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Our work adopted an intersectional approach to investigate how women’s racial identity may influence how they evaluate and are impacted by body-positive imagery of women on social media. In a 2 × 2 × 2 experiment (N = 975), we examined how source race (Black vs White) and sexualization (non-sexualized vs sexualized) in body-positive images affect Black and White viewers’ impressions of self-interest, moral appropriateness, and body positivity. Results indicated that viewers generally responded more favorably to non-sexualized (vs sexualized) images: Participants reported less self-interested motivations for sharing, found the images more morally appropriate, and believed they were more effective representations of body positivity. Results also revealed that Black (vs White) viewers tended to express more appreciation for body-positive imagery, regardless of source race or sexualization. Findings not only advance our theoretical understanding of sexual objectification with more diverse depictions and broader sampling, but also provide practical suggestions for advocates of the body-positive movement.


This is a pre-copy-editing, author-produced PDF of an article accepted for publication in New Media & Society in 2022 following peer review. This article may not exactly replicate the final published version. The definitive publisher-authenticated version is available online at

sj-pdf-1-nms-10.1177_14614448221143345.pdf (54 kB)
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