When do people "check out" male bodies? Appearance-focus increases the objectifying gaze toward men

Philippe Bernard, Sarah J. Gervais, Arianne M. Holland, Michael D. Dodd

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

16 Scopus citations


Objectification studies have mostly focused on why and how women are objectified, but relatively little is known about what drives the objectification of men. This article aims to examine the objectifying gaze toward men, which is operationalized in the present article as decreased focus on men's faces and increased focus on men's body parts (arms, chest, and stomach). We considered the role of appearance (vs. personality) focus and ideal body shape on the objectifying gaze toward men. Specifically, we instructed 65 participants (36 men) to either evaluate the appearance or the personality of men while their eyes were monitored. To assess the objectifying gaze, we examined dwell time (i.e., total time spent fixating on an area) on targets' face, arms, chest, and stomach as well as first fixation time (i.e., how quickly face, arms, and stomach were fixated relative to the onset of the image). Consistent with our main hypothesis, results indicated that appearance-focused participants looked at faces for less time and chests, arms, and stomachs for more time than personality-focused participants. Participants also looked at men's arms for more time for men's bodies with high (vs. average and low) ideal body shapes. We discus these results and their implications in the light of objectification and body perception theories.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)484-489
Number of pages6
JournalPsychology of Men and Masculinity
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2018


  • Eye tracking
  • Impression formation
  • Objectifying gaze
  • Person perception
  • Sexual objectification

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Applied Psychology
  • Life-span and Life-course Studies


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