When sex doesn't sell: using sexualized images of women reduces support for ethical campaigns

Bongiorno, R, Bain, P.G and Haslam, N (2013) 'When sex doesn't sell: using sexualized images of women reduces support for ethical campaigns.' PLoS ONE, 8 (12). e83311. ISSN 1932-6203

[img]
Preview
Text
14596.pdf - Published Version
CC BY 4.0.

Download (217kB) | Preview
Official URL: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0083311

Abstract

Images of scantily clad women are used by advertisers to make products more attractive to men. This “sex sells” approach is increasingly employed to promote ethical causes, most prominently by the animal-rights organization PETA. Yet sexualized images can dehumanize women, leaving an unresolved paradox – is it effective to advertise an ethical cause using unethical means? In Study 1, a sample of Australian male undergraduates (N = 82) viewed PETA advertisements containing either sexualized or non-sexualized images of women. Intentions to support the ethical organization were reduced for those exposed to the sexualized advertising, and this was explained by their dehumanization of the sexualized women, and not by increased arousal. Study 2 used a mixed-gender community sample from the United States (N = 280), replicating this finding and extending it by showing that behaviors helpful to the ethical cause diminished after viewing the sexualized advertisements, which was again mediated by the dehumanization of the women depicted. Alternative explanations relating to the reduced credibility of the sexualized women and their objectification were not supported. When promoting ethical causes, organizations may benefit from using advertising strategies that do not dehumanize women.

Item Type: Article
Divisions: School of Sciences
Identification Number: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0083311
Date Deposited: 17 Feb 2022 19:31
Last Modified: 18 Feb 2022 12:51
URI / Page ID: http://researchspace.bathspa.ac.uk/id/eprint/14596
Request a change to this item or report an issue Request a change to this item or report an issue
Update item (repository staff only) Update item (repository staff only)