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Susan Rarick


Objectification theory explains how media-driven ideals can be internalized and lead to the development of eating disorders, poor body image, depression, anxiety, a desire to achieve a thin ideal, and lowered rates of relationship satisfaction. Research on objectification theory, until recently, has focused primarily on a female population and heterosexual couples. As nontraditional sexual identities have become more accepted in society, media influences have begun to impact other populations, including the Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender community. The purpose of this study was to investigate the impact of these media-driven ideals on a gay male population and determine how objectification may lead to lower rates of relationship satisfaction. A multiple linear regression analysis was used in this study to determine if the predictor variables of self-objectification, partner-objectification, socioeconomic status, race/ethnicity, and education adequately predict the criterion variable of relationship satisfaction in a sample of 81 gay males. Results of the study support the theory that higher levels of reported objectification predicted relationship satisfaction. In other words, the more a gay male objectified himself, the less satisfied he was in romantic relationships. The findings of this study are significant because this is one of the first studies to investigate this topic among a gay male population. The results speak to the impact that media-driven messages can have on an individual, not only in terms of self-concept, but in terms of how those beliefs impact relationship satisfaction. In terms of positive social change, the results may allow for more education at younger ages to teach adolescents the impact of objectification.

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