Calogero, R.M. 2013. “Objects Don’t Object: Evidence that Self-Objectification Disrupts Women’s Social Activism.”

Calogero, Rachel M. 2013. “Objects Don’t Object: Evidence That Self-Objectification Disrupts Women’s Social Activism.” Psychological Science 24(3): 312-318.

Greater self-objectification traits are related to support for status quo gender system and justification for inequality, as well as less gender-based social activism.

Women and girls as targeted more than boys and men in everyday sexually-objectifying treatment (American Psychological Association 2007, Murnen and Smolak 2000). Objectifying encounters happen in both public and private spaces that girls and women experience daily (Fairchild and Rudman 2008, Fredrickson and Roberts 1997, Murnen and Smolak 2000). Self-objectification as a psychological consequence of living in an objectifying culture (Fredrickson and Roberts 1997) – engaging in “observer” status, self-surveillance of the body, self, etc.

Objectifying gazes construct people as property of the observer. Heflick and Goldenberg 2009 – women as perceived to being more similar to objects and less human when their appearance is emphasized. Deprives women of power, agency (Nussbaum 1995), but also works as women construct their value in relation to men as sex objects. However, self-objectification may work to advantage some, as they gain positive or flattering feedback or treatment (Saguy, Tausch, Dovidio, and Pratto 2009). Objectified views of the sex encouraged by sexualized ideologies, work to reinforce traditional gender roles (Calogero and Jost 2011). Self-objectification renders women dependent on appearance rather than action – appearance used as social currency and tool of mobility (Fredrickson and Roberts 1997, Unger 1979).

Benevolent sexism linked to women’s acceptance of gender inequalities (Glick and Fiske 2001; Jackman 1994) and disengages women from collective action (Becker and Wright 2011).

“Women’s adoption of an objectified view of the self may be another way through which sexist ideology interferes with their taking the collective action necessary to improve social conditions and the relative status for women as a whole” (313).


American Psychological Association. 2007. Report of the APA Task Force on the Sexualization of Girls. Washington, DC.

Becker, J.C. and S.C. Wright. 2011. “Yet Another Dark Side of Chivalry: Benevolent Sexism Undermines and Hostile Sexism Motivates Collective Action for Social Change.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 101: 62-77.

Calogero, R.M. and J.T. Jost. 2011. “Self-Subjugation among Women: Exposure to Sexist Ideology, Self-Objectification, and the Protective Function of the Need to Avoid Closure.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 100: 211-228.

Fairchild, K. and L.A. Rudman. 2008. “Everyday Stranger Harassment and Women’s Objectification.” Social Justice Research 21: 338-357.

Fredrickson, B.L. and T.A. Roberts. 1997. “Objectification Theory: Toward Understanding Women’s Lived Experiences and Mental Health Risks.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 21: 173-206.

Glick, P. and S.T. Fiske. 2001. “An Ambivalent Alliance: Hostile and Benevolent Sexism as Complementary Justifications for Gender Inequality.” American Psychologist 56: 109-118.

Heflick, N.A. and J.L. Goldenberg. 2009. “Objectifying Sarah Palin: Evidence that Objectification Causes Women to Be Perceived as Less Competent and Less Fully Human.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 45: 598-601.

Jackman, M.R. 1994. The Velvet Glove: Paternalism and Conflict in Gender, Class, and Race Relations. Berkeley: University of California Press.

Murnen, S.K. and L. Smolak. 2000. “The Experience of Sexual Harassment among Grade-School Students: Early Socialization of Female Subordination?” Sex Roles 43: 1-17.

Nussbaum, M.C. 1995. “Objectification.” Philosophy and Public Affairs 24: 249-291.

Saguy, T., N. Tausch, J.F. Dovidio, and F. Pratto. 2009. “The Irony of Harmony: Positive Intergroup Contact Produces False Expectations for Equality.” Psychological Science 20: 114-121.


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