Objectification suppresses women’s desire to engage in social activism, study finds

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2013/02/11/objectification-suppresses-womens-desire-to-engage-in-social-activism-study-finds/

By Eric W. Dolan
Monday, February 11, 2013

A new study has shown that objectification can make college-aged women more accepting of the status quo and less likely to engage in social activism, potentially contributing to gender inequality.

“My research focused on self-objectification, which is a self-perspective that many women adopt as a primary consequence of regular encounters of sexual objectification,” the study’s author, Rachel M. Calogero of the University of Kent in the United Kingdom, explained to Raw Story.

The study, published last month in Psychological Science, found that women who were primed to evaluate themselves based on their appearance and sexual desirability had a decreased motivation to challenge gender-based inequalities and injustices.

“Self-objectification has been causally linked to a number of negative physical, mental, and behavioral health outcomes in girls and women, and even some men,” Calogero added. “My research went further to test the theoretical notion that objectifying practices sustain inequality at a broader level. I demonstrated that self-objectification is connected to women’s motivation to challenge the status quo.”

The study contained two separate experiments to investigate the relationship between self-objectification and social activism.

The first experiment tested whether female college students who valued appearance-based attributes like “physical attractiveness” over competence-based attributes like “physical fitness” were more or less likely to accept the current state of gender relations.

Calogero found that women who placed greater value on appearance-based attributes were more likely to accept the status quo. Not surprisingly, those who accepted the status quo were also less likely to speak out about gender equality or sign a petition in support of women’s rights.
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