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Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Body Parts: Men Are "Martyred To Feminine Motion"

"Take a picture, buddy. It will last longer." 

 Obama caught in the act.

Everyone knows men love the body parts of women. Boobs and buns and curves of females turn the eyes of ordinary men and sometimes transform them into rabid, wolf-whistling carnivores of female flesh. I've heard guys many times discuss their favorite parts as if they are shopping for prime cuts. They even describe their preferences for women with statements such as "I'm a big breast man" or "I'm a fool for shapely legs" or "I'm a firm butt beast."

However, did you know that people process men and women differently? Maybe the male "wolf" is a victim of genetics. Science confirms that when casting our eyes upon an object, our brains either perceive it in its entirety or as a collection of its parts. A study reported in the European Journal of Social Psychology in 2012 found women are more likely to be picked apart by the brain and seen as parts rather than a whole, whereas men are processed as a whole rather than the sum of their parts.

(Sarah J. Gervais, Theresa K. Vescio, Jens Förster, Anne Maass, Caterina Suitner. 
"Seeing women as objects: The sexual body part recognition bias."  
European Journal of Social Psychology, 2012)

This study provides clues as to why women are often the targets of sexual objectification.

To test the idea, Sarah Gervais, a psychologist at the University of Nebraska, and her colleagues carried out two nearly identical experiments with a total of 227 undergraduate participants. Each person was shown non-sexualized photographs, each of either a young man or young woman, 48 in total.

After seeing each original full-body image, the participants saw two side-by-side photographs. One was the original image, while the other was the original with a slight alteration to the chest or waist (chosen because these are sexualized body parts). Participants had to pick which image they'd seen before. 

The results were consistent: they showed a clear schism between the images of men and women. 
Women's sexual body parts were more easily recognized when presented in isolation than when they were presented in the context of their entire bodies. But men's sexual body parts were recognized better when presented in the context of their entire bodies than they were in isolation.

Gervais said, "The subjects in the study's images were everyday, ordinary men and women … the fact that people are looking at ordinary men and women and remembering women's body parts better than their entire bodies was very interesting. Everyday, ordinary women are being reduced to their sexual body parts.This isn't just something that supermodels or porn stars have to deal with."

Also notable is that the gender of participants doing the observing had no effect on the outcome. The participant pool was evenly divided between men and women, who processed each gender's bodies similarly: Regardless of their gender, perceivers saw men more "globally" and women more "locally."

"It's both men and women doing this to women," Gervais said. "So don't blame the men here."

 (Stephanie Pappas. "Our Brains See Men as Whole 
and Women as Parts." LiveScience. July 25, 2012)

According to Gervais, "It (the difference in perception) could be related to different motives. Men might be doing it because they're interested in potential mates, while women may do it as more of a comparison with themselves."

Gervais also theorized that the media is a prime suspect for the variance in processing. She said, "Women's bodies and their body parts are used to sell all sorts of products, but we are now for everyday, ordinary women, processing them in a similar way."

Michael Goff, senior lecturer in advertising at the University of Nebraska, said the study is important. Yet, he believes advertising doesn't cause the preferences. "Advertising doesn't do anything magical with that (process). It just exploits it," he said.


My Take

If both men and women "see" body parts when they look at females, maybe humans practice this sexual objectification while seeking standards of a learned, internalized beauty. Once indoctrinated by media and by fashion, men seek to find these exemplars of sexuality while women learn to promote the parts of their bodies to help achieve the criterion. Both sexes compare feminine forms and all their various "parts" to learned images. This process promotes similarity of form and a very narrow view of social acceptance.

So much emphasis today is placed upon the societal "ideals" of feminine attraction. From a very young age, women are conscious of the need for being accepted as a "beauty." In order to reach this goal, they spend huge amounts of time and money to become a collection of beautiful parts. Many devote too much time to "becoming someone" with model-like features, a person nature did not intend them to become.

For example, a woman grows up with mounds of widely endorsed products she regularly uses to enhance each feature of her body. Many ladies are not satisfied until they believe they have honed their physiques and features into the closest match to an unrealistic and indefectible model of attraction they see in magazines and in film. In doing so, they chase fantasy, a distortion that isn't necessarily wholesome.

I doubt if men, especially, will ever stop their pursuit of staring at women's parts. We are simple creatures focused on sports, beer, and T&A who are obsessed with testosterone-driven images. Show us a "part" and we will make fools of ourselves trying to press the lovely picture indelibly into out weak memories.

Do men stare at women? Undoubtedly. Songwriters have written lyrics to "girl watching." Mark Ireland, spokesman for Kodak Lens Vision Centers, and his researchers found in a poll of 3,000 people that the average man will spend almost 43 minutes a day staring at 10 different women. That adds up to 259 hours - almost 11 days - each year, making a total 11 months and 11 days between the ages of 18 and 50.

("Men Spend a Year Staring at Women." The Telegraph. August 04, 2009)

 
It is amazing that females are just as bad as parts-driven males to judge the "junk" of others within their species. Could it be that the gals are so bent on comparison that they wish to keep a list of their standing in a race for acceptance? In other words, do girls constantly compete against each other in their own public beauty contest?

I'm a man. Don't ask me. But, maybe this "contest" is the preferred sport of women, a "skin" sport that seeks competition and finds rewards in recognition. 

I must admit I love female parts, and I am guilty as the next man of looking at them. This doesn't make me different from other American males, does it? I know some men claim they don't ogle or even admire the machinery of a beautiful woman. I tend to worry about the genetics of these guys and wonder if they are lying just to boost their gentlemanly reputations.


Anyway, I do think beautiful eyes, lips, and hands are very sensual features, especially when a woman combines them with her feminine flexibility and natural, healthy physique to accentuate these "parts." In a dumb sports analogy, it's kind of like athletes without all the essential tools learning to manipulate their best features and skills so as to be invaluable in their roles. Nothing is hotter than a sexy woman "in motion."

And, who can measure the beauty of the attractive smile, the sultry voice, and the sweet soul of a genuine female? These "parts" can be just as alluring as popular erogenous zones. OK, OK ... I'm guilty of objectification to the degree of believing I do find attractive women have some features that "pull my eyes" and stimulate my imagination. I just don't think many women realize men possess a great variety of tastes and most find no single model of a female the "best."


I knew a woman, lovely in her bones,
When small birds sighed, she would sigh back at them;
Ah, when she moved, she moved more ways than one:
The shapes a bright container can contain!
Of her choice virtues only gods should speak,
Or English poets who grew up on Greek
(I'd have them sing in chorus, cheek to cheek.)


How well her wishes went! She stroked my chin,
She taught me Turn, and Counter-turn, and stand;
She taught me Touch, that undulant white skin:
I nibbled meekly from her proffered hand;
She was the sickle; I, poor I, the rake,
Coming behind her for her pretty sake
(But what prodigious mowing did we make.)
 

Love likes a gander, and adores a goose:
Her full lips pursed, the errant note to seize;
She played it quick, she played it light and loose;
My eyes, they dazzled at her flowing knees;
Her several parts could keep a pure repose,
Or one hip quiver with a mobile nose
(She moved in circles, and those circles moved.)


Let seed be grass, and grass turn into hay:
I'm martyr to a motion not my own;
What's freedom for? To know eternity.
I swear she cast a shadow white as stone.
But who would count eternity in days?
These old bones live to learn her wanton ways:
(I measure time by how a body sways.)




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