According to the researchers, trying on a swimsuit can indeed lead to the darkening of a woman’s mood.
The new study, which was conducted by psychologists at Flinders University in South Australia, found that even thinking about trying on a swimsuit increases a woman’s self-objectification, which refers to the act of viewing oneself from an outside perspective.
It is more likely to dampen a mood than the act of actually wearing a new swimming costume.
The study saw four written scenarios presented to 102 female Australian undergraduates.
The scenarios, which were presented in random order, asked women to imagine they were trying on a swimsuit, wearing a swimsuit while walking along a beach, trying on a pair of jeans and sweater and wearing a pair of jeans and sweater while walking down the beach.
The subjects were asked to fill out a questionnaire designed to measure their feelings about self-objectification as they focused on each of the scenarios.
While imagining trying on a swimsuit was found to be the most mood-crushing scenario, it is often just the thought of simply being in one of those poorly-lit change rooms that tends to scare women.
“The dressing room of a clothing store contains a number of potentially objectifying features: (often several) mirrors, bright lighting and the virtual demand that women engage in close evaluation of their body in evaluating how the clothes appear and fit,” the Daily Mail quoted the findings of the study as saying.
“The physical presence of observers is clearly not necessary,” it said.
Both swimsuit scenarios ranked as more negative experiences than the jeans and sweater scenarios.
“We wear and choose clothes every day. Clothes are controllable aspects of our appearance, in a way that body size and shape are not,” Marika Tiggemann, one of the study’s researchers, said.