“I Don’t Care About You as a Person”: Sexual Minority Women Objectified

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Abstract

This study investigates sexual minority women’s experiences of objectification in the United States. Data from 5 focus groups with 33 sexual minority women were analyzed using thematic analysis (Braun & Clarke, 2006, 2012). Results revealed 6 themes and 34 subthemes grouped into “manifestations of objectification: general and explicit intersections,” “immediate context of relational and situational characteristics,” and “broader context of oppression and privilege along gender and sexualities.” First, sexual minority women’s experiences of objectification included both general manifestations described in prior research with heterosexual women and manifestations of objectification that reflected intersections of systems of inequality based on sexual orientation, gender identity, race, ethnicity, culture, and age. Second, participants identified novel relational and situational characteristics of objectification. Finally, participants included experiences of stereotyping, discrimination, and dehumanization in their conceptualizations of objectification, connecting their experiences of objectification with broader dynamics of power related to gender and sexuality. Centralizing sexual minority women’s experiences, this study produced a fuller understanding of objectification experiences in general and of sexual minority women’s experiences in particular.

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