Reducing women to boobs and bums isn’t just the modus operandi of the Spike Network, and 13-year-old boys. A new study published in the European Journal of Social Psychology says that all our brains, regardless of our gender, view men as “people” but see women cumulatively as their body parts.
Oh, how we could Gender Studies 101 the shit out of this one!
The study had participants look at pictures of both men and women and then look at isolated images of their body parts. They found that women’s isolated body parts were easier for the participants to remember, which the study’s authors attribute to the way our brains process images. Viewing objects as a whole as a way to understand them was more often applied to images of males; likewise, viewing objects as parts of a whole — i.e. as body parts — was more often applied to images of women. And lest you think this study was simply a bunch of horny old goats ogling some tail, consider this: both men and women processed the images this way. (Blogger Lindsay Abrams at The Atlantic goes into the study more in-depth, if you are interested.)
Of course, it is a “no duh” observation that women are objectified. (In fact, a separate study pretty much “discovered” the same thing just last month.) What I really want to know is an issue that goes beyond the “no duh” observation: what came first, the chicken or the egg? Do people view women as their body parts because somewhere deep down in our lizard brains there is some biological reason to do so? (Big boobs = healthy childbearing body?) Or do people view women as their body parts because throughout much of history women were not/are not viewed as “people” the same way that men were/are?
Or is it simply because a nice curvaceous lady butt is a lot more attractive than a hairy man butt? Because that’s the theory I’m going with, personally.