Are sexualized women complete human beings? Why men and women dehumanize sexually objectified women


Jeroen Vaes, University of Padova-Dipartimento di Psicologia dello Sviluppo e della Socializzazione, Via Venezia 8, Padova, Padova 35131, Italy.



Focusing on the dehumanization of sexually objectified targets, study 1 tested the extent to which objectified and non-objectified male and female publicity photos were associated with human compared to animal concepts. Results confirmed the hypothesis that, among all targets, only objectified women were associated with less human concepts. This pattern of results emerged for both male and female participants but likely for different reasons. Study 2 directly looked at female and male participants' affinity with sexually objectified women. Results indicated that the more women distanced themselves from sexually objectified women the more they dehumanized them, whereas men's sexual attraction moderated their tendency to dehumanize female targets. In study 3, this latter motivation was operationalized as the activation of a sex goal and showed to trigger man's but not woman's dehumanization of female targets. Overall, the present set of studies show that only sexually objectified women are dehumanized by both men and women but for different reasons. Whereas sexual attraction shifts a men's focus of a female target away from her personality onto her body triggering a dehumanization process, women are more inclined to dehumanize their sexually objectified counterparts the more they distance themselves from these sexualized representations of their gender category. Copyright © 2011 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.