A new study has come out that states women objectify other women on par with how men objectify women. The study found that women’s eye gaze when looking at another woman did not significantly differ from men’s eye gaze when looking at a woman. In more down-to-earth terms, just as men tend to check out women’s naughty bits, so do other women. What’s more, say researchers, both the women’s and men’s eye gaze lingered just as long on the sexualized areas of a woman’s body.
The study findings strengthen previous results which suggest that both men and women have an easier time recalling women’s individual body parts than they did recalling women’s bodies as a whole. In that study, it was revealed that both men and women were more apt to recall a man’s body as a whole, whereas they were more apt to recall a woman’s body as a series of parts; and both men and women were especially able to easily recall sexualized parts of the body on a woman. The researchers called this “local processing.” Being able to easily recall men as a whole, the researchers say, is akin to a brain phenomenon called “global processing.”
Researcher Sarah Gervais says that both men and women tend to look at other women as objects, in the way we would look at a piece of jewelry or another object which is possible for us to possess, explaining:
Local processing underlies the way we think about objects: houses, cars and so on. But global processing should prevent us from that when it comes to people. We don’t break people down to their parts – except when it comes to women, which is really striking. Women were perceived in the same ways that objects are viewed.
In the new study, it was also revealed that women with curvy figures are judged more favorably by both men and women than are women with fewer curves, and even when attempting to get the study subjects to look at the woman’s face by focusing the subject’s attention on the woman’s personality, the subject still tended to skip the woman’s face and judge the image more favorably if it was a picture of a curvaceous woman.
Researchers speculate that the similarity in male and female gaze behavior may stem from different organic reasons. While the male gaze may be assessing a woman as a potential mate, the female gaze may be judging the woman for the purpose of “social comparison.”
Notably, there was no mention of sexual orientation in the study results, which would seem to possibly play a role in the outcome of gaze behavior. Previous studies have shown that most or nearly all women have the capacity to be bisexual, but since orientation was not taken into account in the study that showed the objectifying eye gaze, it would be difficult to know whether women’s bisexual tendencies played a part in their gazes being the same as men’s.
The study says that women objectify other women on par with men. Perhaps further research would reveal if gender identity and/or sexual orientation plays a role in these results.
By: Rebecca Savastio