Beauty Is in the Eye of the Beer Holder: An Initial Investigation of the Effects of Alcohol, Attractiveness, Warmth, and Competence on the Objectifying Gaze in Men

Abigail R. Riemer, Michelle Haikalis, Molly R. Franz, Michael D. Dodd, David DiLillo, Sarah J. Gervais

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

5 Scopus citations

Abstract

Despite literature revealing the adverse consequences of objectifying gazes for women, little work has empirically examined origins of objectifying gazes by perceivers. Integrating alcohol myopia and objectification theories, we examined the effects of alcohol as well as perceived female attractiveness, warmth, and competence on objectifying gazes. Specifically, male undergraduates (n = 49) from a large U.S. Midwestern university were administered either an alcoholic or placebo beverage. After consumption, participants were asked to focus on the appearance or personality (counterbalanced) of pictured women who were previously rated as high, average, or low in attractiveness, warmth, and competence. Replicating previous work, appearance focus increased objectifying gazes as measured by decreased visual dwell time on women’s faces and increased dwell time on women’s bodies. Additionally, alcohol increased objectifying gazes. Whereas greater perceived attractiveness increased objectifying gazes, more perceived warmth and perceived competence decreased objectifying gazes. Furthermore, the effects of warmth and competence perceptions on objectifying gazes were moderated by alcohol condition; intoxicated participants objectified women low in warmth and competence to a greater extent than did sober participants. Implications for understanding men’s objectifying perceptions of women are addressed, shedding light on potential interventions for clinicians and policymakers to reduce alcohol-involved objectification and related sexual aggression.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)449-463
Number of pages15
JournalSex Roles
Volume79
Issue number7-8
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 1 2018

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Keywords

  • Alcohol intoxication
  • Competence
  • Eye fixation
  • Humanization
  • Impression formation
  • Myopia
  • Objectification
  • Physical attractiveness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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