The Social Interaction Model of Objectification: A process model of goal-based objectifying exchanges between men and women

Sarah J. Gervais, Gemma Sáez, Abigail R. Riemer, Olivier Klein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


People perceive and treat women as sex objects in social exchanges. The interaction processes through which women are objectified, however, have rarely been considered. To address this gap in the literature, we propose the Social Interaction Model of Objectification (SIMO). Rooted in social exchange and objectification theories, the SIMO predicts objectifying behaviours stemming from sexual goals between men and women. We propose that the behavioural dynamics of objectification can be understood through a series of goal-based exchange processes that are shaped by patriarchy. Articulating the SIMO and its predictions for behaviour in social interactions, we describe the scant social psychological studies in this area. Not only is the SIMO useful for understanding objectifying interaction processes, but it can be used to understand why women sometimes evaluate objectification positively as well as instances of sexual violence. Finally, we discuss critical directions for future research and provide promising methodological approaches for testing the SIMO.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)248-283
Number of pages36
JournalBritish Journal of Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2020



  • aggression
  • dehumanization
  • gender
  • objectification
  • self-fulfilling prophecy
  • sex
  • social interaction

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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