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Pers Soc Psychol Bull. 2014 Aug;40(8):1063-1075. Epub 2014 May 19.

Men in the Mirror: The Role of Men's Body Shame in Sexual Aggression.

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Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA
Rutgers University, Piscataway, NJ, USA.


Because research on body shame has predominantly focused on women, the consequences of male body shame for gender relations have been under-investigated. Following up on preliminary findings suggesting that men high on body shame were hostile toward women, in two experiments, we uniquely observed that body shame predisposes men to sexual aggression when they react negatively to masculinity threats. In Experiment 1, men rejected by a female confederate for being unattractive showed rape proclivity to the extent they were high on both body shame and post-rejection negative affect. In Experiment 2, the same pattern emerged on the part of men rejected by a female (but not a male) confederate for ostensibly being gay. In concert, the findings suggest that men's body shame is an overlooked factor in sexual aggression, which has implications for extant rape theories and precarious manhood theory.


body image; body shame; gender identity threat; sex discrimination; sexual aggression


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