You know how people say that men are ALWAYS objectifying women? Well, they are. However, women do it too. From their lips, nips and hips to their toe tips, a gal will eyeball a woman as collection of body parts nearly as readily as a man, per a new study published in Science Daily (originally in the European Journal of Social Psychology).
Evidently, there are two functions at work when gazing upon an object, whether animal, vegetable or mineral: One part of you sees the whole enchilada, and the other is more focused on the beans, tortilla and whatever else is smothered in that delicious mystery sauce. But when those enchiladas are hombres (dudes) and mujeres (ladies), focus is more gestalt in the former and specific in the latter. "Duh," right? Men are always treating objects like women [sic], right? Well, yeah, but women do it too.
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The study authors showed the test subjects pictures of fully clothed and normal-looking (not a 7.5 among them) people; then two photos, with one "sexual" body part digitally modified in some way. They were told to identify the modified image (i.e., a lady was given rounder breasts in the modified photo). A woman's sexual body parts were more recognizable when the photo was shown isolating that body part, BUT a man's sexy parts (you can see his "sense of humor" in a picture?) were easier to recognize when showing the whole man.
Scientists were excited because, and I'm paraphrasing, they only thought people objectified hot chicks, but this proves that we objectify all women. They were also amped that women do as much objectifying of women as men do. They could have proved that last point by watching Cinemax after 11 p.m.
Says Sarah Gervais, the study's lead author: "We can't just pin this on the men. Women are perceiving women this way, too," Gervais said. "It could be related to different motives. Men might be doing it because they're interested in potential mates, while women may do it as more of a comparison with themselves. But what we do know is that they're both doing it."
There is hope, however. Scientists, being a vague, secretive lot, say a "manipulation" in the mind can be made for men and women to view women as forests rather than trees: "Our findings suggest people fundamentally process women and men differently, but we are also showing that a very simple manipulation counteracts this effect, and perceivers can be prompted to see women globally, just as they do men," Gervais said.
So next time, instead of saying, "my eyes are up here, dude", try saying, "Hey! Unfocus your eyes for a sec and drink in the whole thing, sir."
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Do you think focusing on one body part necessarily means we're "objectifying"?
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