Master of Arts in Higher Education Theses

Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

First Advisor

Scott Moeschberger

Second Advisor

Skip Trudeau

Third Advisor

Drew Moser


From a young age, women face exposure to fat talk. Though many women tend to assume this normative way of communicating about the body as a helpful means of coping with body shame and dissatisfaction, past literature has created a strong case against this assumption. Fat talk plays a subtle role in the self-objectification process and poses a significant threat to the positive identity development of young women. Development of a feminist identity has demonstrated a capacity to positively disrupt the propensity for women to self-objectify. The current study explored the relationship between feminist identity development, fat talk, and self-objectification. The researcher administered a survey to women living in all-female residence halls at a small, faith-based Midwestern institution. The study found no relationship between feminist identity development, fat talk, and self-objectification, though there emerged a strong relationship between measures of fat talk and self-objectification. Interestingly, despite no positive or negative affect on measures of fat talk and self-objectification, the majority of participants agreed most strongly with items measuring later stages of feminist identity development.