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The Effect of Gender Dominance Portrayals and Media Type on Body Image

Coral Shuster, Haley O’Hara and McKenna Early
Ohio Northern University

Previous literature has demonstrated the impact of idealized images in the media, as well as the impact of women holding dominant and non-stereotypical positions in the workplace (Agliata & Tantleff-Dunn, 2004; Haslam, Hersby, & Bongiorno, 2011).  The present study examines the effects of gender dominance roles and media type on body image perceptions.  Common media sources of music videos and magazine advertisements displaying male dominance or female dominance, both as between-subjects factors, served as the manipulated variables.  Participants were recruited from a small university (28 male, 58 female) and assigned to one of four conditions.  Results of 2x2 ANOVAs revealed no significant change in body image as measured by Cash’s Multidimensional Body-Self Relations Questionnaire (MBSRQ) from either gender dominance or media type, p> .05.  Also no interaction was found between gender dominance and media type, p> .05.  The results of the present study imply that gender dominance and media type have no effect on body image perceptions of college students, perhaps as a result of desensitization to the stimuli (Hine, 2011).  Future research could investigate the effects of switching gender dominance roles on other aspects of an individual other than body image, such as mood or self-esteem.