Keep reading for FREE
Are there differences between men and women in terms of beauty-enhancing behaviors? According to new research published in Environmental Research and Public Health, there is an overlooked side to masculinity; women invest more time on cosmetic usage, whilst men spend more time exercising and bodybuilding.
“There is this widespread belief that men have to wait for (eternity) hours until their female partners (finally) get ready. Usually, there is a kernel of truth in such shared worldviews because they often derive from actual world observations. But does such common knowledge perfectly reflect reality? As a woman myself, I always wondered if most women do indeed spend so much time on their attractiveness,”
“Or maybe it is just the distorted image created by all the ads, Hollywood movies, and TV series? After all, many studies provide evidence that being perceived as physically attractive by others (and oneself) is beneficial in multiple ways, both for women and men. So do modern men ‘don’t even try’ to enhance their beauty because it is ‘only a female’ thing to do? Luckily, in moments of doubt, science comes in.”
Women are more likely to use make-up and personal care products to improve their appearances. This does not, however, preclude men from engaging in other behaviours that may improve their appearance, such as muscle building. The increased media focus on male physique in recent decades coincides with evolutionary theories that emphasise the role of male upper body strength in intra- and inter-sexual competition. Women, for example, have more positive attitudes toward muscle, which may explain why men are more interested in their muscularity.
Kowal and her colleague Piotr Sorokowski investigated how men and women attend to their appearances, as well as how much time each sex devotes to improving their appearances, in two studies. The first study recruited 121 people aged 18 to 49 using qualitative research methods. Participants were asked two open-ended questions, specifically: what do people do to improve their physical attractiveness? How do you improve your appearance?
The researchers narrowed down the responses to the eight most common beauty-enhancing behaviours participants shared, which included:
Study 2 enlisted 62 participants ranging in age from 20 to 67 and asked them to keep an online diary of their beauty-enhancing habits for one week. Thirty-three people responded to each of the outlined questions on all seven days, with the average number of daily diary entries being 3.76. On the first day, demographic information (age, gender, and education) was provided.
Participants also completed the NPI-13 and indicated their self-perceived physical attractiveness (e.g., how attractive would you rate yourself?) and daily intensity of improving their appearances. The appearance-improving scale included eight questions that assessed the eight different types of beauty-enhancing behaviours identified in Study 1. Participants specifically indicated the number of minutes (ranging from 1 min to 6 hrs) they spent on each activity per day. Over the next six days, self-perceived physical attractiveness and daily intensity of improving appearances were also assessed.
“First of all, our study highlights that ways to achieve a good look vary between both sexes. While in general women focus on stereotypically female activities that increase their appeal, such as putting on makeup, men may be more interested in more masculine activities, such as bodybuilding or even caring for their hair,”
“Secondly, when we narrow the definition of beauty-enhancing behaviors only to those stereotypically perceived as female, unsurprisingly, women appear to spend more time improving their looks. However, when we broaden the definition to include various activities – including those stereotypically connected with masculinity, like cardio or physical exercise – the sex difference might decrease or even disappear!”
The researcher added, “Modern masculinity is evolving. It becomes culturally more and more acceptable for men to admit they want to look physically attractive and attend to their attractiveness.” With regard to study limitations, she noted, “Although our study is innovative, as it utilizes a diary design (i.e., participants filled the diary each day for seven days, reporting all the activities they performed on the given day that were aimed to increase their attractiveness), the sample size warrants caution when drawing any general conclusions."
"Future studies should investigate this matter on larger and more diverse samples. To address the limitations of this study, my team and I conducted large cross-cultural research on physical-enhancing behaviors. We recruited 107,715 participants from 175 countries, so please, stay tuned for the results of this research!”
“We observed that individuals who perceive themselves as more (vs. less) attractive spend more time improving their looks. As our study is correlational in nature, future research could investigate what a cause is (and what is a consequence). For example, is it that the belief of one’s attractiveness stems from intensified self-care, or instead being beautiful leads to increased efforts to preserve one’s beautifulness? Or perhaps, they are so interrelated that it is like this conundrum: ‘Which came first: the chicken or the egg?’.”
The research, “Sex Differences in Physical Attractiveness Investments: Overlooked Side of Masculinity”, was authored by Marta Kowal and Piotr Sorokowski.
MORE LIKE THIS
Ready for the next level?
Read Like a Pro
Explore the World’s
Take Your Ideas
Just press play and we take care of the words.
No Internet access? No problem. Within the mobile app, all your ideas are available, even when offline.
2 Million Stashers
Great interesting short snippets of informative articles. Highly recommended to anyone who loves information and lacks patience.
This app is LOADED with RELEVANT, HELPFUL, AND EDUCATIONAL material. It is creatively intellectual, yet minimal enough to not overstimulate and create a learning block. I am exceptionally impressed with this app!
Best app ever! You heard it right. This app has helped me get back on my quest to get things done while equipping myself with knowledge everyday.
Don’t look further if you love learning new things. A refreshing concept that provides quick ideas for busy thought leaders.
I have only been using it for a few days now, but I have found answers to questions I had never consciously formulated, or to problems I face everyday at work or at home. I wish I had found this earlier, highly recommended!
Great for quick bits of information and interesting ideas around whatever topics you are interested in. Visually, it looks great as well.
Brilliant. It feels fresh and encouraging. So many interesting pieces of information that are just enough to absorb and apply. So happy I found this.
Even five minutes a day will improve your thinking. I've come across new ideas and learnt to improve existing ways to become more motivated, confident and happier.
Read & Learn
Access to 200,000+ ideas
Access to the mobile app
Unlimited idea saving & library
Unlimited listening to ideas
Downloading & offline access
Claim Your Limited Offer
Get Deepstash Pro
75% OFF | 1-Year Pro Subscription