Sex Objects are not People

This video was going around on Facebook lately and it brought up an issue that has been on my mind ever since I viewed it. She talked about a study that performed brain scans on men while showing them pics of women in bikinis vs pics of women dressed modestly. I found it interesting so I did a little research and found that there were a couple of studies performed by Susan Fiske and her team at Princeton University.

The studies show that the area of the brain that deals with tools becomes active when looking at women in bikinis (and presumably any other provocative dress). They were surprised to find that the part of the brain that is used when we think about another person’s intentions was completely inactive in some instances. Fiske said. “The lack of activation in this social cognition area is really odd, because it hardly ever happens.”

This shows that the provocatively dressed women were not thought of as actual people, but only as objects. This is no moral judgement on the men involved in the study, as it was nothing that they were in conscience control of, but it shows we are hard-wired this way. The obvious significance of this is the point made in the video about modesty and how others perceive you. It is true that this doesn’t excuse rude or evil behavior on the man’s part, but it also tells the woman she should not be surprised if she gets this reaction.

I was thinking about other implications.

If you look at this through an evolutionary lens it makes sense one way but not another. From the male side it makes sense because according to evolution rape is a perfectly fine way to get your genes into the next generation. If you do not see the woman as a person it would make it easier to abuse her. From the female side it would seem that modesty would be a survival trait. If they stayed covered-up they would be able to relate more as a person and have less of a chance of being violated and possibly injured or killed in the process.

If you look at this through a Biblical lens you see the instructions of I Timothy 2:9-10 and I Peter 3:2-5 to dress modestly, because true beauty comes from within, in a different light. If men look on the outside they see objects, if they look on the inside they see people. Yet another small example from modern science that shows the Bible knows best.

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