Objectification Definitions Summary

There are many different aspects that contribute to objectification. Here we explain some key terms and aspects often included in discussions on objectification.

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Sexual Objectification

Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person solely as an object of sexual desire. Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object without regard to their personality or dignity. Objectification is most commonly examined at the level of society, but can also refer to the behaviour of individuals and is a type of dehumanization.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sexual_objectification


Self-objectification is defined as the tendency of an individual to perceive and value their bodies through a third-person lens by emphasizing physical and observable characteristics (Nezlek et al., 2015). read more

Body Image

Body image is a person's thoughts, feelings and perception of the aesthetics or sexual attractiveness of their own body. read more

Body Shaming

Body shaming is the act of deriding or mocking a person's physical appearance. The scope of body shaming is wide and can include, although is not limited to fat-shaming, shaming for thinness, height-shaming, shaming of hairiness (or lack thereof), hair-colour, body-shape, one's muscularity (or lack thereof), shaming of looks (facial features).

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Body_shaming

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Thin Body Ideal

The thin body ideal is the concept of the ideally slim female body. The common perception of this ideal is a woman who possesses a slender, feminine physique with a small waist and little body fat.[1] The size that the thin ideal woman should be is decreasing while the rate of female obesity is simultaneously increasing, making this iconic body difficult for women to maintain. This creates a gap between the actual appearance of an average woman’s body and its expected appearance which, depending on the extent to which a woman internalizes the necessity of living up to this ideal for her well-being and peace of mind, may have serious psychological effects.[2]

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Muscular Body Ideal

One potential explanation of the drive for muscularity in men may be objectification theory. Western culture emphasizes muscular mesomorph for men, by reinforcing the connection between muscularity and masculinity (McCreary & Sasse, 2000). Men are similarly exposed to images and are encouraged to achieve the body ideals valued by Western culture (Daniel, Bridges, & Martens, 2014)

Direct quote from: https://openworks.wooster.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=10132&context=independentstudy

Male Gaze

The male gaze is the act of depicting women and the world, in the visual arts and literature, from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the heterosexual male viewer. In the visual and the aesthetic representations of narrative cinema, the male gaze has three perspectives: the men behind the camera, the male characters in the filmed story, and the male spectators of the work.

Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Male_gaze

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