Sexy Women Make Everyone Feel Bad

It’s no shock that the portrayal of women in magazines makes women feel like dirt. But did you know images of hot chicks make men feel worse, too? Everyone knows that the way women are portrayed in our culture – sexy, skinny, tall – makes the average woman feel a bit like the gum I had to peel off my shoe this morning. When we look at magazine ads or watch TV shows, we women feel inadequate – and it’s no wonder, when the average woman model weighs up to 25% less than the typical woman and maintains a weight at about 15 to 20% below what is considered healthy for her age and height. But the 40,000 or so ads the average American is exposed to a year aren’t just affecting the girls. A new study coming out of the University of Missouri found that men react negatively to unrealistic ads, too. What’s interesting is it wasn’t images of hot men that got the guys feeling self conscious – it was images of hot women.

The research began by trying to see if men were as negatively affected by men’s magazines as women are by Cosmo and the like. Men that were given men’s magazines like Maxim had lower self image, which got the researchers to question exactly what about the magazines cause the drop in self esteem. So they showed men just the pictures of objectified women, men, and the articles and again checked their esteem levels. They found that, surprisingly, it wasn’t the images of idealized men that made the guys feel inadequate – it was the women. Even more surprising was that the male fashion group reported the least amount of body self-consciousness among the three groups – the guys couldn’t care less what the other men looked like.

If you’ve ever been in high school, it’s obvious why seeing a hot woman would make a less than ideal looking guy feel bad. I mean, what guy hasn’t choked when trying to talk to the head cheerleader? Attractive women are intimidating, and the mere sight of one is enough to cause any average joe to give themselves a quick once-over.

The theory is that a beautiful women makes a man self conscious because the he’s reminded that he’s not in her league – that is, they take one look at a hot girl and quickly realize there’s no way they’re good-looking enough to bang her. Since women have the larger investment in offspring, they tend to be considered the ‘picky’ ones, evolutionarily speaking. The men and their billions of sperm have to compete with other guys to convince a girl that they’ve got the genes to be worth it.

To test this theory, the researchers performed one more experiment. They broke the men into two groups – one received magazine layouts of sexually idealized females and the other received the same layouts with average-looking ‘boyfriends’ added to the photos, with captions about how the female models are attracted to the average-looking men. The men who looked at just the model were more self-conscious, presumably because when the other men saw the bombshells liked ‘normal guys,’ they no longer felt she was out of reach.

Personally, I’d like to see if images of hot men have the same effect on women. Despite the evolutionary argument, I think that women would have the same reaction to male models as men do to female ones. After all, you don’t hear a girl say “oh crap! I gotta go fix my hair!” when this guy walks in the room:

I want you. I need you. Oh baby – oh baby. Read more of my stuff over at Observations of a Nerd

215 thoughts on “Sexy Women Make Everyone Feel Bad”

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  2. Of course, the portrayal of attractive men doesn’t make men feel the same way. Studies show that women alone are physiologically capable of suffering.

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  3. The reason this is equated to looking like a whore is because that the only thing these women are looked at as providing is sexual pleasure… Anyone can do that… An example of comments seen many times when it comes to these women include things like, “what does her face look like?” and “Who cares?” Obviously this is not a respectable image.

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  4. From my point of view, sex is the most prominent issue in our contemporary lives because most of the American, Canadian people are still understood so that I think we should step back and review some Islamic resources which have been illustrating that for a long time.
    I absolutely do agree with some people who are respected the desire of sex, however we can interest doing that by Islamic Constitution.

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    • From my point of view, sex is the most prominent issue in our contemporary lives because most of the American, Canadian people are still misunderstood so that I think we should step back and review some Islamic resources which have been illustrating that for a long time.
      I absolutely do agree with some people who are respected the desire of sex, however we can interest doing that by Islamic Constitution.

      Reply
  5. From my point of view, sexy is the most prominent issue in our contemporary lives because most of the American, Canadian people are still understood so that I think we should step back and review some Islamic resources which have been illustrating that for a long time.
    I absolutely do agree with some people who are respected the desire of sex, however we can interest doing that by Islamic Constitution.

    Reply
  6. What this so called ‘study’ doesn’t take into account is that for over the past 25 years. The media has been pushing into the minds of boys and men that Men and their bodies are ugly and inferior to women’s. The general consensus is that men are ugly and women are beautiful. Women are cury and nice and men are stocky and unrefined. Boys are preached this everyday in school, the media and in education. Why would a man feel good about himself in anything in this country? He is constantly reminded of being a failure and unappreciated on every level.
    Nobody cares about the feelings of men and boys. That is why things are as they are and they are going to get a whole lot worse. Many women have it in their minds that men can be disposed of and somehow it will become a “woman’s” world. Indeed I would like to see this. Truely it would be interesting to see how humanity will deal with billions of disenfranchised, marginalized, unemployed, uneducated angry young men. If that is not a declaration to begin WW3 then I don’t know what to say. Nothing in the world is more frightning than an angry young man. But in this era, testosterone and male strength is seen as inferior and pointless too. The world will not truly change until boys and men are tended to as they should be. Women have been made into God in the usa/west. Thus as with any false God, they will lead humanity astray and to the edge of destruction. Women are the opposite of life and no man should worship them as anyhting other than what they are. But time has a way of balancing things.

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    • Howard,

      You’re right that we live in a society that doesn’t appreciate the very human need men have to discuss feelings. We’ve been taught from a young age to repress and repress some more. And instead of men changing this, we become our own worst enemy by demanding all the stereotypes be realized in how we interact with other men. Unfortunately, women demand these stereotypes, too. What’s worse, we can now add images of the bumbling, not-too-bright male in addition to the uncommunicative and violent icons that still abound. For example, it is understandable how the “girls are smart, boys are, well, boys” insult gained traction after the eons of women being intellectually repressed and not having parity. However, it’s gone too far in the media and is starting to smack of retribution, not to mention all of the damage it’s doing to a future generation of men.

      The answer isn’t violence, or a gender war on the part of men, but to end as many of the stereotypes as we can. Be an advocate for this, Howard. Make known to as many people as you can that men aren’t on earth to be manipulated for image or gain, but that they are full and complex emotionally as well as intellectually. Also that we’re all in this together: When women suffer, men suffer; when men suffer, so do women. I know, you may well be misunderstood, but you might get enough people thinking to change matters. I mean it, be that advocate and you’ll walk through life more enlightened than most.

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  7. No, I understand this article. I am more intimidated by hot chicks than hot guys – and I’m a girl. I find it easier to talk to hot guys because they tend to be less b*****.

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  9. I think guys should wear dresses in the magazines and girls should wear boxers, that way no one gets hurt!!!!!!! No one feels intimidated atleast thats my experience. I know this b/c i have been with many guys and girls. Experience=Muntastic

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  10. omg… soo true… just look at all the men in commercials, perfect body, clean shave, tall and handsome… such a disgrace!! everyone should be FAT and UGLY, that way no one will get hurt and offended!

    its the nature of the world, everyone is different, and if looks are not the strongest of one’s trades, maybe one can invest in beautiful brains, or character, charisma… there is soo much more to women than just looks…

    people should stride for perfection, as in physical, so in mental and emotional. if I want to impress somebody, as well as feel good myself, I shall make my best to look the best.

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  11. heck I don’t feel bad when around a sexy woman. I know what i can offer that girl and she would be a fool not to accept it now matter how sexy she is. Actually I do prefer sexy woman over the regular plain ones anytime.
    -Scat Man

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