London: Regularly watching television shows, films or advertisements that sexually objectify women and degrade them can may make you a sexist person, researchers say.
The findings showed that when people get habitually exposed to bikini-clad models draped over sports cars or scantily dressed actresses on television, they tend to see the female sex as a mere sexual object.
Such exposure makes them less likely to take a collective stance against such degrading exposure.
"The chronic exposure to objectifying media might lead to the dangerous assumption that such female portrayal is the norm, thus further reducing people's likelihood to react," said lead author Francesca Guizzo of the University of Padova in Italy.
Women are far more likely than men to be hyper-sexualised in advertisements, magazines, films and television, which influences the way women are treated in the society. This also affects women's psyche as well as their sense of self-worth, the researchers said.
"In many western countries, we are accustomed to being exposed to media images of undressed and sexy bodies often used as decorative objects or instruments to attract new consumers," Guizzo added.
The study emphasised the need to raise willingness in women to support protest action against female sexual objectification in the media.
According to researchers, sensitising campaigns could represent, at least for women, a powerful tool to raise awareness against sexualised images and unrealistic beauty ideals that are regularly shown on television and to motivate individuals to engage in collective action aimed at improving media portrayals of women.
The study was published in the journal Sex Roles.