“I’m not a boob man or a butt man or a leg man, I’m a face man,” say LIARS. According to new research, no matter what a woman’s build, men spend more time looking at women’s bodies than they do their faces, which means that we can stop with this “anti aging” bullshit and just let our mugs turn into the face of the dead lady in the Overlook Hotel room 237 because no one will notice anyway. Let’s all quit trying together!
But it’s not only men who are focusing on women from the neck down; women do it to each other, too, according to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln study. Researchers figured this out by showing study participants photos of women, some of which were digitally altered to have “curvier” bodies (“curvy,” like “classy,” “sarcastic,” and “hipster,” has a meaning that has been so dulled by over and mis-use that it now means nothing, but context clues in this instance tell me that “curvy” doesn’t mean “all-over plus sized;” it means “boobies”). All study participants, regardless of their gender, spent more time caressing the photo ladies’ bodies with their eyes than they did focusing on their faces. Here’s USAToday on the research,
“We live in a culture in which we constantly see women objectified in interactions on television and in the media. When you turn your own lens on everyday, ordinary women, we focus on those parts, too,” says lead author and social psychologist Sarah Gervais of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.
“Until now, we didn’t have evidence people were actually doing that to women’s bodies,” she says. “We have women’s self-reports, but this is some of the first work to document that people actually engage in this.”
Which just gave me an idea for a kind of hacky joke: ladies, if you want your manfriend to stop forgetting things like your birthday and anniversary, write it on your tits. Hey-oh/sob.
But before you throw away all of your makeup and yell “NOBODY EVEN CARES IF I WAS BORN WITH IT OR IF IT’S MAYBELLINE!” here’s a grain of salt to take with this: the study involved 29 women and 36 men, a group so small that it would be almost impossible for it to be at all representative of the population. If subjects were drawn from a pool consisting of a public university community, the results would only reflect the attitudes and behaviors of a tiny slice of American culture and not a boob staring epidemic. And a lot of college kids are kind of awful.
Now that researchers have a handle on this new method of eye tracking as a way to gauge where subjects eyes rest, what would be truly interesting is a study that involved a much larger number of subjects across various age groups, regions, socioeconomic statuses, and education levels. Is habitual objectification the habit of the generation raised in the age of internet porn or the generation raised in an era when “peeping toms” were just harmless rascals? Do certain regions of the country have more difficulty keeping their eyes from migrating south? Or is everyone in America constantly sizing women up as either potential mates or potential mating competition and should we all move to mountains and completely dismiss ourselves from society? Either way, I’ll be wearing a hoodie today.