Double standards in body evaluation? The influence of identification with body stimuli on ratings of attractiveness, body fat, and muscle mass

  • Mona M. VogesEmail author
  • Claire-Marie Giabbiconi
  • Benjamin Schöne
  • Manuel Waldorf
  • Andrea S. Hartmann
  • Silja Vocks
Original Article


Although it is well documented that women evaluate their own body differently from other bodies, it remains unclear whether this discrepancy is based on double standards because of identity or on objective differences between these bodies. The aim of this study was therefore to test whether women apply double standards depending on a body’s identity when evaluating the same bodies presented with different faces. Average-weight women (N = 104) rated body attractiveness, body fat, and muscle mass of thin, average-weight, overweight, athletic, and hypermuscular bodies with either another female’s face or their own face. With their own face, subjects rated overweight bodies as more unattractive, higher in body fat and lower in muscle mass than with another female’s face. However, for non-overweight bodies, body ratings did not differ depending on body identity. Based on the self-deprecating double standards for overweight bodies, a body-related identity bias might be considered in theoretical models of body image.

Level of evidence Level V, descriptive study.


Body evaluation Body attractiveness Identity Body image Self-deprecating bias Double standards 


Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

On behalf of all authors, the corresponding author states that there is no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All procedures performed in studies involving human participants were in accordance with the ethical standards of the institutional and/or national research committee and with the 1964 Helsinki declaration and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

Informed consent

Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

Data availability

The local ethics committee of the University Osnabrück stipulated that data must not be passed on to third parties. Therefore, data sharing is not applicable to this article.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mona M. Voges
    • 1
    Email author
  • Claire-Marie Giabbiconi
    • 1
  • Benjamin Schöne
    • 2
  • Manuel Waldorf
    • 1
  • Andrea S. Hartmann
    • 1
  • Silja Vocks
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Clinical Psychology and PsychotherapyOsnabrück UniversityOsnabrückGermany
  2. 2.Department of Experimental Psychology IOsnabrück UniversityOsnabrückGermany

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