After analyzing the survey results, Ramsey found that among the men, the more they thought about the way their partner looked, the more likely they were to pressure her sexually. Additionally, the more these men focused on their partner's looks, the more they scrutinized her physically and felt shame about her appearance -- factors that also correlated with sexual pressure and coercion.*full paper at The Object of Desire: How Being Objectified Creates Sexual Pressure for Women in Heterosexual Relationships (PDF)
Overall, the researchers found only a moderate level of objectification and low rates of sexual coercion, but the link between these two variables was statistically significant: The men who objectified their partners were also the men who sexually pressured and coerced their partners.
As for the women, those who reported that their partners stared at their bodies frequently were more likely to believe that "it's a woman's role to satisfy her partner sexually." They were also more likely to have experienced sexual coercion in the form of violence or other behavior-controlling mechanisms. One such coercive practice is "commitment manipulation," which researchers measured by offering statements like "My partner hinted that if I loved him I would have sex with him" and asking the women how often that had happened to them.
An atmosphere of objectification also seems to inform the way women view their own bodies. The study found that women whose partners stared at their bodies frequently were more likely to feel bad about themselves and adopt a "third-person perspective" of their bodies -- meaning that they began to view themselves as objects, too. This body insecurity made the women less comfortable in front of their partners, which in turn made them less likely to refuse sex, communicate their sexual needs or actually enjoy sex.
"Objects can't speak up and assert their desires, and so [women who feel like objects] don't either," Ramsey said.
Another study conducted by Washington State University researchers establishes a similar idea. It says that men who read magazines that tend to objectify women are less likely to respect sexual boundaries because their content gives them a false impression about physical experiences and consent. While there may be no direct correlation (all Maxim-reading men certainly aren't predators), there's definitely more damage done in looking at women as your personal entertainment and pleasure machines than as empowered individuals.The Atlantic - Study: The Objectification of Women Is a Real, Measurable Phenomenon
...Pop culture has long been fueled by the male gaze, but as Caroline Heldman once wrote for Ms. magazine, "this latest era is characterized by greater exposure to advertising and increased sexual explicitness in advertising, magazines, television shows, movies, video games, music videos, television news and 'reality" television.'" In short, despite the best efforts of gender-equality advocates, objectification is still very much widespread.
Their findings show that young women experience increased psychological distress when they are being sexually objectified. Women with low resilience are especially vulnerable, and tend to internalize such behavior. Some women feel confused and shameful, and reason that their own inferiority is the cause of such bad experiences. They therefore blame themselves, rather than the perpetrators, and this causes psychological distress... "Resilient women may see gender-related oppressive experiences as challenges - rather than barriers - that can be overcome," says Szymanski.Not Exactly Rocket Science - How objectification silences women – the male glance as a psychological muzzle
...The University of Tennessee researchers stress that clinicians should explore how their female clients experience and cope with sexually oppressive behavior. "Psychologists can help their female clients to identify and explore various ways by which they can better cope with sexually oppressive behavior. In addition, we need interventions aimed at decreasing individual and cultural practices of sexually objectifying women," advises Feltman.
...[T]he pattern of utilizing women as background decoration works to reinforce the myth that women are naturally fated to be objectified, vulnerable, and perpetually victimized by male violence. These games also tend to frame misogyny and sexual exploitation as an everlasting fact of life, as something inescapable and unchangeable. This dominant narrative surrounding the inevitability of female objectification and victimhood is so powerful that it not only defines our concepts of reality but it even sets the parameters for how we think about entirely fictional worlds, even those taking place in the realms of fantasy and science fiction.
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