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research finds that both men and women perceive sexualized women as lacking in certain human qualities such as mental capacity and moral status. The mechanism underlying this effect, however, is unclear. The present two studies test how appearance-based judgements affect the degree to which a broad sample of women are objectified.
We analyzed associations between these dimensions of objectification and the averaged appearance-based perceptions from Study 1. We find that women perceived as more open to casual sex are attributed less mental capacity and less moral status. We also find that participants tend to associate attractiveness with greater mental and moral status in women, but we find only limited evidence that perceived age influences objectification.
The viewing of another person as an instrument to be used for sexual goals is known as objectification [ 12 ]. Recent evidence shows that the learned automatic response to objectify women has become culturally ingrained to Beautiful older ladies looking casual sex Independence a great extent that choosing not to objectify women depletes self-regulatory resources and decreases performance in cognitive tasks [ 3 ]. In support of this notion, one Australian study on a sample of 81 women found that over one week, each woman reported being targeted for objectification between 3 to 4 times on average and witnessing sexual objectification of other women 9 to 10 times on average [ 4 ].
Objectification becomes especially harmful if women internalize these judgements and self-objectify, or consider themselves first as bodies over other personal characteristics [ 1 ]. This can lead to negative consequences including heightened body-shame [ 5 ] and greater unwillingness to speak in social interactions [ 67 ]. Women who are objectified are viewed as less than fully human, perceived to have less of a mind for thoughts or decisions and viewed as less deserving of moral treatment by others [ 8 ].
Furthermore, some women are objectified more than others: Women who appear sexualized e. In the current study, we investigate how appearance-based interpersonal perceptions of women affect objectification. Viewing another person as an object, or less than fully human, is fundamentally an act of denying that a person has mental abilities and moral status [ 216 ]. research shows that when thinking about the mind of another person, people perceive them using two dimensions: mental agency and mental experience [ 17 ].
A person viewed as having mental agency is seen as able to think, plan, or act on their intentions, whereas a person perceived to have mental experience is seen as able to feel or sense emotional and physical pain. A person seen as having moral agency is viewed as able to commit or be responsible for good or bad deeds, whereas a person perceived to have moral patiency is seen as able to feel or be sensitive to good or bad deeds.
In other words, a person viewed as lacking in both agency and experience is objectified [ 10 ], though the relationship between agency and experience may be more dyadic and complex in nature [ 21 ]. Perceiving a person as lacking in mental capacity and moral status can alter the attitudes and behaviors of the perceiver and cause negative consequences for the targeted individual.
For example, perceivers are more willing to inflict pain on individuals they perceived to possess less moral patiency [ 1018 ]. More broadly, the process of denying human qualities of mind and morality is related to many types of prejudices, including racial discrimination [ 2223 ], reduced empathy for medical patients [ 24 ], and negative stereotypes towards people within lower social classes [ 25 ]. More specifically for women, evidence shows sexualized women are viewed as lacking in both mental and moral capacity, and as a result, they are seen as less competent [ 1026 ], less human [ 26 ] and perceived to suffer less in sexual assault [ 11 ].
Thus, objectification manifested as the denial of mental and moral capacity can negatively affect how targeted individuals, including women, are viewed and treated. This relationship between body focus and objectification has been demonstrated through multiple lines of research including cognitive [ 2728 ], visual processing e.
However, men and women do not objectify women equally, and may not do so for the same reasons [ 31 ] or even in the same way [ 32 ].
Objectification is regularly discussed as the consequence of sexual goals by men [ 113 ] even though objectifying women has been found to be a behavior not exclusively committed by men, but also by women e. All three of these reasons are related to the notion that male sex goal activation and female competition increase objectification, as we explain below. Both men and women objectify women [ 391013 — 1533 — 35 ]. One possible explanation as to why women, and primarily sexualized women, are objectified relates to negative attitudes some people hold towards promiscuity.
Women who are perceived as more sexually open are found to be more vulnerable to sexual aggression due to lower perceived mental agency [ 9 ]. Evidence also suggests that women who perceive sexualized women as less human Beautiful older ladies looking casual sex Independence these women as part of a subcategory from which they wish to distance themselves, similar to how an in-group views members of an out-group as less human [ 3138 — 40 ].
Women may desire distance from sexualized women not only because they are perceived to perpetuate objectification [ 3139 ], but because they are assumed to be sexually unrestricted. Evidence shows that individuals who are interested in a restricted sexual lifestyle may increase their support for institutions and laws which prevent others from behaving promiscuously, as a way to protect their own personal long-term relationships [ 41 — 44 ].
For men, opposition to promiscuity may be associated with a desire to limit their uncertainty about paternity [ 4546 ]. Given that both men and women frequently interpret revealing attire as a cue of promiscuous behaviour, even though this cue is inaccurate [ 48 ], people who oppose promiscuity may objectify sexualized women because they believe sexualized women are more likely to pursue casual sex. Appearance is an influential aspect of many social judgments and biases, including perceived personality traits [ 49 ] and professional success [ 50 — 52 ].
Additionally, for women, attractive appearance is important when pursuing romantic partners [ 53 — 55 ]. However, across all societies, men generally are more interested than women in pursuing short-term relationships [ 56 ]. Thus, men may be more likely to judge women who are more attractive in relation to their own short-term sexual goals [ 57 ]. For example, men but not women who completed a sex goal activation task focused more on attractiveness than competence when asked to choose a partner to complete a mathematical test with [ 31 ].
As a consequence, attractive women may be more susceptible to being perceived by men as an object regardless of whether these women are receptive to sexual advances. As a result, a negative bias towards attractive individuals can emerge between same-sex individuals [ 59 ]. For example, women and men perceive achievements of attractive same-sex individuals as more due to luck rather than intentions, whereas the same did not hold for the achievements of unattractive individuals [ 60 ]. Perceived intentionality is one facet of mental agency [ 17 ], suggesting that this negative attractiveness bias may also lead people to view others of the same-sex as having less of a mind if more attractive.
Denying mind to other women could also be useful for preventing ego-depletion when comparing oneself to more successful or desirable women [ 61 ]. Thus, women may mentally perceive attractive women as more object-like as an intra-competitive response. Evidence suggests that, all else being equal, men prefer younger women, particularly women in their early twenties, as sexual partners [ 5362 ]. There are many reasons for this finding. From a biological perspective, younger women are more fertile and have more of their reproductive careers ahead of them [ 63 ].
Thus, we might find younger women to be objectified more often due to sex goal activation associated with greater fertility. If women are objectified due to perceptions of fertility, we would expect to see women who are both attractive and young objectified most by men. Powerful individuals perceive subordinates as less human [ 6465 ], power increases expectations of sexual interest from a subordinate [ 66 ], and individuals primed to feel more powerful objectified sexualized women more than low-power individuals [ 67 ].
For these reasons, younger women may be more likely to be objectified than older women. Despite a large amount of evidence showing that women are objectified, which appearance-based interpersonal judgements lead to greater objectification remains unclear. In the present research we investigate three novel cues that we argue may influence the objectification of women.
In Study 1, men and women rated a large, diverse sample of 56 photographs of women on three characteristics: perceived sexual intent, perceived attractiveness, and perceived age. In Study 2, the same photographs of women were rated by a separate group of participants on questions relating to mental and moral agency and mental and moral patiency. Using mixed model regression, we analyze the interpersonal perceptions most associated with objectification. We aim to understand which perceptions of women drive objectification and the degree to which objectification differs between male and female perceivers.
Included as covariates in our analyses are three measures of participant individual difference that may drive objectifying judgements: sociosexuality, mate value, and perceived female economic dependence. We included this covariate to test whether women are objectified more often if they are perceived to threaten other women as romantic competitors. Perceived female economic dependence refers to how much a participant believes that women around them depend on men for economic support.
We included this variable to test whether participants who perceive the women around them to depend financially on men may also perceive women to have less mental and moral status, due in part to greater anti-promiscuity attitudes. Our experiment utilizes a de comparing a large and wide-ranging of images of women in order to increase the scale, ecological validity, and robustness of our. Evidence suggests that controlled laboratory experiments often unreliably correlate to real-world effects [ 69 ] due to the difficulty of translating between specific paradigmatic settings in controlled scenarios and more variable external settings of the real-world [ 70 ].
In the context of this experiment, humans are shown to simultaneously evaluate multiple types of emotional and physical information from faces and bodies together [ 71 — 73 ] and use social comparisons when evaluating themselves and others [ 7475 ]. This finding suggests that although comparing highly controlled stimuli that differ only in specific targeted traits are essential for understanding fine-scale effects, these may not translate to real-world circumstances.
By presenting stimuli that vary on a continuous rather than categorical spectrum we increase the scale of our experiment to ameliorate these issues. This study comprises two experiments performed on the same set of 56 images of women. Ethics for Study 1 and Study 2 was reviewed and approved by the University of New South Wales, Sydney human ethics committee HREAP and all participants gave their informed consent to participate in Beautiful older ladies looking casual sex Independence experiment.
A total of 56 photographs of different women were used as target images from freedigitalphotos. Each picture depicted one full-body image of one woman photographed in front of a white background. All 56 images of target women can be found in the Supplementary Material. Images of target women were selected to vary in style of clothing, amount of clothing, and age. Additionally, target women ranged in weight, from thin to overweight.
Clothing type varied from casual attire to work attire, and no target women wore religious garments.
Clothing ranged from low-coverage e. Clothing also varied in color and fit. Images of target women ranged in pose, but in all images the face and body were fully visible. Study 1 investigated differences between target women on perceived likeliness to have casual sex, perceived attractiveness and perceived age. The majority of participants resided in the USA Participants identified as mainly heterosexual Each participant was randomly ased to answer four out of five possible questions about 28 images out of 56 possible images of target women.
Participants answered 1 question about 7 target women, displayed individually and successively. Then participants proceeded to answer the next question about another 7 target women, again displayed one at a time, until 4 questions were answered about 28 total target women; 7 answers for each question and 1 rating per target women.
Questions and target woman images were randomly selected for each participant. Only 1 target woman image and 1 question were displayed to participants at any time, and no participant rated the same target woman more than once about any question. Although this de was complex, we followed it because we wanted participants to rate a large of women, but we also aimed to reduce mental fatigue and task disengagement [ 7677 ].
On average, See Supplementary Materials for full list of participant s that rated each target woman on each question. Perceived intention to pursue casual sex was measured using a brief three-item version of the Revised Sociosexual Orientation Inventory [ 4880 ]. Due to our single-item random-allocation study de, participants did not answer all three items about each target woman they rated which prevented us from calculating a measure reliability score between items. However, these items have been repeatedly shown to reliably measure sociosexual orientation [ 48568182 ], so we combined average scores of each question to create one overall rating of perceived sexual intent to pursue casual sex for each target woman Table 1.
Participant ratings of perceived age and attractiveness were also averaged to create a mean score of perceived age and perceived attractiveness for each target woman Table 1. Correlations of predictor variables can be found in Table 2. Note: Not all participants rated all measures about every target woman, so reported correlations were calculated from average participant ratings of each target woman.
Therefore, Beautiful older ladies looking casual sex Independence correlations, p values and degrees of freedom could not be calculated and are not reported. Models included each predictor variable item as the dependent variable, sex of the participant and target woman identity as fixed effects, and participant identity as a random effect. Because participants answered a unique subset of items, we were not able to test differences in ratings between men and women using the combined score of perceived sexual intent items and thus tested each item individually.
Ratings of item three of the perceived sexual intent measure and perceived age of target women did not differ between male and female raters. Agentic perceptions were measured using four items. Two items were selected to assess the mental agency of each target woman [ 17 ] and two items were selected to assess the moral agency of each target woman [ 84 ].
Due to the overlap of some items with both mental agency and moral agency concepts, all four items are considered representative of broader perceptions of overall agency and will be collectively referred to as perceptions of agency. Patiency perceptions were measured using four items. Two items were selected to assess the mental experience of each target woman [ 17 ] and two items were selected to assess the moral patiency of each target woman [ 84 ].
Due to the overlap of some items with both mental experience and moral patiency concepts, all four Beautiful older ladies looking casual sex Independence are considered representative of broader perceptions of overall patiency and will be collectively referred to as perceptions of patiency. Participants next completed a shortened two-item version of the Perceived Female Economic Dependence Scale [ 46 ].
Participants are asked to rate to what extent they believe that the women in their community rely on their male partner for financial income. Participants answer nine questions to assess their behaviours, attitudes and desires about extramarital and casual sex using a 9-point Likert scale.
Self-perceived mate value for each participant was assessed using the Mate Value Scale [ 85 ]. The Mate Value Scale is a four-item scale where participants rate themselves on how desirable they believe they are as a partner on a 7-item Likert scale.
Participants were first instructed to answer demographic questions and all individual difference measures. Participants were then provided instructions about the structure of the survey and that they would be answering a total of 4 questions about 28 images of target women. Please look at each model and try to answer honestly, remembering that this entire survey is anonymous. After completing the questionnaire, participants were supplied a debriefing about the nature of the experiment.
This approach reduces the risk of exhaustion effects within participants. See Supplementary Materials for a full list of participant s that rated each target woman on each question. We conducted eight separate general mixed linear regression models using the lme4 R package [ 86 ] see Table 3 for measure items to determine whether specific perceived target woman traits explain variation in mind and moral attribution See Supplementary Material for correlations between dimension items.
In order to not overburden participants, and inure them to the questions being asked, each participant answered only a subset of the possible questions about each of the target women that were ased to them at random. The limitation of this approach is that items cannot be combined to reduce dimensionality, to form overall indices of each construct, or to conduct multivariate tests. As a result, eight different models were necessary. The final eight models included sex of the participantperceived intent to pursue casual sex of the target womanperceived attractiveness of the target womanperceived age of the target woman and the interactions between participant sex and each predictor variable from Study 1.
We first ran a Likelihood Ratio Test to determine which predictor variables and interactions best predicted objectification ratings and to avoid overfitting our models see Table 4. The baseline model included only Target woman and participant identity as random effects. Participant SOI, perceived female economic dependence and mate value are included in each model as covariates.Beautiful older ladies looking casual sex Independence
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