Website of Science Fiction Writer Ron Collins

Sexualized Images – More or Less

Subtitled: Let’s See What the Search Engines Do With That Title, eh?


Back a week or two ago, Jenn Reese tweeted a link to an article that described a study that observed a relationship between the amount of a woman’s body a man observed and how competent they thought that woman might be. More body (more sexualized), less competent to act and plan and think. More face, more capable in those mentally-driven activities. In addition, more body (more sexualized), more in need of protection. More face, more able to fend for themselves (or I guess, more in need of tackling or whatever).

I suggested this was perhaps evolutionary in nature–by that I meant that it seems logical that a primitive male, upon seeing a female body, might be driven into protect mode. These were the established roles of the time. In addition, bodies in general–especially unclothed–are more vulnerable in general, so it takes a deeper pathology (I suggest) to want to do them any harm.

Anyway, there’s that.

I could be wrong on my hypothesis, but it made sense at the time.

But then two days ago, Lisa–my beloved spouse and partner for absolute life and beyond–sent me this link to another study that shows females who’s faces are more made up (sexualized) are perceived as more competent than those who are not.

What the ????

What are we supposed to think about this turn of events? Is the sexualization of women disenfranchising or is it empowering? Seriously? I’m completely confused here. [grin]

In all seriousness, I’m smart enough to know I don’t know much of anything for sure on these subjects. I just find them interesting to think about. However, I would suggest one thought with regard to the second article–which shows women who were more made up were perceived as more competent–to be universal. I mean, physical appearance has always been important to mens’ success, also. CEO’s were expected to be tall and thin. Sure, you could find CEOs who weren’t, but that wasn’t the norm, not the template. Generals were expected to be rugged and craggy. Quarterbacks are expected to be athletic and pretty. You get the idea. How a person looks has _always_ influenced how people perceive their intellect, regardless of whether they are male or female.

The difference is that females actually have a tool at their disposal, that being make-up. They can enhance thier appearance and still be within the norm of society.

My ugly, however, must pretty much stay out and exposed for all to see.

Is this fair?


But color me not surprised at all that a study found more attractive and professionally presented people were considered to be more intelligent.

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