Ladies can't agree on who's hot or not

Posted at 12:30 PM Jun 26, 2009

By Andrea Grimes

Finally, a survey that makes a bit more sense than that crap earlier this week about ugly babies. A Wake Forest/Queens College tag team survey has found that men are more likely to agree on what is empirically attractive than women are. From (half the) horse's mouth:

"Men agree a lot more about who they find attractive and unattractive than women agree about who they find attractive and unattractive," says Wood, assistant professor of psychology. "This study shows we can quantify the extent to which men agree about which women are attractive and vice versa."
The study of about 4,000 people shown photographs of presumably attractive and unattractive folks probably isn't surprising to anyone who's ever walked outside, seen an advertisement, witnessed a television show, oh, I dunno, been alive over the past fifty or so years. In our mass media culture, idealized women--and one specific, white-ish, busty, small-waisted, ideal--have been sexualized, coveted objects in advertisements, entertainment, even politics.

Is it any surprise, then, that heterosexual men can agree on what's "attractive" while women have more varied opinions on what they find visually appealing? For better or for worse, hetero ladies have been allowed to lust after a variety of ages, weights, sizes and shapes of men. From Sean Connery to Zac Efron to Denzel Washington, male sex symbols are a far more diverse bunch than the femmebot cookie cutter that's been used to sell everything from hamburgers to soap.

The characteristics men said they felt that "attractive" women were "thin and seductive.  Most of the men in the study also rated photographs of women who looked confident as more attractive." (But wait, I thought men hated confident women? AHHHBRAINBARF.)

It's all very, very tied up in the physical body:

"The study helps explain why women experience stronger norms than men to obtain or maintain certain physical characteristics," he says.  "Women who are trying to impress men are likely to be found much more attractive if they meet certain physical standards, and much less if they don't.  Although men are rated as more attractive by women when they meet these physical appearance standards too, their overall judged attractiveness isn't as tightly linked to their physical features."
So alas--even if Daniel Radcliffe does love his older (twentysomething, eep) ladies, he might still want them to be of a certain physical ilk ...


amrygma said:

Maybe guys want a lady who makes all the guys jealous, and a lady likes a fella who she knows nobody would steal?

Maybe it's profession related? Men have had differing occupations through the ages- a blacksmith versus a king, a soldier versus an architect, while women have only recently had roles in society aside from wife, mother, household professions (cooking, cleaning, sewing whether at home or for a business), and whore. And since men died off pretty easily (soldiers and professions in the pre-OSHA days), they had to compete to be a wife which unified our standards of beauty. Men had things to attract women (stability, safety, wealth) besides a pretty face that women couldn't obtain otherwise. So we've always had to balance a number of qualities in choosing a mate while men have really only had to think about how beddable we are and if we make babies well enough. I thin in time, female beauty will diversify. And I think it already has started.

Makes sense to me.

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