Societal norms are notions that stem from a significant amount of people’s interactions and their various perspectives. Societies often stem from people having similar views regarding certain topics, and these views provide people with a sense of bonding and belonging. For the longest time, the dynamics between men and women have entailed divergent views even as women continue to assert and advocate for their equality to men in society. The disparities between men and women have often formed the subject of deep controversy, with the various gender role definitions changing as time passes. The objectification theory is one of the critical theories that explain the different dynamics between men and women, and it depicts how society’s objectification of women’s bodies results in negative effects such as eating disorders and the strive to achieve ideal body standards(Daniel & Bridges,2010). This paper discusses the objectification theory and objectification and its impact on minority men’s perception of body consciousness.
The objectification theory entails the socialization of women to perceive themselves as objects, and according to the article, this theory does not apply to a greater extent to men than women in men’s achieving muscularity. As Daniel & Bridges (2010) asserts, sexual objectification in women entails the societal standards imparted on them regarding the various metrics they should meet regarding their body types, body shape, and appearance-related attributes of attractiveness and beauty. The study’s hypothesis was to deploy the objectification theory to men and decipher its various metrics’ applicability to men. The study deployed measures such as a demographic questionnaire that inquired about age, sexual orientation, and exercise habits. Further, the measures also entailed a self-objectification questionnaire and social-cultural attitudes toward appearance questionnaire to develop its findings. These measures display findings such as a direct correlation between media ideals and the internalization of these ideals and hence self objectivation. Western culture reduces women to objects since they get viewed based on objectified standards and how the same impact occurs in men. The result of this sexual objectification is that women become obsessed with achieving beauty standards and the increased preoccupation with their appearance. Self-objectification results in negative effects such as body shame, eating disorders, low self-esteem, and depressive moods. However, the applicability of the objectification theory and sexual objectification in both minority and heterosexual men is different since men do not internalize media and social influences to result in an increased quest for muscularity. The article’s findings indicate that despite the existent societal ideals and definition of men and muscularity, the objectification theory does not play a part to a large extent for men compared to women regarding body image concerns and muscularity. The second article implies that men’s goal of achieving muscularity and body image ideals is not the same as that of women, as described by the objectification theory. However, internalization of media body ideals held relations to the drive for muscularity as described by the findings.BMI emerged as a critical factor that indicated men’s muscularity drive, but more studies are needed to ascertain the severity of its relation to the seeking of muscularity in men
The objectification theory applies to minority men, such as gay men, since, as the article asserts, minority men have higher rates of body consciousness, body shame, and eating disorders. As Wiseman & Moradi (2010) claim, sexual minority men have higher rates of body consciousness issues than heterosexual men, an aspect that is due to differences in the social make-up of men and women. The study used a survey to collect data from 231 individuals with questionnaires assessing factors such as body surveillance, internalized homophobia, internalization of attractiveness standards, and childhood harassment for nonconformity. A key result from the measures was that, in general, men prefer more attractive partners than women, which also exists among gay men. Gay men will therefore internalize deeper social definitions of body attractiveness and become more conscious of their bodies since they seek to attract more attractive men. This dynamic shows that gay men have elements such as eating disorders and higher body surveillance rates, which is synonymous with the objectification theory. In addition, factors such as childhood harassment due to gender nonconformity also contribute to the heightened body surveillance and body image consciousness. Also, internalized homophobia plays a role in gay men’s sexual objectification issues, with a positive link between their eating disorders and their shame of their sexual orientation. The study’s hypothesis was to ascertain the link between internalized homophobia and gender nonconformity to body image and eating disorders. Article 2 by Wiseman & Moradi (2010) implies that body surveillance, eating disorders, and self-consciousness present in gay men alludes to a protective function similar to heterosexual women, as described by Daniel & Bridges (2010) from article 1. Gay men and heterosexual women will constantly become obsessed with their body image and body surveillance, resulting in eating disorders since they seek to peace themselves from the societal pressures and harassment they face.
Objectification constructs such as internalized attractiveness standards and a minority stress element such as internalized heterosexism are responsible for men’s heightened intention to use anabolic-androgenic steroids and the engagement in constant exercise among minority men. According to Brewster et al. (2017), physical appearance forms one of the most significant elements of the sexual objectification theory in minority men, and it alludes to the applicability of the objectification theory. Minority men are susceptible to body objectification similar to women since they are subject to the male gaze like women. The heightened consciousness in minority men results in them being cautious regarding gaining weight, and this element results in them often engaging in constant exercise and the heavy use of anabolic-androgenic steroids. Additionally, according to the minority stress theory, minority men will strive to achieve an ideal male body through anabolic steroids and compulsive exercise to offset the societal devaluation regarding their lack of internalized masculinity. The study hypothesized that internalized heterosexism strongly relates to outcome variables such as body dissatisfaction that drives the need for muscularity, body dissatisfaction, and compulsive exercise. The study used surveys for its 326 participants, and the outcome from the methods entailed small positive associations between internalized attractiveness standards and internalized heterosexism, with internalized heterosexism depicting minimal correlation to the quest for muscularity. These variables were the measures used by the study, and they helped show how men’s prevalence to exercise, and anabolic steroids yielded positive associations with men’s body consciousness. Also, there study revealed a deviation from the objective theory’s application to women, which is due to men’s focus on muscle-leanness contrary to women’s concern with thinness regarding body consciousness. Further, this study implies that there needs to be more research that entails measures that are unique to the experiences of minority men since elements such as stigma and prejudicial events need consideration regarding their impact on minority men’s experiences.
Men’s internalization of ideal body image standards is due to family, peers, and mass media, and these factors contribute to body image dissatisfaction, eating disorders, and a constant strive to achieve ideal muscularity standards by minority men. According to Frederick et al. (2022), the tripartite model of body dissatisfaction is also applicable to men since it describes how men’s internalization of the cultural messages and pressures related to appearance results in them developing body image issues and dissatisfaction. The tripartite model is similar to the objectification model discussed earlier by Daniel & Bridges (2010) from article 1, and it results in men seeking to achieve lean muscular appearances and the constant need for exercise. The article’s hypothesis is to test an expanded model of the tripartite theory that entails body consciousness among many men, including minority men. The hypothesis entailed assessing the body image, life quality, as well as positive appearance evaluation and their relation to BMI. The study entailed participants answering text box questions, appearance assessment questions, face satisfaction, and overweight preoccupation questions. Further, the article’s findings showed links between family pressures to higher lean-ideal internalization with peer and media pressure linked to lean and muscular ideal internalization. The study’s measures entailed metrics such as appearance evaluation scale, body image quality, and body mass index. These measures aid in showing how the tripartite model variables such as peers, family, and mass media contribute to the higher BMI men have higher rates of body image and consciousness levels. In addition, findings from the article revealed that higher body consciousness was associated with media appearance, poor body image perception as well as poor self-evaluation. In addition, the study revealed that body surveillance strongly relates to poor body image, life quality, and lower appearance among high BMI men. Also, lean-body ideal internalization had strong links to lower appearance evaluation for high BMI men than those with low BMI. These findings imply that men with high BMI will have lower appearance evaluation due to lean ideal internalization. Therefore, such men will consistently exercise to achieve the lean ideal.
In conclusion, body objectification among sexual minority men entails various elements such as internalized standards of attractiveness, the societal definition of attractiveness, internalized heterosexism, and social factors such as peers, media, and family. As discussed, the objectification theory plays a small role in the definition and quest for ideal muscularity definition of body standards(Daniel & Bridges,2010). The article asserts that both minority and heterosexual men do not get affected by the westernized culture and definition of the ideal male body. However, the objectivity theory applies to minority men more since they have higher body consciousness issues due to factors such as childhood harassment due to gender nonconformity which is exclusive to them and not the entire male demographic. Further, the paper also discusses the body surveillance issues among minority men and the theory’s relation to compulsive exercises. The study found that minority men will often engage in compulsive exercise and engage in anabolic androgen steroid use to internalize heterosexism and internalized attractiveness standards of the male body. The paper also discusses the tripartite model’s applicability to men, and it describes the role of peers, family, and mass media in the internalization of ideal male body standards and their effects(Frederick et al., 2022). Minority men and men, in general, will often exercise in the pursuit of ideal male body standards created by their peers, their families, and mass media. The result is that men internalize the lean-muscular physique and engage in constant exercise to achieve it.
Brewster, M. E., Sandil, R., DeBlaere, C., Breslow, A., & Eklund, A. (2017). “Do you even lift, bro?” Minority stress, objectification, and body image concerns for sexual minority men. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 18(2), 87.
Daniel, S., & Bridges, S. K. (2010). The muscularity drive in men: Media influences and objectification theory. Body image, 7(1), 32-38.
Frederick, D. A., Tylka, T. L., Rodgers, R. F., Pennesi, J. L., Convertino, L., Parent, M. C., … & Murray, S. B. (2022). Pathways from sociocultural and objectification construct to body satisfaction among women: The US Body Project I. Body Image, 41, 195-208.
Wiseman, M. C., & Moradi, B. (2010). Body image issues and eating disorder symptoms in sexual minority men: A test and extension of objectification theory. Journal of Counseling Psychology, 57(2), 154.