College Males Tend to Objectify Women Term Paper

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College Males Tend to Objectify Women

No matter what the atmosphere might have been at home, at college, the American male finds himself in an environment where he is surrounded with sexually-explicit stimuli, such as advertisements, posters, magazines, music and media. The age of the typical college male is when he finds himself dealing with raging hormones (both in himself and in his fellow female students). Pornography is readily available, as are female students; experimentation is the norm and aggressive sports are played or talked about. All of these have an effect on the general attitude of college males toward females.

The Women's Center at the University of Connecticut informs that after viewing pornography, men are more likely to report decreased empathy for rape victims, give shorter prison sentences in a mock rape trial, report believing that a woman who dresses provocatively deserves to be raped, report anger at women who flirt but then refuse to have sex, report decreased sexual interest in their girlfriends or wives, and report increased interest in coercing partners into unwanted sex acts. It is little wonder, therefore, that college males hold the above attitudes, which, when combined, reflect an objectification of women (VAWPP 1).Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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There is other research that suggests a correlation between exposure to sexually violent and sexually explicit material and an increase in negative attitudes toward women. Allen, Emmers, Gebhardt, and Giery (1995), for example, found a relationship between exposure to pornography and rape myth acceptance, particularly for violent pornography. The female victim is seen as responsible or at least partially responsible for her abusive treatment in the sexually violent media viewed. Other researchers, however, argue that sexually explicit material, such as pornography, does not cause negative attitudes toward women (Padgett, Brislin-Slutz, & Neal, 1989). A table concerning those attitutudes about pornography and its effects may be found in an article done for the British Ministry of Justice (Itzen, 5). This paper has a table listing all authors, their attitudes and findings concerning the effects of pornography. It is worthy of being looked at for the pure number and listing of studies which have been done. A similar one was done by the Minnesota Center Against Violence and Abuse (Mazurek 1999). The findings of each study has been set out in a table compiled by the British Justice Department for a universal look at the overall results of such a large amount of research. Padgett, Brislin-Slutz, & Neal's article, published in 1989 is one of the few articles presenting the opposite viewpoint to most, saying that pornography has no effect on the viewers.

In 2002, the book Understanding and Dealing with Violence: A Multicultural Approach, by Barbara Wallace and Robert T. Carter pointed out that, according to their research, 1 in 12 college males have raped women (Wallace 16). Even in the phrase "violence against women,' women are the object," they say, and the phrase has no stated subject. The phrase, although it describes the problem, objectifies women and allows the men who perpetrate the abuse to remain invisible. So college men escape the scrutiny and responsibility that they actually own. The authors go on to explain that our culture generally teaches "our young men that might makes right and that violence is an acceptable, perhaps even a valued form of male behavior." They also include the subject that this teaching values men's violence against other men. The book examines many forms of violence, including the rape experience of women (Wallace 165).

In the 2006 article entitled "Dating aggression, sexual coercion, and aggression-supporting attitudes among college men as a function of participation in aggressive high school sports," by the authors, Gordon Forbes, Leah Adams-Curtis, Alexis Pakalka and Kay B. White, they find aggressive college sports demonstrate a function in the aggressive and objectifying behavior of college males. Even though it has been criticized as sexist and a training ground for aggression against women, few empirical studies have been done of the relationship between dating aggression and aggressive sports. The authors studied 147 college men's self-reported sexual coercion and dating aggression. Men who had once participated in aggressive high school sports were compared with other men.

Those who had participated in aggressive high school sports engaged in more psychological aggression, physical aggression, and sexual coercion toward their dating partners, caused their partners more physical injury, had more sexist attitudes and hostility toward women, were more accepting of violence, were more rape myth accepting, and were less tolerant of homosexuality. Results indicate that participation in aggressive high school sports is one of the multiple developmental pathways leading to relationship violence (Forbes 2006 441).

Sexist attitudes and rape-supporting beliefs have long been linked to relationship aggression and sexual coercion. These same authors investigate how recent developments in the conceptualization and measurement of these variables are related to each other and how they are related to aggressive and coercive behaviors in an article entitled "First- and second-generation measures of sexism, rape myths and related beliefs, and hostility toward women." Second-generation measures of sexism and rape-supporting beliefs were found to be related to each other and to aggressive and sexually coercive behaviors in this study. Relationships between attitude measures appeared to be based primarily on shared belief systems, whereas generalized hostility toward women created relationships between attitude measures and aggressive behavior (Forbes 2004 236).

Martin Schwartz and Walter DeKeseredy have written two books focusing on college students' experiences with sexual assault and other forms of dating violence. Although there is overlap between the two books, the first emphasizes theory and the second describes their empirical research. The first book describes the ways in which men encourage other men to objectify women, thereby creating a climate in which sexual assault is viewed as appropriate behavior. The second chapter is the heart of the book: in it the authors describe several theories which explain why male peer support predicts sexual assault perpetration. They emphasize their own theory, and provide a detailed description of how patriarchy, rape myths, dating stress, male peer support, and heavy alcohol consumption contribute to date rape (Schwartz 224).

Body image and self-depreciation may be part of the reason for college campus rape. Various ecological and social changes college student experience during their first year create an overall evaluation of and changed orientation of the students' appearance. Body image may be influenced by increased exposure to peers in multiple contexts on campus. Another thing that may have a significant impact on students' body attitudes is residing in dormitories and going to parties and classes with their peers. Being in peer-dominated environments increases comparison of appearance to same-sex peers, and the presence of potential dating partners heightens self-consciousness. Campus organizations encourage attractiveness in appearance which may promote body image changes. Many tables and charts are available on page 18 of this article, entitled "Gender role development and body image among male and female first year college students." The charts show correlations among gendered personality traits and gender role attitudes, body image measurements, sex and ethnicity (Gillen 2).


Anthony Giddens and Isaac Balbus have both written books dealing with the Marxist theory of social norms that would have a bearing on the complex contemporary cultural emphasis on male behavior and domination (Balbus 1983). Giddens attacks the problem of power in a historical sense, with Marxism being the focus (1990).

Today, depictions of women who are objectified and degraded is often involved in sexually violent material, such as movies and television shows (Check & Malamuth, 1981 and 1983). Sexual and/or violent media has seen a trend to increased visual intensity and graphicness. Indeed, what was considered too graphic to receive an "R" rating a few decades ago is now considered tempered or mainstream by many. Emmers-Sommer asks about the impact of such graphic media on viewers' attitudes and behaviors in her article, "Love, suspense, sex, and violence: men's and women's film predilections, exposure to sexually violent media, and their relationship to rape myth acceptance" (2006 8).

Although motion pictures and related entertainment media are created for the mainstream, gender differences appear to emerge particular to content area. Specifically, women tend to react more adversely to movies involving violence and sex, while men hold a greater penchant for media that involve sex and violence. It has often been found that viewing sexually-violent media and films increases the likelihood for both sexes to believe that rape is caused by the victim's actions and frequent exposure desensitizes both men and women to rape (Goleman, 1985). Furthermore, frequent exposure to even still images, such as posters, that depict female sexuality results in male participants' attitudes being significantly more supportive of rape than men who are exposed to non-sexual stills (Lanis & Covell, 1995). Research finds that men enjoy viewing violent media. Lanis and Covell's studies confirm that men not only prefer themes of sex and violence in the media they view, but they are also more likely to indicate that they do not enjoy media when such themes are… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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College Males Tend to Objectify Women.  (2007, October 6).  Retrieved October 27, 2021, from

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