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She Looks like She’d Be an Animal in Bed: Dehumanization of Drinking Women in Social Contexts


The purpose of the present research was to examine the perceptions of women who drink in social contexts through the lens of dehumanization (Haslam 2006). Across three experiments, we manipulated the presence of alcohol by depicting a woman at a bar with a bottle of beer or a bottle of water and measured dehumanization. As hypothesized, women were dehumanized more in the alcohol condition than in the water condition by men (Experiments 1–3) and women (Experiments 2 and 3). Notably, the presence of alcohol compared to water had no impact on dehumanization of men (Experiment 2). Also, as hypothesized, perceived intoxication emerged as a significant mediator of the link between alcohol condition and dehumanization in Experiments 1 and 2, and alcohol quantity predicted greater dehumanization in Experiment 3. Extending the present work to prior work in this area, Experiment 3 also examined the links among alcohol, perceived sexual availability, and dehumanization, revealing that perceived sexual availability mediated the link between alcohol and dehumanization. Implications for theories of dehumanization, alcohol, and social perception as well as practical implications of these findings are discussed.

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We would like to thank Ellen Dudley for her assistance with data collection for Study 1. This represented a portion of her undergraduate honor’s thesis.

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Correspondence to Abigail R. Riemer.

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All of the research reported in the manuscript complies with APA ethical standards in the treatment of human participants. The Institutional Review Board of the University at which this study was conducted approved of the study and informed consent procedures.

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Riemer, A.R., Gervais, S.J., Skorinko, J.L.M. et al. She Looks like She’d Be an Animal in Bed: Dehumanization of Drinking Women in Social Contexts. Sex Roles 80, 617–629 (2019).

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  • Alcohol
  • Intoxication
  • Dehumanization
  • Sex
  • Gender