When Her Whole Equals Her Parts: Seeing Women as Objects Rather than Persons

Open Access
Gervais, Sarah J.
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
May 25, 2007
Committee Members:
  • Theresa K Vescio, Committee Chair
  • Karen Gasper, Committee Member
  • Cathleen Moore, Committee Member
  • Susan Merrill Squier, Committee Member
  • stereotypes
  • gender
  • objectification
  • object recognition
The purpose of this work was to examine when and how women are sexually objectified. Study 1 examined the objectifying gaze to the sex relevant body parts of women. Study 2 examined whether women are interchangeable with other women. Study 3 examined whether women are remembered by their body parts, rather than as whole people. Study 4 examined whether stereotypic human attributes are activated for women. Results support the prediction that women, particularly women with hyper-stereotypic physical features, are more sexually objectified than men. Implications for feminist theory, models of human impression formation, social psychology and a broader objectification theory are discussed.