Year of Publication


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation


Arts and Sciences



First Advisor

Dr. Christia Spears Brown


The vast majority of media images present one idealized type of woman: she is thin, sexualized, and White. While research has shown that there are stereotypes associated with sexualized women, research has not addressed whether these stereotypes vary based on other characteristics such as body type and race. The current study aimed to examine the stereotypes associated with women who varied in body size, sexualization, and race. Additionally, the current study examined whether exposure to differing portrayals of women was related to endorsement of gender stereotypes and body dissatisfaction. College-aged students (n = 226, 161 women) rated four traits of women who varied in sexualization (sexualized clothing vs. non-sexualized clothing), body size (thin vs. plus-sized), and race (Black vs. White). Participants also completed measures of gender stereotype endorsement and body dissatisfaction. Results indicated that the descriptive stereotype about sexualized women is predominantly applied to thin women. However, body size appears to be the most salient characteristic through which women are stereotyped. Additionally, exposure to depictions of sexualized women was related to greater body dissatisfaction, particularly for women, and greater gender stereotype endorsement. The implications of these findings are discussed.

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)