Although the negative effects of female body objectification are well established, there is a lack of qualitative research examining how women can develop resiliency against body image issues and low self-esteem. Through the current phenomenological qualitative study, we sought to explore how participants defined being a woman, particularly a woman with healthy self-esteem. In addition, we explored several resiliency strategies, based on Choate’s (2005) theoretical model of body image resilience, that women could potentially use to combat some of the effects of objectification. Results indicated that female participants experience normative beliefs and gender expectations that a woman with a healthy self-esteem should be able to defy. In addition, results indicated that the resiliency strategies of family support and holistic wellness could be the most beneficial in developing resistance against body image issues.


Body Image, Objectification, Self-Esteem, Resilience, Women

Author Bio(s)

Lauren L. McLean is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Adjunct Professor with the Department of Counseling at Sam Houston State University. Correspondence regarding this article can be addressed directly to: llm011@shsu.edu.

Amanda C. LaGuardia is a Licensed Professional Counselor-Supervisor, National Certified Counselor, and an Assistant Professor in the Department of Counseling at Sam Houston State University. Correspondence regarding this article can also be addressed directly to: alaguardia@shsu.edu.

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