Researchers from Wake Forest University shocked the world by discovering that men agree on what kind of women they find attractive: “thin and seductive.” Good thing they told me because I’m not sure Hollywood is getting that message across clear enough.
Going past that singular conclusion, there are some other interesting tidbits revealed in the study on finding consensus among attractiveness ratings. In a setup that I’m sure every college kid is wishing they’d got in on right now, researchers asked more than 4,000 people of both sexes to rate pictures of the opposite gender for how attractive they found them and what traits made those people attractive.
The results for the men were not so surprising: “Men’s judgments of women’s attractiveness were based primarily around physical features and they rated highly those who looked thin and seductive. Most of the men in the study also rated photographs of women who looked confident as more attractive.” The men in the study showed a high degree of consensus in this conclusion. But anyone who has read a ladymag or seen a movie in the past twenty years could have told you that. Men like beautiful women who appear to want to have sex with them?! Shock me, shock me, shock me with your deviant behavior. (Irrelevant but anyone else grow up quoting Empire Records like I did?)
The results for the women were more nuanced: “As a group, the women rating men showed some preference for thin, muscular subjects, but disagreed on how attractive many men in the study were. Some women gave high attractiveness ratings to the men other women said were not attractive at all.” While I’d like to give my sisters mad props for embracing a more diverse ideal, I think these results reinforce the findings of previous research that women place a higher emphasis on other aspects of a man rather than his looks. Like, for instance, his earning potential. One study even found that “the number and frequency of a woman’s orgasms is directly related to her partner’s wealth.”
So they’re shallow but we’re gold diggers. Lovely.
The researchers conclude that this emphasis on a narrow definition of attraction may be why women feel more pressure than men to conform to societal standards of beauty. In other news, chocolate is yummy and puppies are cute. My conclusion? This pretty much sums up Sex and the City.
What’s your experience? Does this explain Michael Douglass and Catherine Zeta Jones?