Date of Award

Spring 2018

Document Type

Thesis Restricted

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chairperson

Deanne Zotter, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Lauri Hyers, Ph.D.

Committee Member

Erin Hill, Ph.D.


Objectification theory, the idea that women’s bodies are under constant surveillance and objectified by others within society, has been used to study body image in women and girls (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997). More recently it has also been applied to men (Moradi, 2010). Objectification of men has been increasingly manifesting in America’s current patriarchal society due to a unipolar portrayal of masculine aesthetics (Parent & Moradi, 2011).

The present study will focus on collegiate men as a population through which to further research the internalization of the mesomorphic ideal and objectification theory. Qualitative and quantitative data were collected on 31 men who were recruited via an online survey service. Participants took an online survey that addressed perceived objectification, self-objectification, objectification from the media and/or in personal life, and body and/or muscle dissatisfaction.

The results indicated a discrepancy between the qualitative and quantitative data responses with regard to most research questions, which was attributed to the patriarchal expectation that men exhibit fewer emotions than women. The quantitative findings showed more than one-third of participants reported they were negatively impacted by the objectifying video shown and 41% reported feeling self-conscious as result of it. Additionally, high positive correlations between measures of self-objectification with behaviors and attitudes associated with a drive for muscularity were found in the sample. The qualitative findings support the idea that men internalize mesomorphic standards from society and, as a result of being objectified, are dissatisfied with their appearance, which results in them self-objectifying or using body-changing behaviors.