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Scientific American - How our Brain turns Women into Objects

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posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:17 AM
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Scientific American


So, objectification might not lead to perceptions of women as inanimate objects but as different kinds of humans—ones that are capable of feeling but not thinking. To test this hypothesis Gray et al. presented participants with images of individuals and varied the amount of flesh shown in the pictures (the amount of “body focus”). In line with their hypothesis, seeing full bodies, as compared to just faces, caused ratings of agency to diminish but ratings of experience to increase. The same was true when naked bodies were compared with clothed bodies. Indeed, as the sexual suggestiveness of the images increased, perceptions of agency decreased and perceptions of experience increased accordingly.


As a graduated psychology major, I always find psychological studies fascinating - I even took the statistics and RDA (Research Design and Analysis) classes needed in order to know about how valid studies are made. So check this out, this study shows that men who see attractive women don't think the women are capable of thinking.

I want to point out, on a side note, that this could be a reason to date someone you are less attracted to. There is a higher probability, as a man, that you will treat them as an equal, and that will result in a better relationship.

So for people doing online dating - you might be better of messaging someone you don't find attractive. And this doesn't likely have to do with you being ugly - similar, well somewhat similar, studies have shown that people who are on the same level of attractiveness have more stable relationships.

In addition, studies by OkCupid showed that if you message someone you are less attracted to, you are more likely to get a response.

So keep that in mind.

The Atlantic: Study: The Objectification of Women is a Real, Measureable Phenomenon

Here is a second study.


HANS VILLARICAMAY 24 2012, 10:47 AM ET

Both male and female subjects in a recent experiment perceived near-naked men in sexualized ads as human beings, but could only see attractive women as objects.

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Philippe Bernard presented participants pictures of men and women in sexualized poses, wearing a swimsuit or underwear, one by one on a computer screen. Since pictures of people present a recognition problem when they're turned upside down, but images of objects don't have that problem, some of the photos were presented right side up and others upside down. After each picture, there was a second of black screen before each participant was shown two images and was asked to choose the one that matched the one he or she had just seen.

RESULTS: The male and female subjects matched the photos similarly. They recognized right-side-up men better than upside-down men, suggesting that they saw the sexualized men as persons. On the contrary, the women in underwear weren't any harder to recognize when they appeared upside down, indicating that the sexy women were consistently identified as objects.

CONCLUSION: People objectify women in sexualized photos, but not men.


In this study, it is shown that both men and women objectify women, especially attractive women. That means that they aren't treating them as something (ahem) someone with their own opinion and perspective - but as a tool, just like a hoe, rope or shovel.

I think, guys, this must be when relationships go downhill. That's why we all would be better off dating very manly Nordic women that can intimidate us. Aside from the jokes, I do find this to be a serious topic.

I think that women being treated as equals to men is something that needs to happen - and also something that a lot of us out there don't even understand the concept of - that means that we think women are equal to men, but that is no where near the case -

-----

For a few examples: I went over to a friend's house to play some cards, and he was an older man with a wife - and his wife was completely submissive, so much so that she would shake when talking to him and not give her opinion. When I treated her as an equal, she got suspicious.

In another case, I was dating a girl who was a Jehovah's Witness. When I would ask her her opinion on things, she would say things like "Why are you asking me?" or "Why do I get to decide?" and there was a whole culture of women being submissive slaves, essentially, entirely legal, in the U.S.

-----

If you don't think that is strange, think of it this way. A man or woman is only defined by their genitals. Any belief that women naturally think differently than men is sexist - but also hard to prove since the way we act based on our gender is forced into us by society.

My point is, even if you are a guy, imagine that you are forced into a female's body with the exact same thoughts - but you are not allowed to speak, you are only allowed to obey, you are not allowed to have an opinion -

On a broader note, think of a room-mate situation or maybe a wife of a similar nature.

-----

And I admit that I was naturally a sexist person (I didn't even realize it) - I have no idea why, but I'm thinking my parents or Disney movies - but I have been trying hard for around 5 years to get over it.

I think my mom is actually a butch lesbian and I'm not sure what's up with my dad he's eccentric.
edit on 06amMon, 06 Jan 2014 08:23:14 -0600kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)

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posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:35 AM
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reply to post by darkbake
 


Very interesting!! S/F!!

I, too, am fascinated by psychology, always have been, and I also took a class on Research and Statistics, so I'm ridin' your wave.


I think that men and women DO think differently than one another, and although I don't have it at my fingertips, I've read lots of abstracts and articles about research being done. I've even participated in research studies online (anyone can do it; it's fun).

I took part in one that was pretty simple: pictures of smiling men were shown - and the subject (I) was to make a snap judgment whether the guy was gay or straight. There were about 15 or 20 pics of guys. Very velveeta kind of guys, mostly, and all sort of "the same." The study asked me to "decide as fast as possible" (the response time was being recorded). None of them were attractive to me, save ONE, a guy with some crow's feet, a 2-day beard, a work-shirt, and a winning smile - an outdoor, rugged kind of guy; and he was the only one I was CERTAIN was straight. (Yummy,
. Still have his image in my mind).

Anyway, then, after making the snap judgment as to their sexuality, a set of questions was presented to indicate how "attractive" each one seemed, and whether or not the subject (I) would sleep with them, have a relationship with them, or have a child with them, even if they were gay.

Sorry for going off-topic, but it is kinda related: ALL but that one rugged guy were of guys who just looked BORING, all were office-groomed types, smiling into the camera like on-line dating pics would be.

Yawn.



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:36 AM
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Am I understanding that second study correctly... do both men and women view women as objects? I think that is an important distinction, if true. Men are often criticized for objectifying women, but women (apparently) do the same thing to fellow women.

While I feel capable of detaching myself and seeing a man as an object, that sort of attraction is very fleeting. I know at the top of my list of what attracts me to a man is intelligence. I'd cruise the physics departments in college.


My husband claimed a woman with brains was a wildly sexy thing...that's what he said when we were dating. He later admitted that physical attraction was actually most important in seeking a mate. But he didn't want to seem like (in his words) a "typical shallow jerk".
(He's the opposite of a shallow jerk, FYI.)

Very interesting post! Thank you for sharing this!



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:41 AM
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reply to post by darkbake
 


S&F. Very thought provoking study that makes one take a couple of steps back and reevaluate the way we function in society. Thanks for posting.
edit on 6-1-2014 by solongandgoodnight because: added and



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:43 AM
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darkbake

...On the contrary, the women in underwear weren't any harder to recognize when they appeared upside down, indicating that the sexy women were consistently identified as objects.

CONCLUSION: People objectify women in sexualized photos, but not men.


Re: the conclusion in the second study -- to quote Inigo Montoya -- "I do not think it means what you think it means." Aren't men...ahem...accustomed to seeing women upside down in underwear?

That said, it's an interesting study and a fascinating post. As (or so they say) an attractive woman with an actual brain, I'm all for non-objectification of women.



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:47 AM
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reply to post by darkbake
 


The brain of straight male domesticated apes is hard wired to want to worship the female form, hands on as it were, and this then stimulates a cascading hormonal/chemical response from the females, which continues to some natural conclusion or other. So it's no surprise that men have to bypass this biological set-up to appreciate the woman as a human with thoughts, which most learn to do fairly early in life. As the female form is the most beautiful thing men experience (again, this relates to straight brain response, but vica versa too) the more of it is presented the more they have those beauty hormones activated, and have to try more to listen. Men as a whole are learning though, so the best of both worlds is a good place to wander.

Added: And I remember reading a study years ago that most of men's sexually-related hormones are actually ones which control the urge to jump upon a female. Have you ever seen a male iguana in heat leap from a high place onto a female iguana for sex? it's a sight you can't forget, and since we are playing with an active and running reptilian brain-section in our craniums, and are primates instead of lizards, a part of our brain is always on the lookout for our equivalent of female iguanas.
edit on 6-1-2014 by Aleister because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:01 AM
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I was raised to use silence judiciously in marriage for the sake of peace. When a man has been drinking his inhibitions and judgement diminish and he can say and do things that leave a permanent impression. I feel for the woman who was shaking when talking to her husband. It seems obvious to me that she has had some negative destructive experience, possibly violent.

I find it difficult to teach our children about being objectified, because until they endure their own adolescence and come out the other end of it, only then can they understand what it is about, imo of course. Innocence used to be something to be cherished and preserved, but nowadays in order to survive, a girl has to be taught self-preservation and that's not so easy to do without giving up their inner security.



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:02 AM
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wildtimes
reply to post by darkbake
 


None of them were attractive to me, save ONE, a guy with some crow's feet, a 2-day beard, a work-shirt, and a winning smile - an outdoor, rugged kind of guy; and he was the only one I was CERTAIN was straight. (Yummy,
. Still have his image in my mind).



That is cool


Was it this guy? lol!




posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:04 AM
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aboutface
I was raised to use silence judiciously in marriage for the sake of peace. When a man has been drinking his inhibitions and judgement diminish and he can say and do things that leave a permanent impression. I feel for the woman who was shaking when talking to her husband. It seems obvious to me that she has had some negative destructive experience, possibly violent.

I find it difficult to teach our children about being objectified, because until they endure their own adolescence and come out the other end of it, only then can they understand what it is about, imo of course. Innocence used to be something to be cherished and preserved, but nowadays in order to survive, a girl has to be taught self-preservation and that's not so easy to do without giving up their inner security.


Yeah. Those two paragraphs are the kind of writing I am talking about. It's too bad you were able to resonate with the story I told you about the friend's house, but I think you might be right. The guy even made me nervous as a guest there.
edit on 06amMon, 06 Jan 2014 09:05:08 -0600kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:08 AM
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Aleister
reply to post by darkbake
 


Have you ever seen a male iguana in heat leap from a high place onto a female iguana for sex? it's a sight you can't forget, and since we are playing with an active and running reptilian brain-section in our craniums, and are primates instead of lizards, a part of our brain is always on the lookout for our equivalent of female iguanas.


No I can't say that I have seen that! Lol!



But here is a cool Iguana documentary. It is focused on all females competing for egg-laying spots, but it is interesting.
edit on 06amMon, 06 Jan 2014 09:11:47 -0600kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:09 AM
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lets see if i got this straght if i message a ugly women I am morre likly to get a responce.
Yep have done that it works just as advertised . Dought scylogy is involved though as being a ugly women ovesly she gets fewer messeges.
Ps being a averge man with high cheek bones and strong chin I dont have the baby face women love so much a get fewer messeges my self BUT the messeges I do get are from women who like strong chins and high cheeks. and thous are Much more likly to get a Second messege .
All of which is irrevavent as I now have a women Or she has me (who cares which im in love)
so no longer look at craigslist or dating sites . well except to get laughs from the female OO i am so wonderfully and you better be rich .O btw I am bbw BUt you still beter be rich .lol
O and the mens Look i have a big penis yes my penis is big . lol like women care one bit to look at a mans bits.
PS Dyslexia NO spell check Get a life behond being a hiuman spell check.



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:14 AM
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Paradoxes abound.
I honestly don't know which of the sexes are more pitiable.



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:21 AM
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VegHead
Am I understanding that second study correctly... do both men and women view women as objects? I think that is an important distinction, if true. Men are often criticized for objectifying women, but women (apparently) do the same thing to fellow women.



I think it said both do - and I'm not that surprised - I kind of think that some women might get into situations where their self-esteem is hit pretty badly and maybe they even think of themselves as objects because of that.

Also, other studies have shown that women can actually check each other out (as competition) more than men check them out.

Men Ogle Women, but so do Women


Perhaps the most surprising finding in the study is the female participants also looked first at another woman's body, indicating that Western women have developed "physique anxiety," which can lead to decreased cognitive performance and self-silencing.

All of this, the researchers conclude, stems from men's tendency to "ogle," "leer at" or "check out" the women they meet, based primarily on their bodies.

The scientists obviously would like to see that changed, although relationships between the genders is based on eons of social evolution, and in that sense we are similar to many other animals that check out the plumage of every potential mate they meet, guarding against leaving their genes in the wrong body. So it's not clear yet how that is going to change.


I don't know what do girls or women think?



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:22 AM
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reply to post by Wonders
 


It looks like we might be competing against evolution to make a civilized society.

The one thing to remember is that technology has brought us to a point where a lot of evolutionary characteristics are not as effective or positive as they were prior.
edit on 06amMon, 06 Jan 2014 09:24:32 -0600kbamkAmerica/Chicago by darkbake because: (no reason given)



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:23 AM
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reply to post by darkbake
 


LOL!! Nope. I've never been attracted to blonde or ginger men. It was a guy with very dark hair, blue eyes, kinda like Clive Owen or Hugh Jackman or Aidan Quinn...

le dreamy sigh....



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 09:38 AM
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darkbake
reply to post by Wonders
 


It looks like we might be competing against evolution to make a civilized society.



In a way I think this sums up a large part of the struggle of the human condition. But it might be even more... nit-picky than that. I think that we have a hard-wired evolutionarily determined drive that is just as significant to try to get along with each other; so that is a drive for civilized society. However, we have competing biology that has to do with dominance/aggressiveness, (and related) sex, that can hinder civility.

For the record, this was a really interesting study, and I owe you an apology for a comment in another thread where I basically called you a sexist pig (but with a lot more words). So, even if you don't remember it, I'm sorry.
edit on 6-1-2014 by redhorse because: grammar



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 10:23 AM
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darkbake

VegHead
Am I understanding that second study correctly... do both men and women view women as objects? I think that is an important distinction, if true. Men are often criticized for objectifying women, but women (apparently) do the same thing to fellow women.



I think it said both do - and I'm not that surprised - I kind of think that some women might get into situations where their self-esteem is hit pretty badly and maybe they even think of themselves as objects because of that.

Also, other studies have shown that women can actually check each other out (as competition) more than men check them out.

Men Ogle Women, but so do Women


Perhaps the most surprising finding in the study is the female participants also looked first at another woman's body, indicating that Western women have developed "physique anxiety," which can lead to decreased cognitive performance and self-silencing.

All of this, the researchers conclude, stems from men's tendency to "ogle," "leer at" or "check out" the women they meet, based primarily on their bodies.

The scientists obviously would like to see that changed, although relationships between the genders is based on eons of social evolution, and in that sense we are similar to many other animals that check out the plumage of every potential mate they meet, guarding against leaving their genes in the wrong body. So it's not clear yet how that is going to change.


I don't know what do girls or women think?



I check out women, to some degree. I don't leer, though. I do sometimes gasp and say "wow" when I see a woman I consider to be exceptionally beautiful. I don't have the same sexual response that a man would, since I'm a hetero female, but I can still appreciate beauty in another female.

As for "physique anxiety"... When I was a pre-teen and teenager, waif models were really big in the fashion world (Kate Moss, etc). I, like many of my peers of the same age, was obsessed with wanting a thinner figure. I wanted my bones to stick out more (ew... looking back...I cringe. Why on earth I thought that was cool or a good thing is beyond me now). I wasn't interested in impressing guys with my thin-achievements, I was interested in impressing my circle of girlfriends. Most guys, including pre-teens, would probably prefer a healthy girl -even with a few extra pounds - over one that attempting to "achieve" underweight and was obsessed with weight/bones/dieting. But, like I said... I wanted to impress my female peers not my male peers. At least consciously, I didn't care what the guys thought.

Fortunately, I matured a lot in my twenties, and now in my thirties. I still "check out" other women in a casual way, and I can honestly say that I am not very critical of other women's bodies now. I think a lot of different sizes and shapes are beautiful. 100 pounds or over 200 pounds, I've seen gorgeous women at just about every weight with beautiful bodies. Maybe connected to appreciating a wider range of body-types as an adult, I'm now also much less critical of my own body. After having a couple of kids, I've grown an appreciation for the beautiful "utility" of my body. (For example, yeah I may have small breasts... but they nourished two babies! So therefore my boobs rock.) (OK, that was TMI... )



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 10:28 AM
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This makes perfect sense... Now I understand why I usually end up feeling stupid, after hitting on a good looking woman.
Realizing that I've just made a stupid comment, that makes me look like a dumbass...

It's because I come up with these ideas, when I'm only focused on a pretty chick, while she is smarter them my sisters Barbie dolls.

That's just funny.




posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 05:44 PM
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As a non-straight male, I think I'm incapable of seeing women as objects, which made attempting to ask them out quite intimidating.

I think men with "nice guy syndrome" also have this disability.

The phrase "picking up chicks" comes to mind. It sounds as simple as going to the store to pick up a loaf of bread. It's a lot more difficult if you see women as actual people who are capable of independent thought.

I might suggest that women are more attracted to men who see them as objects, though they call this "confidence".



posted on Jan, 6 2014 @ 08:07 PM
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Glass
As a non-straight male, I think I'm incapable of seeing women as objects, which made attempting to ask them out quite intimidating.

I think men with "nice guy syndrome" also have this disability.

The phrase "picking up chicks" comes to mind. It sounds as simple as going to the store to pick up a loaf of bread. It's a lot more difficult if you see women as actual people who are capable of independent thought.

I might suggest that women are more attracted to men who see them as objects, though they call this "confidence".


Whoa... I kinda "get it" a bit better now.

I always was amazed at how men (not all, but many) are so bold and forward when hitting on women. It's like they are invincible and totally not deterred in their quest by any number of "no"s. I never made the connection that if they view women as "objects" rather than people with thoughts/feelings, it makes it easy to be so aggressive (and relentless at times) in their pursuit.

Not that you can be a representative for all gay men everywhere, but I am curious to know your opinion. Do you think gay men see other men as objects as much as hetero men see women as objects?

Thanks for the little lightbulb moment.



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