Bernard, P., S.J. Gervais, J. Allen, A. Delmee, and O. Klein. 2015. “From Sex Objects to Human Beings: Masking Sexual Body Parts and Humanization as Moderators to Women’s Objectification.”

Bernard, Philippe, Sarah J. Gervais, Jill Allen, Alice Delmée, and Olivier Klein. 2015. “From Sex Objects to Human Beings: Masking Sexual Body Parts and Humanization as Moderators to Women’s Objectification.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 39(4): 432-446.

Add-in: several forms of identified objectification beyond sexual objectification: 1) instrumentality – separating function from person (Gruenfeld et al 2008; Kant 1797 — yeah); 2) appearance-focus  separates superficial (often physical) aspects from person and personality (Heflick and Goldenberg 2009; Langton 2009); and 3) sexual objectification – separating sexual body parts from body (Bartky 1990; Gervais, Vescio, Maass et a 2012; Langton 2009).

Supports recent research (per Bernard, Gervais, Allen, Campomizzi, and Klein 2012; Gervais, Vesio, Maass, Forster and Suitner 2012). that notes that (sexualized) female bodies are objectified at a cognitive level – even with barriers to cognition (like image inversion).  Men’s bodies elicited more configural (holistically, as a gestalt) processing and less objectification than women’s fragmented or body-part-focused bodies.

Objectification theory of Frederickson and Roberts (1997) notes that “women in Western cultures are more often sexually objectified in the media and interpersonal interactions as well as reduced to a body, or body arts, available for satisfying the sexual needs and desires of other people (rather than a person with thoughts, feelings, desires, and needs” (432, see also Bartky 1990).

Promoted by media representations – Lindner (2004) notes that approximately half of magazine ads sexually objectify women (see also Stankiewicz and Roselli 2008), notably in fashion magazines and those directed toward men (Baker 2005; S+R 2008). When viewing sexualized female bodies, viewers tend to attribute less intelligence to the objectified person (Gurung and Chrouser 2007; Loughnan et al 2010), and may extend to associating objectified females with animal rather than human characteristics/concepts (Vaes, Paladino and Purvia 2011).  Additionally, men who categorize women as animals (dehumanization) express more negative attitudes toward women, including proclivity to rape (Rudman and Mescher 2012)— kx^ but in the animistic and carnivalesque atmosphere, the adoption of “animal” costuming is subculturally normative — how may this potentially play into the dehumanization of festival women — when they are purposefully taking on non-human traits? “This dehumanized social perception may have detrimental consequences on attitudes and behaviors toward women, including sexual coercion, assault, and violence” (433, see also Gervais, DiLillo, and McChargue 2014; Rudman and Mescher 2012) – contributes to victim-blaming (Loughnan, Pina, Vasquez, and Puvia 2013).  However, when encouraged to consider the personhood of sexualized women, research participants were more likely to attribute them with more competence, human-associated traits (rather than objects – see Loughnan and Haslam 2007), morality and kindness (Heflick et al 2011). Similar encouragements upon male bodies did not result in increased scores of competence, morality, humanity.  Thus, “highlighting women’s academic or physical competence is likely decrease perceived objectification and to increase perceived capability” (here 435, see also Johnson and Gurung 2011).  Also, when personhood-focus is encouraged of viewers, they tend to dwell more on faces, rather than sexualized body parts – here, of women (Gervais et al 2013).

Results – amongst others – people focus more attention on female body parts than male, when recognizing bodies (supports work of Gervais, Vescio, Maass et al 2012) – however, when these body parts are masked, viewers look more holistically at women, promoting less objectification – a trend not similarly supported in viewing men’s bodies. In other experiments with inversion, masking, etc. – suggests the analytic focus on viewing sexualized female bodies is driven by viewers’ focus on sexualized body parts.  When run with similar prompts attempting to humanize the sexualized images, viewers tended to view bodies in a more holistic (configurative) way, rather than objectifying (analytical) manner. Regardless of sexualization, viewers tended toward holistic viewing of men’s bodies.

Masking of sexualized body parts and humanization prompts promote less objectification of female images. “[…] sexy women are not doomed to be perceived as objects.  Interventions that train perceivers not to focus on women’s body parts but rather to actively seek individuating and humanizing information about their internal states (e.g., their thoughts, feelings, goals, and desires) could serve to counteract the cognitive objectification of women” (443).

 

CITES

Baker, C.N. 2005. “Images of Women’s Sexuality in Advertisements: A Content Analysis of Black- and White-oriented Women’s and Men’s Magazines.” Sex Roles 52 (X):725-735.

Bartky, S.L. 1990. Femininity and Domination: Studies in the Phenomenology of Oppression. New York: Routledge.

Bernard, P., S. Gervais, J. Allen, J. Campomizzi, and O. Klein. 2012. “Integrating Sexual Objectification with Object versus Person Recognition: The Sexualized Body-Inversion Hypothesis. Psychological Science 23: 469-471.

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

Gervais, S.J., P. Bernard, J. Aen, and O. Klein.  “Toward a Unified Theory of Objectification and Dehumanization.” Pp. 1-23 in 60th Nebraska Symposium on Motivation: Objectification and (De)Humanization, edited by S.J. Gervais. New York: Springer.

Gervais, S.J., D. DiLillo, and D. McChargue. 2014. “Understanding the Link between Men’s Alcohol Use and Sexual Violence Perpetration: The Mediating Role of Sexual Objectification. Psychology of Violence 4: 159-169.

Gervais, S.J., T.K. Vescio, A. Maass, J. Forster, and C. Suitner. 2012. “Seeing Women as Objects: The Sexual Body Part Recognition Bias. European Journal of Social Psychology 42: 743-553.

Gruenfeld, D.H., M.E. Inesi, J.C. Magee, and A.D. Galinsky. 2008. “Power and the Objectification of Social Targets.” Journal of Personality and Social Psychology 95: 111-127.

Gurung, R.A.R. and C.J. Chrouser. 2007. “Predicting Objectification: Do Provocative Clothing and Observers Characteristics Matter?” Sex Roles 57(X): 91-99.

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.

Heflick, N.A., J.L. Goldenberg, D.P. Cooper, and E. Puvia. 2011. “From Women to Objects: Appearance Focus, Target Gender, and Perceptions of Warmth, Morality, and Competence.” Journal of Experimental Social Psychology 47: 572-581.

Johnson, V. and R.A. Gurung. 2011. “Defusing the Objectification of Women by Other Women: The Role of Competence.” Sex Roles 65: 177-188.

Kant, I. 1797. Lectures on Ethics. New York: Harper and Row.

Langton, R. 2009. Sexual Solipsism: Philosophical Essays on Pornography and Objectification. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press.

Lindner, K. 2004. “Images of Women in General Interest and Fashion Magazine Advertisements from 1955 to 2002.” Sex Roles 51: 409-421.

Loughnan, S. and N. Haslam. 2007. “Animals and Androids: Implicit Associations between Social Categories and Nonhumans.” Psychological Science 18: 116-121.

Loughnan, S., N. Haslam, T. Murnane, J. Vaes, C. Reynolds, and C. Suitner. 2010. “Objectificaiton Leads to Depersonalization: The Denial of Mind and Moral Concern to Objectified Others.” European Journal of Social Psychology 40: 709-717.

Loughnan, S., A. Pina, E.A. Vasquez, and E. Puvia. 2013. “Sexual Objectification Increases Rape Victim Blame and Decreases Perceived Suffering.” Psychology of Women Quarterly 37(X): 451-461.

Rudman, L.A. and K. Mescher. 2012. “Of Animals and Objects: Men’s Implicit Dehumanization of Women and Likelihood of Sexual Aggression.” Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin 38: 734-746.

Stankiewicz, J.M. and F. Roselli. 2008. “Women as Sex Objects and Victims in Print Advertisements.” Sex Roles 58: 579-589.

Vaes, J., M.P. Paladino and E. Puvia. 2011. “Are Sexualized Females Complete Human Beings?  Why Males and Females Dehumanize Sexually Objectified Women.”  European Journal of Social Psychology 41: 774-785.

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