In a new study, Princeton University scientists have found that some men really do see scantily clad women as ‘objects’. For the study, researchers scanned the brains of certain men as they looked at a picture of a woman in a bikini and found that sections of the brain that usually reacted to objects lit up.
With men, who were known to have sexist tendencies, they also found that a part of the brain that usually turned on during social interaction actually de-activated when they saw the picture. Professor Susan Fiske, of Princeton University, says that her results show that some men did not see sexualised women as a ‘human’. "I am not saying that they literally see them as an object, of course they know she is human," the Telegraph quoted her, as saying.
"But what the brain scans show is that they are reacting to this photograph as people react to objects. It is as if they are not fully human. "They are not treating them as fully three dimensional humans," she added. Fiske said that the constant bombardment of society with sexualised images of young women could be to blame and that it "decreased the extinct that they were seen as human".
She said the effect was rather like violence on television that studies had shown to desensitise people to the affects of violence. "I think that there is a parallel in seeing lots of sexualised women. You get used to it," she said. She said the effect was particularly powerful in the workplace and that studies had shown that men taking interviews of sexually attractive women behaved very differently towards them than other women and men.
The findings have been presented at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.