Men across the world have always been branded as the more superficial of the sexes. While there isn’t one study to prove this once and for all, it’s evident in our daily conversations and media representation.
When men are around better looking women, they tend to be more gentlemanly and attentive, sometimes even flirtatious. I was also told that for a guy to be attracted to a girl, she has to be a strong 8; whereas most girls are willing to settle for a 5 in terms of looks.
Of course this is just a blanket statement with no numbers to support it, but we can’t deny that pretty doesn’t come with privilege. A more provocative or sensual lady definitely has an advantage over the Plain Janes. This concept isn’t lost on the economy. Many businesses will only hire pleasant looking people for their front-line roles.
Somehow, I have always thought that men are easily attracted to sexy women too. Perhaps it’s because of all the jokes people make of men only thinking with their dicks. Perhaps it’s a prejudiced mindset that as a women myself, I’d like to think that we are less shallow than the other gender. But then again, women play the rating game too. Take for example the simple game of Shoot, Shag, Marry. We also subconsciously treat men differently based on how attractive they are. Imagine receiving a bouquet from a chubby old man compared to a chiseled young man; one comes across as creepy and the other, charming.
It’s also common to hear Singaporean females lament about how unfair it is that there are more good looking women than men in the country, and how lucky it is that guys have a better selection of the opposite sex. So ultimately the question is, do women put more importance on looks than guys do?
Many of women’s favourite hobbies or activities we like are based on superficiality as well. Shopping for clothes and accessories, going for manicures and pedicures, and the love of camera filters for making us look so flawlessly cute. Not that it’s a bad thing but at the base of it all, aren’t those all for satisfying our superficial needs or wants? Some will even say things like “no make up guys also wont like.”
As for men, there aren’t a lot to compare against. In a sense, men can beautify themselves in fashion and style and in recent years, more local men have started splurging on hair care too. But as vain as men can be, you have to admit than women do have a lot more options.
Chicks Vs Dudes
I saw this infographic recently that also tells of women being more shallow than men.
The infographic showed the behaviour of Tinder users based on a comprehensive study. Of all the statistics, one stood out for me: Women were most likely to swipe right on men in bathing suits compared to any other attire. Contrarily, men were least likely to swipe on women in bathing suits.
Similarly, women were more likely to send a message to men whose photos were of them in a bathing suit.
What this means is that in three categories of formal clothes, casual clothes, and bathing suits, women are most attracted to men in bathing suits whereas men were least attracted to women in bathing suits.
Does that mean that women are more superficial?
I decided to do a simple experiment with my colleagues, who are all Singaporeans and PRs in their twenties. I picked out 15 photos of men and women and asked 8 male and 8 females to tell me who they would swipe on for a prospective romantic partner and why.
What they didn’t know is that out of the 15 photos, some of the photos are of the same people, but dressed differently.
Are our Singaporean women really that superficial? And do we really have a misconception of our men being lustful? Here are my findings:
*Photos are taken for the purpose of this experiment only. We have censored the photos out of respect to the subjects and our readers.
The biggest similarity between both groups is their emphasis on facial appearance. When it comes to physical looks and making the best first impression, a person’s face is what attracts about 80% of them (13 out of 16) first. The other 3 were all girls and they gave a men’s dressing, overall presentation and vibe, and for one of them, the men’s arms as the first physical trait they look at.
There is a slight difference between the two groups when it comes to a person’s body or figure. Most of the guys didn’t seem to prioritise the women’s figure or ‘sexual assets’ and didn’t see it as a deal breaker, they can still accept a plus size women as long as she looks healthy and radiates confidence.
However, the girls were pickier on a men’s body. While 2 of them admitted that they would prefer a beach body (though it’s not a necessity), the other 6 would steer away from such men. Some of them felt that showing off his body in photos gives an impression that he’s overcompensating or even narcissistic – a trait that most Singaporean women doesn’t like. Some were quite specific such that they preferred men whose body is just the right size – he can’t be too bulky and he can’t be too scrawny either.
We Are Superficial Beings
Let’s face it: we are superficial. The experiment showed that men are the ones who are more accepting of a women’s size, and women are the ones who are more likely to see a men’s body as a deal breaker.
Then again, one could argue that there is also a societal expectation for women to live up to this superficiality – the ‘there’s no ugly women, only lazy ones’ notion. Society expects women to do what they ‘need’ to do to look beautiful. And over time, women take in this expectation as their own and expect the same in the opposite gender. Regardless, it’s obvious that we are superficial and do form impressions on people just on their looks alone because out of the 16 colleagues I polled, only about 5 of them found it hard to make a decision to swipe yes or not based on just one photo. Although that was the nature of the experiment, only those 5 mulled over it and double-checked if they could have more information.
Admittedly, my experiment is but a tiny representation of the local millennials, but it’s an insight into what our fellow Singaporeans look for in a romantic partner. And at least it gave me a sense of comfort that not all of us are that lustful or shallow.
Also read, The Ugly Truth: Not Everyone Is Beautiful.