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Objectification refers to the way in which one person treats another person as an object and not as a human being (in this sense, it is a synonym of reification). This is commonly used to refer to the way the mass media, in particular advertising, is perceived by some as portraying women as sex objects (although this treatment now increasingly also extends to men).

Self-objectification is a person's objectification of themselves, often in response to other people's attitudes to that person.

Objectivation is also the scientifical process of transforming something into an object of observation, carried on for example by disciplinary institutions or in human zoos. Michel Foucault showed how in disciplinary institutions such as the hospital or the prison the body was transformed into a subject of scientific knowledge, thus being objectified.

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