Gender Differences in the Experience of Body Awareness: An Experiential Sampling Study
Employing experiential sampling methodology, the body awareness of 40 males and 40 females were monitored during a two-day period. When females were attentive to their bodies the feelings they experienced were more negative than were those of males, and this awareness was more likely to be directed toward specific body parts or functions rather than to the body as a whole. Males and females did not differ in their degree of body awareness or in the importance of this awareness, but males' degree of body awareness was positively related to body esteem, while females' body experience was positively related to beliefs about the importance of physical criteria in judging their attractiveness. In contrast to females, the more positively males evaluated their body dimensions, the more important they believed those dimensions were in determining their attractiveness. Results are discussed in terms of the greater social pressures exerted on women to meet attractiveness standards.