So there IS some truth to those bikini blues: How just thinking about trying on a swimsuit darkens a woman's mood
22:33 GMT, 24 April 2012
For many women, the prospect of shopping for a swimming costume can
often prove terrifying.
Unflattering lighting and wall-to-wall mirrors hardly encourage women to feel enthusiastic about squeezing their as-yet untanned bodies into a revealing new outfit.
Now, a new study by an Australian university, has found that trying
on a swimsuit can indeed lead to the darkening of a woman’s
Depressing: A study conducted by an Australian university has found that trying on swimming costumes worsens a woman's mood
The research, which was conducted by psychologists at
Flinders University in South Australia, found that even thinking about trying on a swimsuit increases a woman's self-objectification, which refers to the act of viewing
oneself from an outside perspective.
It is more likely to dampen a mood than the act of actually wearing a new swimming costume.
The study, which was reported by the Today show, saw four written scenarios presented to 102 female
The scenarios, which were presented in random order, asked
women to imagine they were trying on a swimsuit, wearing a swimsuit while walking
along a beach, trying on a pair of jeans and sweater and wearing a pair of
jeans and sweater while walking down the beach.
The subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire designed
to measure their feelings about self-objectification as they focused on each of the
While imagining trying on a swimsuit was found to be the most mood-crushing scenario, it is often just the thought of simply being in one of those poorly-lit change rooms that tends to scare women.
'Clothes are controllable aspects of our
appearance, in a way that body size and shape are not'
The findings, which have been published in the May issue of Sex
Roles, a scientific journal, read: 'The dressing room of a clothing store
contains a number of potentially objectifying features: (often several)
mirrors, bright lighting and the virtual demand that women engage in close
evaluation of their body in evaluating how the clothes appear and fit.
'The physical presence of observers is clearly not necessary.'
Both swimsuit scenarios ranked as more negative experiences
than the jeans and sweater scenarios.
Marika Tiggemann, one of the study's researchers, explained the findings.
She said: 'We
wear and choose clothes every day. Clothes are controllable aspects of our
appearance, in a way that body size and shape are not.'
She also offered a small slice of advice to women on the hunt for a new pair
of swimming trunks as we roll into the warmer months: 'Avoid mirrors and comparisons with others.'