Study: Trying On Swimsuits Causes Self-Image Issues

Most women will be happy to tell anyone who will listen, it doesn’t take a study to know that trying on swimsuits causes self-image issues. It is traumatic to buy a new bathing suit. Going into a dressing room and looking at your body in a three way mirror that may be magnifying it, is one of the hardest things a woman can do. Now there is a study that documents just how real this trauma is. As a matter of fact, just thinking about trying on bathing suits puts women in a foul mood.

The study, which was conducted by researchers in Australia, was published in the journal Sex Roles which is according to their website, an interdisciplinary behavioral science journal offering a feminist perspective.

For the study, 102 female college students in South Australia where asked to visualize themselves under four different conditions. In the first two scenarios, they were asked to visualize themselves in a bathing suit first in a dressing room and then walking down the beach.

In the second set, they were in the same locations but they were wearing jeans and a sweater. Whenever the women thought of themselves in a bathing suit, not only did it put them in a bad mood, it made them feel objectified or thought of as an object, not a person.

The women who participated in the study were asked to fill out a questionnaire after their visualization exercises. Their results came as no surprise to anyone who has ever been in the real scenario. The questionnaires were designed to measure how the women felt about their bodies after having imagined trying on a bathing suit. Nemo / Pixabay

The women were much more likely to self-objectify when they had to look at their own body in the dressing room while on the beach, they were more concerned with what others thought about their body.

“The physical presence of observers is clearly not necessary,” researchers wrote. “More particularly, the dressing room of a clothing store contains a number of potentially objectifying features: mirrors, bright lighting, and the virtual demand that women engage in close evaluation of their body in evaluating how the clothes appear and fit.”

According to the author of the study, Marika Tiggeman, a psychologist at Australia’s Flinders University, “Self-objectification has a variety of negative consequences; always worrying about how you look, shame about the body, and [it] is linked to eating disorders and depression.” 

In conclusion, Tiggemann suggested that it might be less traumatic for woman if they took the focus off of their body by avoiding looking at it in the mirror or comparing themselves to others and instead concentrated on the physical activities that the clothes are intended for. In other words, get out there and swim, surf, sail and enjoy the outdoors and enjoy the functionality of your bathing suit instead of beating yourself up because your body isn’t perfect.

Sex Roles: A journal of Research

Photo credit: Pixabay bathing_suit_1426044461.png

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