A few years ago, male college students at Princeton University participated in studies of how the male brain reacts to seeing people in different amounts of clothing. Brain scans revealed that when men are shown pictures of scantily-clad women, the region of the brain associated with tools, such as screwdrivers and hammers lit up.
Some men showed zero brain activity in the medial prefrontal cortex, which is the part of the brain that lights up when one ponders another person’s thoughts, feelings, and intentions. Researchers found that shocking, because they almost never see this part of the brain shutdown in this way.
And a Princeton professor said, “It is as if they’re reacting to these women as if they’re not fully human. It’s consistent with the idea that they are responding to these photographs, as if they were responding to objects, not people.
This is truly a remarkable video and refreshing message that this young woman is sending across—such a bold move in our current “liberized” culture. Not only her contrasting viewpoint, but also the studies mentioned in the video (one which I quoted above) are really fascinating.
lol, bikinis are not the reason men see women as less than human, as objects; our misogynistic culture raises men to think that way. This video puts the onus on women to cover our bodies and neglects to analyse what causes men to associate our bodies with ‘tools’ to be used and ‘things’ to be ‘handled’. I’m certainly not defending bikinis, as I am critical of femininity and its trappings, but that’s not even the conversation here. What’s happening here is that men are being given a get out of jail free card because people are interpreting these brain scans as evidence of innate brain sex differences that women need to cater to by changing our behaviour. No one is asking why it is that men think the way they do, it’s simply being accepted as a biological inevitability that they will see scantily clad women as fuck holes, and that women need to avoid being dehumanised by dressing “modestly”. I suggest we instead examine our culture that teaches men to view women as objects, and talk about how their male socialisation affects their thought patterns before we tell women to “dress modestly”.
Ahh finally some discussion, thank you! :)
I think that in all honesty it’s really hard to pinpoint a specific reason as to WHY a man neurologically reacts the way that he does to scanty images. I don’t think it’s as simple as saying “men are raised to objectify women” and putting all the blame on the man. That gives off a sort of implication that it is society’s or the parents obligation to teach the son to objectify women. Isn’t that quite the opposite of what happens? Children are raised and taught to respect everyone. Why is it that people always say the man is taught to objectify women.. but not women too?
When is the last time you picked up a popular magazine such as Cosmopolitan or Seventeen? What do you see? Majority of the magazine is filled with women. Woman’s magazines objectify women just as much as much, if not more, than men’s magazines showcasing pornographic images of women. Browse through female Tumblr blogs. What do you see? You see many images of women being objectified on these blogs. Fitblrs, boho, beach genre blogs. Women objectify women even more than males do, and the majority of this objectification comes from the MEDIA. Your own social culture, the one YOU BASK IN AND SOAK UP AND BEG FOR MORE, is what is providing you with all of this stimuli. Your precious media, magazines, Tumblr, books, movies, TV shows all reinforce your habits. It’s completely unfair to simply put the blame on the male species for being “taught” to objectify women when both genders are exposed to the kind of social-media content that femanists are complaining about that has “corrupted the male mind”. Unfortunately this is never going to stop because society…. YOU THE CONSUMER… enjoys seeing this kind of objectifying content. You want more and more of it. You want more information on how to “look sexier” and “blow his mind” and “attract his attention”, etc. This is the kind of content you CRAVE. Well, these are the consequences of the media responding to your demands. Yes, this completely implies that you want the media to show you content that objectifies women because women WANT to be objectified. They want to show off. They WANT to attract male attention and they want to be told they’re sexy and beautiful. But then they turn around and complain when they receive that kind of attention by exposing themselves in a way that DOES attract males. It’s completely hypocritical. Obviously this is no excuse for ANYONE to commit crimes against another person whether it’s male or female, but you can’t expect a male to look at you half naked and NOT have a neurological reaction in his brain which is purely sexual and debilitating to an extent. It’s like danging a cocaine needle in front of cocaine addict and telling him “don’t touch that needle, don’t do cocaine, respect the needle, leave it be, don’t think about the needle." Yeah, good luck with that!!
Not only that, but it really can’t be overlooked that the male brain is anatomically and physiologically structured different—it performs and reacts differently compared to the female brain. Even differences in behavioral patterns in newborns and young children is evident. This clear distinction cannot be attributed to simply “the males are taught to behave this way”, they do so naturally because of their biochemical makeup. The video describes how, for some men, seeing images of scanty women INHIBITED their brain function. Can you imagine looking at something which debilitates you so much that you can’t make correct judgement calls? This is the direct consequence of a stimulus, and that stimulus being seeing someone half naked. Take a moment and let that sink into your head.
This video also discusses the differences between the associations of women who are dressed scantly to those who are dressed modestly. Seeing a woman in a bikini immediately engages part of the male brain involved in possessive actions while seeing a woman dressed modestly engages part of the male brain involved in non-possessive actions. What’s important to take from this is that it shows that men don’t simply “objectify women” because they’re women. No. It shows that males DO respect women who are modestly dressed, but become aroused and sexually provoked when seeing a women who is dressed in a provocative manner. This all lines up with Darwinism and our evolution as an entire species.
I believe that a huge part of a male’s reaction to sexual stimuli IS innate, but ALSO involves social-cultural influences. There are countless studies done on humans and on chimps that associate sexuality and brain activity to our evolutionary path. I think it would be completely naive to think that your stimulus on someone else CAN’T have a negative impact. Simply looking at a picture can leave someone with motivation to act, or can leave them feeling like crap about themselves and leave them to act in negative ways. In SOME people, no doubt, it can influence them to act out in criminal ways. Which begs the question, would this crime had happened if I was more cautious?
What I hate the most about rape-culture is the lack of precaution and the lack of teaching EVERYONE to stay safe. A crime is a crime regardless if it’s someone getting kidnapped, mugged, raped, or murdered. These crimes are not the victim’s fault—BUT THAT DOES NOT MEAN THE VICTIM CAN’T TAKE EXTRA MEASURES TO LOWER THEIR RISK. Getting pissy because someone tells you not to dress so skimpy at a college frat party and attributing it to “rape culture” is completely foolish. Could your decisions to 1) go to that party alone 2) get insanely intoxicated 3) dress really skimpy elevate your risks of being violated? Yes. Could skipping the party or making sure you have friends around you at ALL times, not drink, and maybe dress more modestly lower your risk of being violated? Whether it be rape, getting mugged (because you can’t run in high heals or are wearing expensive jewelry), getting kidnapped (because you were too drunk to realize what was going on). YES YES and YES.
I feel like right now we’re waking up and seeing that we’ve pushed the boundaries a little too far with cultural values. And instead of blaming ourselves for the mess that we’ve created, for the crimes that are now increasing in number, for the indignities we act against ourselves and others, we’re desperately scurrying to push the blame on someone else. If, as a culture, women don’t want to be objectified then perhaps the solution is to stop wanting to be the center of someone’s sexual attention, stop wanting to be desired in a sexual manner, stop being desperate to show off as much flesh without being naked in order to grasp the attention of another human being. Instead of blaming others for “teaching men to objectify women talk about how male socialization affects their thought process” why not tell society to stop being hypocrites and change their own thought process! THIS INCLUDES EVERYONE AND EXCLUDES NO ONE.
This is a really really bold message but I’m just so sick and tired of the hypocrisy. And I was just so extremely excited for someone like Jessica Rey to speak out on issues like these with an unpopular opinion backed up with scientific research on human behavior patterns and neurological activity. I really hope there’s more people out there like her who will stand up against cultural indignities and help bring an end to the social stigma surrounding both modesty and the sexual revolution.
- V. S. Ramachandran, Wired for Intimacy: How Pornography Hijacks the Male Brain
This is one of the most important things I’ve ever reblogged