Examining the Impact of Celebrity Gossip Magazine Coverage of Pregnant Celebrities on Pregnant Women's Self-Objectification

K. Megan Hopper, Jennifer Stevens Aubrey

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

9 Scopus citations

Abstract

The present experimental study examined the impact of celebrity gossip magazine coverage on pregnant women through the lens of objectification theory (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). In total, 301 pregnant women were randomly assigned to view highly sexually objectifying full-body images and accompanying text depicting pregnant celebrities, low objectifying headshot-only images and accompanying text depicting celebrities, or images of baby products with no people depicted (control). Exposure to the headshot-only condition resulted in significantly more self-objectification than exposure to control images. We speculate exposure to the headshot-only images primed self-objectification in participants because they visualized nonpregnant, thin, toned, and sculpted celebrity bodies that are frequently objectified by the media. Further analyses revealed that participants' stage in pregnancy, history with pregnancy, and age moderated the main effects. Among those in their first trimester, assignment to the headshot-only condition significantly predicted state self-objectification; however, among those in their third trimester, the full-body condition predicted state self-objectification at a level of marginal significance. Further, exposure to the headshot-only stimuli predicted self-objectification for those having no prior live births. Among those participants in the younger age group, exposure to the headshot-only condition significantly predicted self-objectification; however, among those in the middle age group, the full-body condition significantly predicted self-objectification.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)767-788
Number of pages22
JournalCommunication Research
Volume40
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2013
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • celebrity gossip magazines
  • media
  • pregnancy
  • self-objectification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Communication
  • Linguistics and Language

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