Weiner, R.L., S.J. Gervais, J. Allen, and A. Marquez. 2013. “Eye of the Beholder: Effects of Perspective and Sexual Objectification on Harassment Judgments.”

Weiner, Richard L., Sarah J. Gervais, Jill Allen, and Allissa Marquez. 2013. “Eye of the Beholder: Effects of Perspective and Sexual Objectification on Harassment Judgments.” Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 19 (2): 206-221.

Sexual objectification (within simulated work interview situations) resulted in poorer performance and greater negative emotional experiences of those objectified. Sexual harassment within workplaces must be “unwelcome, severe, and pervasive” (206) to abide by legal definitions – however, there are differences in how people experience harassment and those who witness it – and especially as understood/predicted/attempted prevention by legislative actors.

Objectifying gazes and complimentary remarks on appearance are subtle forms of social sexual conduct – ones that are more common than blatant forms (Gervais and Vescio 2007; Vescio, Gervais, Snyder, and Hoover 2005), though these two forms are frequently linked (Glick and Fiske 1996, 2001).  Women can experience negative consequences of objectifying remarks/gazes/experiences, even if these appear as neutral (benign) or even complimentary (Calogero, Herbozo, and Thompson 2009).

People tend to predict shorter coping periods in response to negative experiences for themselves than others (Igou 2008); however, college students (amongst other demographics?) tend to overanticipate the length or depth of their personal happiness/unhappiness in response to positive/negative experiences (such as the win/loss of their sport team) (Wilson et al 2000).


  • Mild sexual objectification gazes coupled with positive appearance comments had no negative impact on performance; in fact, there was a slight increase in mean performance scores of women interviewees (attributed to initial arousal, predicted to diminish as experiences increased in severity or endured longitudinally – AND, because they did not want to offend the male “interviewer,” or because they feared retribution in assignment in the form of an unfavorable task outcome – here, being assigned to a less-preferred lab task).
  • Those who observed the videos of the objectifying scenarios (particularly men?) were less likely to identify instances of harassment – attributed to their focus on events transpiring and overestimating the ability of the interviewee to cope with the harassment… kx^ could this be a significant factor in mediating the bystander effect?!
  • Those who “predict” instances of harassment (legislators, preventative programming) tend to more prominently identify harassments (as read on paper), not experiencing the viewership, but understanding transcribed situations. Thus, could programmers overpredict the personal impacts (and possibly pervasiveness) of sexual harassment?



Calogero, R., S. Herbozo, and K.Thompson. 2009. “Complimentary Weightism: The Potential Costs of Appearance-Related Comments for Women’s Self-Objectification.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 33:: 120-133.

Gervais, S.J. and T.K. Vescio. 2007. “The Origins and Consequences of Subtle Sexism.” Pp. 137-166 in Advances in Psychology Research, edited by A. Columbus. Hauppauge, NY: Nova Science Publishers.

Glick, P. and S. Fiske. 1996. “The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: Differentiating Hostile and Benevolent Sexism.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 70: 491-512.

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

Igou, E.R. 2008. “’How Long Will I Suffer?’ versus ‘How Long Will You Suffer?’ A Self-Other Effect in Affective Forecasting.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 95: 599-917.

Vescio, T.K., S.J. Gervais, M. Snyder, and A. Hoover. 2005. “Power and the Creation of Patronizing Environments: The Stereotype-Based Behaviors of the Powerful and their Effects on Female Performance in Masculine Domains.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 88: 658-672.

Wilson, T.D., T.P. Wheatley, J.M. Meyers, D.T. Gilbert, and D. Axsom. 2000. “Focalism: A Source of Durability Bias in Affective Forecasting.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 78: 821-836.


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