You’ve probably seen it countless times, whether you’re walking down the street or chillin’ at a cafe with your friends or just people watching. You’ll notice some guy–teenager, thirties, hell, even sixties–automatically turn his head to check out a woman’s backside as she walks by. Your boyfriend could be guilty of this too, and maybe you’ve seen it happen. Subtlety just flies out the window, doesn’t it? It’s cringe worthy and a little creepy, but apparently there’s some science behind it all.
According to Daily Mail, a new study has shown that while women are attracted to familiar faces, men are more turned on by people they haven’t seen before. This was concluded after male and female participants in the study were shown dozens of different faces. When the women saw the same man’s face multiple times, they liked them more. On the other hand, when men saw photos of the same woman multiple times, they started to become less attracted to them. The researchers believe that this dates back to the early days of man, when men sought out multiple mating partners so that he can produce as many offspring as possible.
“Men are geared to reproduce as much as possible and some take full advantage of that,” said Psychologist Dr Jane McCartney. “But from a practical point of view it doesn’t make sense to go round having lots of children with different women.”
Wow, no kidding. I suppose that if you can’t sex up some random woman on the spot, openly checking her out is the next best thing.
This study emphasizes everything I hate about evolutionary psychology. I don’t understand this obsession with relating everything back to the human race’s equivalent of an “awkward stage.” How often do these so-called studies, with sample sizes smaller than an overcrowded classroom, end up justifying everything that men do with super fun cavemen facts? Is evolution going to be used to explain away the grossness of CreepShots, a blog full of photos that men secretly snap of women’s bottoms and breasts? What about sexual harassment?
Even if there is some truth to these findings, they’re still incredibly limited. For example, will gay and lesbian men and women have the same responses? Could the fact that it is socially acceptable and encouraged for men to publicly objectify women’s bodies play a part in this research? Women notice bodies too, but is that just some inexplicable fluke because our cavewoman cousins were too busy picking berries?
While I can’t claim to know the ins and outs of human instinct, I can claim one thing: Societal norms have a huge impact on what we do, even the things we assume are natural reactions. And no matter if it’s all due to men’s evolutionary wiring or not, I still don’t like to be checked out so openly in public. It’s pretty damn awkward to be treated like the living, breathing equivalent to the Do She Got A Booty meme. The “but I’m a caveman” defense just doesn’t cut it for me.
What do you think of this research? Do you think that nature is stronger than nurture? Tell us in the comments!