Cat calling, inappropriate comments: studying the effects of sexual objectification on women
LONDON, ONT. -- Whether it's inappropriate comments in the workplace, or catcalling from a passing car, whatever the scenario, sexual objectification of women can cause harm.
"This kind of treatment is not ok, it’s completely inappropriate and it needs to stop," says Jaclyn Siegel, PhD candidate at Western University.
As part of an effort to raise awareness to this global phenomenon, group of researchers at Western in collaboration with other universities studied the effects sexual objectification has on women.
"Sexual objectification experiences when they are happening at a high enough frequency on women, they do contribute to women having a more hyper vigilant stance on their own appearance," says Rachel Calogero, a Western professor who specializes in personality psychology.
The researcher team found the effects go even further than body image issues.
"Women also develop a more chronic safety anxiety, more chronic and worry concern of their physical safety in their every day environment," says Calogero.
The study surveyed both women and men based in North America. The findings showed men also experienced personal safety anxiety but not in the same degree as women did.
"There’s certainly a potential for retaliation and backlash when women speak out about these experiences," says Siegel.
The team hopes that this study along with future research surrounding this topic will create more awareness and spark change.
"In order to address this it just can’t come from other women, it needs to come from the top down," says Siegel. "There needs to be policy and legislation in place to protect women from this kind of treatment."