This is known as sexual objectification SO , the reduction of people to physical objects of sexual desire. Although the sexual objectification of men is a growing trend, sexual objectification theory originated by Frederickson and Roberts in has focused on women as physical objects of male sexual desire.
SO has played a big role in my life. I received compliments and attention not for being smart, but for being pretty. I began wearing makeup the second I could get away with it and dressed like a little tart. Throughout my life, my physical attractiveness has played way too big a role in determining my self-worth. SO battles can be related to weight, hair, skin color, or the shape and size of specific body parts. I am currently fighting an SO age battle.
I resist feeling I am less valuable because I am no longer the pretty young thing I once was. A healthy adjustment to aging necessitates I stop seeing myself as a sexual object and rebel against the time-consuming, risky, and expensive measures needed to approximate sexualized ideals.
Men play a role in reducing the sexual objectification of women, especially in male friendship groups and environments, and by reducing their consumption of sexually objectifying media. Psychologists believe that learning about SO reduces its impact, especially if we learn to challenge what are, for most of us, unattainable or only temporarily attainable beauty standards.
They suggest that we actively work to: The sexual objectification of men is growing. Although research is limited, body image issues regarding weight and muscularity, eating disorders, and steroid abuse are increasingly common. Media messages tell men they need to overcome baldness, have soft skin, take testosterone , retain the sexual performance of their youth, and have action hero bodies.
Surely this is not the gender equality we seek. The drive for muscularity in men: Media influences and objectification theory. Body Image, 7, Psychology of Women Quarterly, 21, Objectification theory and psychology of women: A decade of advances and future directions. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32, Sexual objectification of women: Clinical implications and training considerations.
The Counseling Psychologist, 39, Advances to theory and research.