Cameron Diaz is a beautiful woman. This blogger stood just 10 feet away from her as she was seated at The Beverly Hills Polo Lounge in 2011. The thing I wanted to do was buy her a cocktail and complement her on how she maintains her toned body (she loves to show her arms). This year, Ms. Diaz said the words that I suspected she’d say: that she, and most women, love a complement. Some call this objectification, which has a negative connotation.
Bu, according to Psychology Today, Cameron Diaz is right, and objectification’s not a bad thing, so long as it leads to positive vibes for the woman.
In an article called “Do Women Want To Be Objectified,?” Juliana Breines (note: a woman) writes:
As an undergraduate at the University of Michigan, I studied self-objectification for my honors thesis research, which I conducted with Jennifer Crocker and Julie Garcia. We were interested in finding out how everyday experiences of self-objectification, in contrast to typically unpleasant lab inductions of self-objectification, might impact feelings of well-being. So we gave a group of female college students palm pilots programmed with questionnaires to carry around with them for two weeks. Surprisingly, we found that some participants seemed to benefit from their daily experiences of self-objectification. Those who were high in appearance-contingent self-worth, meaning that they based their self-worth on their appearance, and who had high self-esteem, were getting a boost because they also tended to feel more attractive in those moments when they self-objectified. But appearance-contingent participants who had low self-esteem experienced the biggest drop in well-being because they were more likely to feel unattractive in those moments.
In other words, the better a woman feels about herself, the more she enjoys being “objectified;” conversely, a low view of one’s self leads to a dislike of being “objectified.”
If you think about it, efforts to improve one’s appearance gain complements, which improves self-esteem, which then opens the door to want more complements – more affirmation of their good looks.
Like Olympic Skier Lindsay Vonn showing legs during her appearance on David Letterman:
This is something worth noting for those who have the really weird idea that complementing a woman is bad or undesirable. It’s not. But it may be that anyone who rails against such a, really, natural activity have serious negative esteem issues themselves.
Meanwhile, Cameron Diaz continues, as of this writing, to command $20 million per film.