Men likely to see women as sexual objects after drinking

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Scientists have confirmed something many women have long known.

Men are more likely to see women as sexual objects if they’ve been drinking alcohol.

Scientists showed men images of women ready for a night out, and found that after drinking alcohol they were more likely to look at their chests and waists rather than faces.

The researchers hope their findings will help to challenge beliefs held by some men that it is acceptable to direct objectifying gazes toward women.

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Men are more likely to see women as sexual objects if they’ve been drinking alcohol, according to a new study (stock image)

THE STUDY 

The study involved 49 men – 29 of which received two alcoholic drinks, and the rest who received placebo drinks.

The participants, who wore eye-tracking technology, were all shown photos of young women dressed to go out, and were asked to rate their appearances and personality. 

The women’s photos were also rated by an independent panel on how much warmth, good-naturedness, friendliness, competence, intelligence, confidence and attractiveness they exuded.

Results showed that when the men assessed a woman based on her appearance, it triggered objectifying gazes from them – especially if they had been drinking alcohol.

The men spent less time looking at faces, and focused far longer on their chests and waists.

This was particularly true when viewing women who had been rated as highly attractive.

In contrast, men were less likely to objectify women who had been rated as warm and confident.

Scientists from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln looked at the circumstances and factors that influence men to objectify women.

The study involved 49 men in their twenties – 29 of which received two alcoholic drinks, and the rest who received placebo drinks.

The participants were all shown photos of 80 young women dressed to go out, and were asked to rate their appearances and personality.

Eye tracking technology was used to assess where on the women’s bodies the men were looking.

The women’s photos had previously been rated by an independent panel on how much warmth, good-naturedness, friendliness, competence, intelligence, confidence and attractiveness they exuded.

Results showed that when the men assessed a woman based on her appearance, this triggered objectifying gazes from them – especially if they had been drinking alcohol.

The men spent less time looking at faces, and focused far longer on their chests and waists.

This was particularly true when viewing women who had been rated as highly attractive.

In contrast, men were less likely to objectify women who had been rated as warm and confident.

The findings suggest that whether a man will sexually objectify a woman depends on how much alcohol they have had, as well as how attractive, warm and competent she is.

The findings suggest that whether a man will sexually objectify a woman depends on how much alcohol they have had, as well as how attractive, warm and competent she is (stock image)

The findings suggest that whether a man will sexually objectify a woman depends on how much alcohol they have had, as well as how attractive, warm and competent she is (stock image)

The findings suggest that whether a man will sexually objectify a woman depends on how much alcohol they have had, as well as how attractive, warm and competent she is (stock image)

COULD MINDFULNESS BE THE KEY? 

The researchers hope their findings will help to challenge beliefs held by some men that it is acceptable to direct objectifying gazes toward women.

Dr Riemer added: ‘Understanding why the objectifying gaze occurs in the first place is an initial step toward stopping its incidence and its damaging effects.’

The researchers suggest that mindfulness could be an effective intervention to change how men see women.

Dr Riemer added: ‘This may inform primary prevention programs to reduce the continuum of sexual violence that women disproportionately experience.’

Dr Abigail Riemer, who led the study, said: ‘The sum of these results supports the notion that being perceived as high in humanizing attributes, such as warmth and competence, or being average in attractiveness provides a buffer that protects women from sexual objectification.

‘Environments in which alcohol is present are ripe with opportunities for objectifying gazes.

‘Adopting objectifying gazes toward women leads perceivers to dehumanize women, potentially laying the foundation for many negative consequences such as sexual violence and workplace gender discrimination.’

The researchers hope their findings will help to challenge beliefs held by some men that it is acceptable to direct objectifying gazes toward women.

Dr Riemer added: ‘Understanding why the objectifying gaze occurs in the first place is an initial step toward stopping its incidence and its damaging effects.’

The researchers suggest that mindfulness could be an effective intervention to change how men see women.

Dr Riemer added: ‘This may inform primary prevention programs to reduce the continuum of sexual violence that women disproportionately experience.’

 





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