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23-03-2018 | Empirical Research | Uitgave 7/2018

Journal of Youth and Adolescence 7/2018

How Social and Mass Media Relate to Youth’s Self-Sexualization: Taking a Cross-National Perspective on Rewarded Appearance Ideals

Tijdschrift:
Journal of Youth and Adolescence > Uitgave 7/2018
Auteurs:
Jolien Trekels, Kathrin Karsay, Steven Eggermont, Laura Vandenbosch

Abstract

Although media exposure has been related to cognitive preoccupation with appearance, research rarely investigated adolescents’ behavioral self-sexualization. To address this gap, the present study among 12- to 16-year-olds (N = 1527; 50.2% girls) in Austria, Belgium, Spain, and South-Korea (1) investigates whether different types of media use relate to self-sexualization, (2) explores the explanatory value of rewarded appearance ideals, and (3) considers culture and gender as moderating factors. Despite cultural variation, a general trend of increasing self-sexualization with social media use and magazine reading appeared across the countries. Moreover, women’s magazine reading and rewards were related to self-sexualization among all the girls across the countries, which suggests that girls may be more vulnerable to the examined effects. Overall, this study provides a better understanding of the unique contribution of specific media genres to youth’s self-sexualization and points at the importance of social media use in girls’ and boys’ engagement in sexualizing appearance behaviors across four countries.

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