When researchers scanned the brains of some men looking at a photo of a bikini clad woman, sections of the brain that usually react to objects lit up and the part that usually turns on during social interaction de-activated. The men were literally de-humanizing the sexualized women pictured.
As we are repeatedly bombarded with sexualized images of women in the media, we are desensitized to the notion that half-naked women exist exclusively as eye candy and wank fodder. These images are not harmless; they affect the very real people who absorb them and the women with whom they interact. Those of us who aren’t sufficiently sexxayyy are rendered either invisible or complete wastes of oxygen, whilst conventional hotness cancels out our personhood. It’s quite a catch-22, when our looks are the barometer by which we are judged and valued.