Self-Objectification and Depression

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Self-Objectification and Depression Cherish Burtson University of California, Santa Cruz Psychology of Women’s Lives Shelley Grabe Self-objectification and Depression Depression is a serious problem plaguing around one in five American women today, at twice the rates of men (Depression in women: Understanding the gender gap, 2013). Many psychologists interested in women’s issues have found that one major cause of this depression epidemic could be self-objectification (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). Western culture objectifies the female body and the media projects images of women as objects made up of sexual parts. Because of this, women internalize these pressures and view themselves from the observer’s perspective as objects, which lead to body shame, restrained eating, sexual dysfunction, and depression. This has devastating effects because it leaves women in a constant state of self-surveillance, and causes a splitting of self between the subjective self and the self as an object (Crawford, 2011). Since depression rates are rapidly increasing and leading to dangerous outcomes like suicide or eating disorders, research and assistance are needed to address the psychological distress caused by our culture that leads to such high depression rates in women. The purpose of this paper is to review evidence that supports the hypothesis that self-objectification plays a major role in the increasing rates of depression for women. Since depression is linked to self-objectification, it is important to explore the scope of depression in Western societies, how and when it arises, how it differs between females and males, and its relationship to body dissatisfaction. In adults, the female-to-male ratio of depression is 2:1 (Evans, 2011). Little to no gender differences in depression is found in children; however, a

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