When What You See Is What You Get: The Consequences of the Objectifying Gaze for Women and Men
Psychology of Women Quarterly January 25, 2011
- Theresa K. Vescio
- Jill Allen
This research examined the effects of the objectifying gaze on math performance, interaction motivation, body surveillance, body shame, and body dissatisfaction. In an experiment, undergraduate participants (67 women and 83 men) received an objectifying gaze during an interaction with a trained confederate of the other sex. As hypothesized, the objectifying gaze caused decrements in women’s math performance but not men’s. Interestingly, the objectifying gaze also increased women’s, but not men’s, motivation to engage in subsequent interactions with their partner. Finally, the objectifying gaze did not influence body surveillance, body shame, or body dissatisfaction for women or men. One explanation for the math performance and interaction motivation findings is stereotype threat. To the degree that the objectifying gaze arouses stereotype threat, math performance may decrease because it conveys that women’s looks are valued over their other qualities. Furthermore, interaction motivation may increase because stereotype threat arouses belonging uncertainty or concerns about social connections. As a result, the objectifying gaze may trigger a vicious cycle in which women underperform but continue to interact with the people who led them to underperform in the first place. Implications for long-term consequences of the objectifying gaze and directions for future research are discussed.
If you look at the result carefully, you see that the "objectified" men actually perform better (although not significantly) than the control group.