I See Things Upside Down

I confess…this surprises me:

METHODOLOGY: Researchers led by Philippe Bernard presented participants pictures of men and women in sexualized poses, wearing a swimsuit or underwear, one by one on a computer screen. Since pictures of people present a recognition problem when they’re turned upside down, but images of objects don’t have that problem, some of the photos were presented right side up and others upside down. After each picture, there was a second of black screen before each participant was shown two images and was asked to choose the one that matched the one he or she had just seen.

RESULTS: The male and female subjects matched the photos similarly. They recognized right-side-up men better than upside-down men, suggesting that they saw the sexualized men as persons. On the contrary, the women in underwear weren’t any harder to recognize when they appeared upside down, indicating that the sexy women were consistently identified as objects.

CONCLUSION: People objectify women in sexualized photos, but not men.

I guess it strikes me as a little odd. Seriously, if I am having trouble recognizing you and the big difference is the picture is upside down? You have not made enough of impression on me. You are the object. If I can recognize you in different pics? You have cracked the “person barrier”. I do not understand how being able to recognize people upside down and right side up is more objectifying than being easily confused by an upside down pic. What am I missing here?

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