Date of Award

Spring 2016

Thesis Type

Open Access

Degree Name

Honors Bachelor of Arts




Stacey Dunn

Committee Member

Alice Davidson

Committee Member

Emily Russell


The purpose of the current study was to explore the sexual objectification of mothers, with an emphasis on understanding women’s perceptions of and feelings about the commonly used term “hot mom” and how sociocultural appearance-related ideals and pressures may affect mothers and mothers-to-be. We hypothesized that feeling greater pressure to be a “hot mom” yet failing to meet standards of what a “hot mom” is would be related to higher levels of self-objectification, body dissatisfaction, appearance anxiety, and eating disturbance, as well as lower self-esteem and a more negative view of the concept itself. A total of 92 female participants between 25 and 65 years old (M=42.31, SD=7.62) completed an online survey that included measures of self-objectification, body image, anxiety, self-esteem, and eating behavior. Participants also completed a “hot mom” specific questionnaire regarding their views of what a “hot mom” is and how they feel about it. Participants’ definitions of “hot mom” focused primarily on physical appearance and mentality or psychological well-being. Feelings about the concept of “hot mom” were predominantly negative. Consistent with our hypotheses, wanting to be a “hot mom” was correlated with higher levels of eating disturbance and body surveillance, a central feature of self-objectification. In addition, feeling greater pressure from a spouse or romantic partner to be a “hot mom” was associated with lower self-esteem and increased appearance anxiety. The results are discussed in the context of the potential transformation from feminist liberation to detrimental sexual objectification in how we perceive mothers.

Rights Holder

Danae Nunez