Face consciousness among South Korean women: A culture-specific extension of objectification theory

Si Yeon Kim, Young Seok Seo, Keun Young Baek

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21 Citations (Scopus)


This study tested key tenets of objectification theory with South Korean women and explored the roles of sexually objectifying media and culture-specific standards of beauty in body image and eating disorder symptoms. Two pilot studies with South Korean college women (n = 40, n = 30) revealed that facial characteristics such as size and shape represent a discrete variable among culture-specific standards of beauty for South Korean women. Results with a sample of 562 South Korean college women indicated that media exposure had significant positive indirect relations with body shame and eating disorder symptoms through the mediating roles of internalization, body surveillance, and face surveillance. Internalization of cultural standards of beauty had significant positive direct relations with body surveillance and face surveillance and had both direct and indirect relations with body shame and eating disorder symptoms. Body and face surveillances had significant positive direct relations with body shame and had indirect relations with eating disorder symptoms. Finally, body shame mediated the links from internalization and surveillance variables to eating disorder symptoms. The results support the applicability of objectification theory as it relates to South Korean women and point to the significance of culture-specific standards of beauty within that framework. These findings could contribute to the broader field of multicultural body image research, with potential implications for therapist practices and training.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)24-36
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Counseling Psychology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2014 Jan 1


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Clinical Psychology
  • Psychiatry and Mental health

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