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Sexual objectification is the act of treating a person solely as an object of sexual desire. Objectification more broadly means treating a person as a commodity or an object without regard to their personality or dignity. Objectification is most commonly examined at the level of a society, but can also refer to the behavior of individuals and is a type of dehumanization.
Although both men and women can be sexually objectified, the concept is mainly associated with the objectification of women, and is an important idea in many feminist theories and psychological theories derived from them. Many feminists argue that sexual objectification of girls and women contributes to gender inequality, and many psychologists associate objectification with a range of physical and mental health risks in women. Research suggests that the psychological effects of objectification of men are similar to those of women, leading to negative body image among men. The concept of sexual objectification is controversial, and some feminists and psychologists have argued that at least some degree of objectification is a normal part of human sexuality.
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