Women's bodies are viewed as objects

Images of attractive female bodies are viewed as objects by both men and women, new research has shown. Published in the Association for Psychological Science's journal Psychological Science, the study also found good-looking men are often seen as the people they are.

Investigators from the Universite libre de Bruxelles in Belgium wanted to find out whether people recognised sexualised men and women as objects on a basic level - and used a method of turning photographs upside down to see if this is the case.

The study showed that individuals recognised right-side-up men more than when the images were rotated, yet the same was not found for women.

This, the authors concluded, suggested males are viewed as people while females are looked upon as objects.

Philippe Bernard of the Belgian learning institute said: "What is motivating this study is to understand to what extent people are perceiving these as human or not."

Dr Jane McCartney, Chartered Psychologist, commented: "Almost from the start of life males and females have different perceptions of both themselves and of each other, little girls are often referred to by there appearance - 'a pretty little girl' 'what a beautiful face she has' - whereas boys are often described in terms of the characteristics - 'he's a forceful lad' or 'he's got his father's stubbornness'.

"So it can come as little surprise that the recent research finds that adult men and women are visually viewed differently, it's quite an ingrained, if mostly unconscious perception of one another."