Reply to Comments on “Sarah Palin, a Nation Object(ifie)s

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Objectification, Sarah Palin, Dehumanization, Appearance focus

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In our original article, Sarah Palin, A Nation Object(ifie)s: The Role of Appearance Focus in the 2008 U.S. Presidential Election, we suggested that a focus on Sarah Palin’s appearance may have harmed the Republican ticket in the 2008 presidential election by leading others to objectify her(creating perception of her as less competent, warm, trustworthy, and generally less human) and potentially undermining her performance by inducing her own self-objectification. In this paper, we address several issues raised by Budesheim (2011) and Heldman and Wade (2011) in response to our article. Specifically, we fine-tune our definition of objectification, provide better evidence that Palin’s appearance was highly focused on, and address some alternative accounts (e.g., overcorrection) raised to account for our experimental findings. We conclude by reiterating the relevance of our research to this real-world situation, but heed the warning to keep our claims grounded with solid empirical and theoretical roots.

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Sex Roles, v. 65, issue 3, p. 173-176