Viewers’ Perceptions of Objectified Images of Women in Alcohol Advertisements and Their Intentions to Intervene in Alcohol-Facilitated Sexual Assault Situations
Alcohol-facilitated sexual assault is a serious problem on college campuses, and bystander intervention has been shown to be a successful method in reducing sexual assaults. Although there are a number of factors associated with individuals’ intentions to intervene in sexual assault situations, the media’s cultural scripts that link alcohol consumption to sexual success may play a role.
Alcohol advertisements, in particular, routinely portray women as sexual objects and often link alcohol consumption to sexual success; therefore, exposure to such content may be negatively associated with people’s intentions to intervene in alcohol-facilitated sexual assault situations. Thus, the current study investigated if exposure to and perceptions of objectified images of women in alcoholic beverage advertisements were associated with college students’ intentions to intervene in alcohol-facilitated sexual assault situations.
Undergraduate college students (N = 1208) were randomly assigned to view three alcohol advertisements that either included highly-objectified or low-objectified women, and then they reported their perceptions of the women in each of the alcohol advertisements and their intentions to intervene in sexual assault situations.
Results and conclusion
Hierarchical regression analyses indicated that individuals’ perceptions of alcohol advertisements moderate the relationship between exposure to objectifying alcohol advertisements and intentions to intervene in sexual assault situations.
Implications of the study
We know that a majority of alcohol advertisements use women’s sex appeal to sell their product, and many of these ads objectify women or include sexual connotations,” said Stacey Hust, associate professor in the college of communication and the study’s principal investigator, as per WSU News.
Our results suggest that exposure to this type of advertising coupled with use of alcohol in settings where bystanders are present has an effect on whether those bystanders intend to take steps to prevent or interrupt a sexual assault situation when it occurs.”