I've done a bit more thinking about the study I wrote about yesterday. The more thinking I did, the less sense the study made as useful scientific endeavor. Think about it. Very small number of test subjects, apparently only pictures of "sexy bikini-clad women" were used, and this was the basis for certain assumptions (I won't call them "conclusions" though that seemed to be what the author wanted us to infer).
The test did show that a certain part of the brain of these particular young (they were all college age) men reacted to the visual stimuli. That part of the brain is the area that goes active when a man is contemplating using some device to accomplish a task. This implies something, obviously. I think the study's author made a huge leap from that observation to a man's objectification of women. She, the author, then goes even further by saying this may be linked to behavior of some men toward women in the workplace.
I have to wonder if she might have easily proved this assumption with a simple test. Show the same men pictures of women, dressed properly for office work (for example), while watching what areas of the brain "light up" (her term). That was not done, apparently.
I thought of other tests that could have easily been run:
Show the men these pictures of bikini-clad women.
Show them these pictures.
In fact, maybe this last picture ought to have been shown to young women college students and see what part of their brains "lights up."
I first ran into women working in a previously all male work environment when I first hired on for Southern Bell in 1970. One of the women was in her mid forties, the other in her early twenties. Neither was particularly suited to the job nor having an easy time adapting to it. The interesting thing was the reaction of the men in the office. The younger one, though not especially pretty, was helped more often than the older one. I also noticed that the younger one sought help more often and seemed more at ease doing so.
The above behavior was repeated in every office I worked in over the 34 years I spent with the Bell System and its post-Divestiture manifestation. I also observed it at other businesses I visited or worked at. The women who feels more attractive will use that to their advantage. The women who do not feel that attractive will do more on their own. The same is true of men, in my opinion. This, of course, is not a scientific observation with controls in place and is completely subjective.
Still, we do behave differently when interacting with attractive people than unattractive people. We may flirt a bit, smile more, feel a little nervous around, more shy or bold, than we do with people we see as equally attractive or less attractive than ourselves.
It's only human.
A Night Unremembered
6 years ago