What's the Latest Development?
University of Nebraska-Lincoln psychologists asked test subjects to wear an eyetracking device while evaluating photos of women with different body types and rating them on either appearance or personality. When asked to rate their appearance, both men's and women's eyes tended to go to the breasts and other sexualized body parts and stayed there for about the same amount of time. Notably, when asked to rate their personality, the men viewed curvaceous women more positively, while women gave similar impressions of both curvy and less-curvy women.
What's the Big Idea?
Previous studies have already linked the objectifying gaze to negative perceptions of women, but this study is one of the first to confirm years of anecdotal evidence regarding how it's used on women by both genders. Psychologist Michael Dodd says that the results of rating both appearance and personality demonstrate the possibility of change: "It's not as though looking at the body of someone has to be, or is, a default behavior. It just may be the case that cognitive control is required to engage in more appropriate, and less damaging, visual behavior."
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