A ccording to a new study published in Sex Roles , some women see an enragingly sexist ad using hot women to sell a hamburger as a rallying call. This is the first study to examine the relationship between viewing media that portrays women as sexual objects and the desire to seek collective action afterwards. A team of researchers led by Francesco Guizzo at the University of Padova in Italy asked 78 men and 81 women to watch three different television clips. The first clip was an advertisement where women were sexually objectified; the second was the same clip with commentary that explains why the footage is objectification; and the third was of a nature documentary that served as the control condition. The researchers found that after viewing the advertisement with commentary, the majority of the female participants recognized that women were in a disadvantaged position in society. These women also were more prone to want to take collective action against sexual objectification, such as attending protests and rallies.
Women as Sex Objects and Victims in Print Advertisements
Sex Object | The Gender Ads Project
Recent reports of a mountain lion or cougar stalking the campus of the University of Iowa prompted campus jokesters to tweet their surprise that Michelle Bachman was in town. A cougar, colloquially, is an attractive older woman who seeks out trysts with younger men, and to some, it seems that Bachmann fits the bill. This emphasis on appearance is nothing new for high-profile women who are anything but homely, and feminist scholars are quick to point out its potential detrimental effects on perceptions of female competence. There is a well-known tension between seeing someone as, and appreciating them for, a body as opposed to a mind. Science has backed parents up on this. A recent study found that showing men pictures of sexualized women evokes less activity in areas of the brain responsible for mental state attribution—that is, the area of the brain that becomes active when we think we are looking at an entity capable of thought and planned action. Other studies have found similar results.
How many times have you wondered what product a particular ad is trying to advertise? Quite often I believe. Logically there is no relation between naked women and beer, naked women and cars or naked women and organ donation.
You often hear the term "objectification" to describe media depictions of women, but it also comes from a less expected source: women themselves. Over the course of their lives, there are many subtle ways women are taught to view themselves as objects. This internalized objectification can lead to low self-respect, body image issues, and lack of awareness of one's own autonomy. While it may seem like objectification is something entirely separate from, say, wage inequality, it's really at the heart of a lot of feminist issues. If you look at misogyny in all its myriad forms, it usually comes back to the idea that women are objects, not subjects.