Objectification of sexual minority women: Responses, consequences, and resistance

J Couns Psychol. 2019 Oct;66(5):519-533. doi: 10.1037/cou0000348. Epub 2019 Apr 15.


This study investigates responses to, consequences of, and resistance against objectification from the perspectives of sexual minority women in the United States. Data from 5 focus groups with 33 sexual minority women were analyzed using thematic analysis. Results revealed 13 themes and 49 subthemes. First, sexual minority women's responses to objectification included those described in prior research with heterosexual women, as well as novel responses not routinely assessed in prior research (e.g., critical examination), and the complex co-occurrence of responses (e.g., indignation and internalization). Second, participants identified deleterious consequences that were consistent with prior theory and research as well as consequences that reflected resilience and growth from working through objectification. Finally, participants articulated personal, relational, and identity-related forms of resistance against objectification. Sexual and gender identity processes were interwoven with resistance. These results highlight how centering sexual minority women's experiences can both corroborate and advance prior understanding of responses to and consequences of objectification. (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2019 APA, all rights reserved).

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Defense Mechanisms*
  • Female
  • Gender Identity*
  • Heterosexuality / ethnology
  • Heterosexuality / psychology
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Sexual Behavior / ethnology*
  • Sexual Behavior / psychology*
  • Sexual and Gender Minorities / psychology*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires*
  • Young Adult