our findings are consistent with objectification theory and highlight the importance of examining the complexities of gender (e.g., interaction between masculinity and femininity) and sexual orientation when body objectification is investigated.

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