From babe to bitch
Experiencing sexual objectification is a prevalent part of many women’s every-day lives. Studies have examined the effect of experiencing such pervasive objectification on women’s mental health and self-concepts (Fredrickson & Roberts, 1997; Swim, Hyers, Cohen, & Ferguson, 2001; for a review see Moradi & Huang, 2008), but little research has examined men’s reactions to women who reject this treatment. Two studies examined the role of system threat (Jost & Hunyady, 2005) on men’s beliefs in and perceptions of sexist and patriarchal ideals after witnessing the objectification of a woman. Study 1 investigated the effect of system threat on men’s responses to measures of sexism and system justification. Study 2 examined the interaction between race and rejection type on these same measures. It was expected that men who viewed an interaction in which a woman rejected sexual objectification would endorse sexist ideals more when they were primed with system threat as opposed to no threat prior to viewing the interaction. It was further predicted that men would endorse sexist principles the most when women actively rejected objectification and that this effect would be moderated by race. Specifically, it was expected that Asian women who actively rejected would lead men to show the greatest endorsement for sexism whereas Black women who actively rejected would lead men to show the least endorsement for such ideals. The results did not provide support for the hypotheses of Study 1. Specifically, the results of Study 1 indicated that there were no differences between participants in the system threat and no system threat conditions on the dependent variables of interest. The results of Study 2 were also inconsistent with hypotheses. Specifically, no evidence was found to support the moderating role of race. Additionally, there was no support for an interaction between race and rejection type. Consistent with Czopp & Monteith (2003), results did indicate that participants viewed the female target less positively when she used active versus passive rejection strategies. These results suggest that perceptions of female targets of sexual harassment vary as a function of the strategies they use to reject such treatment.