Sexual Fluidity and the Effects of the Male Gaze.

Open Access
Cherry, Erica Jane
Area of Honors:
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Theresa K Vescio, Thesis Supervisor
  • Jeanette Cleveland, Honors Advisor
  • male gaze
  • objectification
  • sexual fluidity.
The present study researched the effects of objectification on sexual fluidity. It is proposed that if women who identified as heterosexual were objectified then they would respond to attractiveness ratings in a typically homosexual manner. Social distance was also tested to determine the degrees of contact participants would be willing to engage in with a photo of a woman. Participants were female college-aged students, typically freshmen. Participants engaged in either a “gaze” condition or a “no gaze” condition (the control condition). In the “gaze” condition the experimenter objectified participants in order to determine the effects on attractiveness ratings as well as social distance measures. The results showed that for each measure, there was no significant difference between the gaze and no gaze control condition. The attractiveness ratings were relatively consistent between each condition and in some cases the no gaze condition was likely to rate females as more attractive than the gaze condition. The social distance scale indicated that in both conditions, participants were not likely to flirt or hook up with another female. Thus, it is likely that objectification of women leads to an atmosphere of overall negativity and lower ratings of attractiveness in comparison to a no gaze control condition. Further research should be done to specifically determine the effects of objectification on conservative behaviors of women.