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Female Bodies, Male Minds

Social Lunch Talk, 03/12/2012

Rachel Montana

on 25 March 2013

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Transcript of Female Bodies, Male Minds

Debbie Prentice MIND BODY soul/spirit/intellect material/physical public sphere private sphere men/masculine women/feminine active subject passive object superior inferior "form" "matter" Cartesian Dualism MODERN EXAMPLE: NEUROMANCER MALE:
Relevant and represented across broad range of domains and contexts
Limited, often negative social representations
Irrelevant and invisible outside of representational repertoire EXAMPLE: VISUAL TUNING (Eberhardt, Goff, & Davis, 2004) Context: Neutral Versus Crime WOMEN AS SOCIALLY INVISIBLE? Can women belong to a socially invisible group when many studies have found female presence to be hyper-visible?
Women more likely to report feeling observed during interpersonal encounters
Women are also more likely to be the objects of external, often non-reciprocated gazes MIND BODY soul/spirit/intellect material/physical public sphere private sphere men/masculine women/feminine active subject passive object superior inferior social visibility physical visibility Cartesian Dualism MIND: MEN BODY: WOMEN social/cultural/political physical goal-oriented action appearance-based attraction agentic subjects passive objects personhood/character appearance/attractiveness viewers viewed culturally audible physically visible Public Influence: Public Visibility: Emphasis On: Mode of Influence: Representation: Gendered Relationship: "Women are culturally invisible while being physically visible." -Tseelon, Women and the Private Domain "Imaginatively, [woman] is of the highest importance; practically, she is completely insignificant. She pervades poetry from cover to cover; she is all but absent from history." Virginia Woolf
A Room of One's Own SEXUAL OBJECTIFICATION The body becomes representative of person's entire identity; the subject is reduced from complete human being to an object, with physical appearance used as the primary determinant of worth GENDER AND OBJECTIFICATION Women more likely to report experiences of sexual objectification and to actually be objectified by both male and female observers
Women more frequently and intensely sexualized (Moradi & Huang, 2008) (Hall, 1984) FACE-ISM VS. BODY-ISM DE-EMPHASIS OF PERSONHOOD Focus on appearance (as opposed to performance)
Perceptions of women in appearance condition (but not men) rated as less characteristic of what it means to be human (i.e., competency, warmth, morality, agency, and other attributions about complex "mind") (Heflick et al., 2010) GENDER AND OBJECTIFICATION Sexualized men are still perceived as persons/agents, while sexualized women are perceived more similarly to objects Men's increased memory for sexualized female bodies (but not sexualized male bodies or clothed female bodies) correlated with increased activation of neural networks associated with manipulable objects
Men's hostile sexism scores correlated with decreased activation of brain regions associated with social cognition and mentalizing when viewing sexualized women only OBJECTS OR SUBJECTS? EXAMPLE 2 (e.g., Cikara et al., 2010; Fiske, 2009) OBJECTS OR SUBJECTS? EXAMPLE 1 EXAMPLE 3: CORRELATIONS Showing less concern for women's feelings and experiences (i.e., denial of female subjectivity)
Increased willingness to sexually harass women (conceptualizing female body as object accessible for public consumption and evaluation)
More negative attitudes toward rape victims Male objectification of women associated with: FEMALE SOCIAL INVISIBILITY Women are made socially invisible through:
1. Their lack of relevance across a broader array of
contextual domains beyond those based on appearance 2. The types of information considered relevant in perceptions and evaluations of women as compared to men, specifically with appearance-related information being more relevant to/informative of women and character-related trait information being more relevant to/informative of men Target Sex: F(1,47)=114.37, p<.001
Target Sex * Behavior: F(2,46)=27.22, p<.001 INDIRECT SUPPORT:
Character-Related Trait Information LABELING SEXUALITY IN WOMEN:
Appearance-Related Information personality, interests, actions, behaviors,
traits, voice/vocal patterns attractiveness, clothing, hairstyle,
body shape, use of makeup/jewelry (Archer, Iritani, Kimes, & Barrios, 1983) (Bernard et al., 2010) METHODS: GOLDBERG EFFECT STUDIES "Goldberg Effect": female disadvantage and corresponding male favoritism in evaluations of articles and their authors
Methodology: read article and subsequently evaluate that article and its author
Manipulation: sex of author (through author name) by John T. McKay by Joan T. McKay METHODS: STUDY 2 Condition 1 Condition 2 Author Name Op-Ed Article Topic Anti-Medical Marijuana Marcus Harris Martha Harris Pro-Medical Marijuana Samantha Thompson Samuel Thompson Anti-P2P File Sharing Christine Perkins Christopher Perkins Pro-P2P File Sharing Adam Young Alice Young Anti-GMOs Michelle Robinson Michael Robinson Pro-GMOs Ethan West Emma West METHODS: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION What information do subjects find relevant to such evaluations, and is relevant information different for evaluations of the work of male as compared to female authors? (MouseLab) (NimStim Face Set) METHODS: ADDITIONAL INFORMATION 1. Which information boxes opened (whether or not participants opened each information box)
2. Number of times each information box opened
3. Total length of time participants spend viewing each information box
4. Order in which participants viewed information boxes Target Information Boxes:
Biography (Personhood-Related Information)
Photograph (Appearance-Related Information) METHODS: SUBJECTS 54 heterosexual Princeton undergraduates (28 male)
Condition 1: 26 subjects; Condition 2: 28 subjects Instructions: Pretend that you are on the editorial board of the magazine, trying to decide which articles should be accepted and which should be rejected, and evaluate the submissions with these criteria in mind. Additional Information Instructions: Members of editorial boards are also given access to information about authors submitting articles for consideration, along with outside information the author used in writing the article. Practice Trial: METHODS: PROCEDURE For each article...
1. Read article
2. Additional information screen
3. Evaluate article and author quality, competence, insight, persuasiveness, writing style, knowledge
likelihood of article acceptance to magazine
agreement with author's opinion STUDY 2 RESULTS:
APPEARANCE-RELATED INFORMATION Author Sex*Subject Sex: F(1,52)=4.29, p=.043
PERSONHOOD-RELATED INFORMATION Author Sex*Subject Sex: F(1,52)=6.21, p=.016
ACCEPTANCE LIKELIHOOD RATINGS Author Sex*Subject Sex: F(1,52)=3.33, p=.074
AUTHOR KNOWLEDGEABLE RATINGS F(1,52)=7.84, p=.007 DISCUSSION: STUDY 2 Differences in information subjects chose to examine before evaluating author based on author sex
Found author appearance more relevant when evaluating female authors
Found author character/personhood more relevant when evaluating male authors
Differences in informational relevancy only for same-sex raters
Project self-relevant information onto similar others
Female self-objectification affects how women view not only themselves, but also other women
Potential ceiling effects for men (Cash et al., 1997) DISCUSSION: STUDY 1 Support for Goldberg effect for female subjects
Women are harsher judges and more competitive with other women than men
These results are stronger when information about the appearance of other women is available
Sex differences in ratings due to inclusion of appearance info?
Inclusion of photograph with resume does not hurt male applicants but does hurt women, especially when they are being judged by other women (e.g., Joseph, 1985) (Ruffle Shtudiner, 2011) METHODS: STUDY 2 132 heterosexual MTurk Subjects (98 male, 38 female)
mean age = 31.29, range = 18-66
Goldberg studies paradigm: read article and evaluate
Two manipulations:
1. Author Sex (male v. female)
2. Presence of appearance info (photo v. no photo)
Evaluations: article quality, clarity, liking, etc. RESULTS: STUDY 2
How well did you understand the article? RESULTS: STUDY 2
Assessment of Author's Writing Style NOTE: Importance of these articles being already accepted/published; other studies find enhanced ratings of female as compared to male work in these cases, a reverse of the typical trend when evaluating not yet accepted/unpublished works METHODS: STUDY 3 140 heterosexual MTurk Subjects (89 male, 51 female)
mean age = 34.30, range = 18-75
Replication of Study 2, but with:
1. Pro-medical marijuana article (instead of anti-)
2. Different author photographs
3. More evaluative dimensions RESULTS: STUDY 3
Assessment of Author's Competence RESULTS: STUDY 3
Agreement with Author's Opinion Saw that people more interested in photographs of women, but what happens when people have access to this appearance-related information? F(1,135)=5.38, p=.022 F(1,132)=3.30, p=.072 F(1,137)=4.27, p=.041 F(1,138)=5.73, p=.018 DISCUSSION: STUDIES 1 & 2 Access to information about physicality discredits women, but enhances men's credibility
The presence of appearance information hurts women but helps men in evaluations
This may be especially problematic, as in our last study we found that men generally seek out appearance information and women are more likely to seek out appearance information of other women than of men GENERAL DISCUSSION People find appearance information more relevant in making evaluations about women
However, access to such information puts women at a disadvantage in comparison to men when they are evaluated in domains outside of their physicality
In contrast, people find personhood information more relevant in making evaluations about men
These differences are sex-related, such that both men and women seek out information in same-sexed others that they perhaps find relevant in evaluations of the self FUTURE DIRECTIONS Explore personhood versus appearance information effects on evaluating men and their performance
Eliminate ceiling effects for male appearance-info seeking
Relationship between self-objectification and women's increased objectification of other women
Importance of specifics of appearance information
Explore competition/jealousy as potential root of sex differences in relation to informational relevance
Connection between information seeking and evaluations SPECIAL THANKS: Josh Montana
David McKenzie
Pam Mueller
Melanie Wilkens
Prentice/Paluck Lab When women are viewed as objects rather than subjects, there is a corresponding focus on the female body at the expense of the mind
Dehumanization: denial of "humanness"/personhood (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) OBJECTIFICATION IMPLICATIONS Less agency and moral patiency
Decreased attributions of complex mental states, less characteristic of what it means to be human (e.g., Haslam, Loughnan, Kashima, & Bain, 2008) (Hatton & Trautner, 2011) (e.g. Strelan & Hargreaves, 2005) CONSUMPTION OF EROTICIZED BODIES BRIAN: I have no response. I have no response at all. Big deal. I don't know what to say. So what?
HOLLY: You know, I think he's a good-looking guy, but I would rather just see him like that (covers up bottom half of photo). That kind of turns me off a little bit.
BRIAN: I don't care for any of them. I have no feelings on it...I can't comment much on the male body because I have a male body.
HOLLY: Why? I commented on the female.
BRIAN: Yeah, but it's different for a guy. It's different...Guy looks at another guy and goes 'so what.' I bet you look at another girl and go 'so what.'
HOLLY: I actually don't. I pick her apart like crazy.
BRIAN: Really? Well, it's different between guys. Big deal. That's a guy. So what. (Eck, 2003) BODY RECOGNITION STUDIES (Cikara, Eberhardt, & Fiske, 2010) 1st person action verb
(e.g., grasp, use) 3rd person action verb
(e.g., grasps, uses) (Cikara et al., 2010) DE-EMPHASIS OF PERSONHOOD Focus on Palin or Jolie's appearance or personhood
Decreased ratings of traits related to humanness/ personhood when focus is on appearance (Heflick & Goldenberg, 2009) OBJECTIFICATION LITERATURE Through appearance focus and/or sexualization, women (but not men) are objectified
These results could be explained through female social invisibility if people focus on women's appearance over personhood naturally (i.e., without manipulating attentional focus) PROPOSAL If women are socially invisible based on increased relevance of appearance-related information, we should not need to prompt subjects into focusing on appearance over personhood information through attentional directing. Instead, increased focus on female appearance over personhood will occur naturally and by default, without...
1) Prompting appearance focus; or
2) Sexualized bodies or increased bodily focus METHODS: STUDY 1 143 MTurk Subjects (57 male, 86 female)
mean age = 31.55, range = 19-67 years old
Read and evaluate an article (and its author)
Two Manipulations:
1. Presence of appearance info (photo v. no photo)
2. Presence of personhood info (bio v. no bio) PHOTO BIO Article 1 STIMULI CONDITION Article 2 Article 3 Article 4 1. Control 2. Appearance Information 3. Personhood Information 4. Appearance & Personhood Info DVs: EVALUATIONS Article Evaluation (article quality, article likeability)
Competence (knowledgeable, competent, insightful, writing style)
Emotionality (emotional expressiveness, author's strength of conviction)
Morality (morality, sincerity, honesty)
Reader Interpretation (opinion agreement, clarity) PREDICTIONS 1. Appearance information will show no direct effect on
evaluative ratings (based on previous objectification research)
2. Personhood information will increase evaluative ratings...
3. UNLESS appearance information is also supplied

In other words, though appearance information will not directly effect evaluations, it is still considered more relevant and informative in evaluating female performance than is personhood information. As such, the inclusion of appearance information should negate the evaluative influence of personhood information. (Fryberg & Townsend, 2008) (Bordo, 1993) METHODS LOGIC No leading or directing of attention toward appearance or personhood information
Appearance information does not offer objectification contextual cues; instead, appearance information conveyed through photograph is face-centric and not overtly sexualized (Argyle & Williams, 1969) OBJECTS OR SUBJECTS? EXAMPLE 3 EXAMPLE 2: "WHO SAID WHAT" Research shows that women's physical presence often hyper-visible rather than invisible
But what is the specific public domain in which women gain this increased relevance and visibility?
Women gain visibility primarily through their physical appearance, while being largely denied wider social and cultural visibility in the public sphere WOMEN AS SOCIALLY INVISIBLE? 1. Visibility women granted in public sphere limited to
domain of physicality, denied larger social visibility
2. Women's bodies viewed as representative and of focal
importance at the expense of mind, personhood, and voice
3. Women viewed as objects rather than agentic subjects FEMALE SOCIAL INVISIBILITY RESULTS: ARTICLE EVALUATION
(Article Quality and Article Likeability) Photo * Bio: F(1,142)=7.37, p=.008
(Article Clarity and Agreement with Opinion) ** Photo * Bio: F(1,142)=8.47, p=.004
(Conviction and Emotional Expressiveness) Photo * Bio: F(1,141)=2.66, p=.105
(Morality, Honesty, and Sincerity) Photo * Bio: F(1,140)=9.34, p=.033
(Competent, Knowledgeable, Insightful, Writing Style) Photo * Bio: F(1,141)=7.33, p=.008
*p=.010 * * * * DISCUSSION: STUDY 1 Performance evaluations and ratings of humanness do not change with the presence of appearance information
These same ratings increase with the presence of personhood information...
But only when appearance information is not also present DISCUSSION: STUDY 1 Appearance information does not lead to direct effects on evaluations, while personhood information does
However when both appearance and personhood information are present in conjunction the effects of appearance are stronger, eliminating the positive influence of personhood information on evaluations
Overall, the effects of appearance override those of personhood in evaluating women and their performance GENERAL DISCUSSION Appearance information more relevant than personhood information when evaluating women and their work

Female Social Invisibility Evaluative Ratings
Information Seeking Women's personhood less relevant than appearance
Female appearance more relevant than male appearance (while female personhood less relevant than male personhood) Invisible Group Visible Group defined by social group defined by individual traits personhood through stereotypes personhood through character stand out physically
(noticeable physical presence) physical visibility belonging/normalized relevance
(noticeable ideas, voice, etc.) social audibility Vanity Smurf Brainy Smurf Lazy Smurf Doctor Smurf Smurfette
("The Girl") DISTINCTIVENESS AS SOCIAL VISIBILITY (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997) (e.g., Bernard et al., 2010; Cikara et al., 2010) Support for Goldberg effect (discrepancy in ratings of male and female authors on evaluations)
Especially true of female subjects
Women are harsher judges and more competitive with other women than men DISCUSSION: STUDY 2 DISTINCTIVENESS AS SOCIAL VISIBILITY
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