Attraction & the 3rd Shift
Beauty work is a “third shift” of work devoted to her physical appearance
“Biology largely determines physical attraction toward certain physical characteristics (i.e., heterosexual males preferences toward wider hipped females for reproductive reasons), sexual attraction is socially determined (Charles, 2011; Lewis, Russell, Al-Shawaf, & Buss, 2015). Social and cultural factors like educational attainment, socioeconomic status, and age influence the perception of desirability” (Toledano, 2013)
[We have socially redefined what the biologically predisposed markers of attraction are.]
Research generally finds that financial prospects and status in a long-term mate are a higher priority for women than for men (Buss, 1989, Buss, 2016; Buss & Schmitt, 2019; Fales et al., 2016; Walter et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2018; Williams & Sulikowski, 2020).
Academically Attractive — Michael M. Kasumovic et al., 2021
“Performance in a university course can affect how an individual perceives their own self-worth (Crocker et al., 2003); especially since grades are an objective marker of performance & placement within a hierarchy.”
Height — Valentova et al., 2016
A study focusing on relative body height showed that heterosexual individuals prefer a man to be taller than a woman, while non-heterosexual individuals prefer partners of similar height (Valentova, Bártová, et al., 2016).
Anderson & Escobar, 2022
“Men rated women as more desirable than women rated men, consistent with a considerable amount of literature which suggests that men are generally more romantically interested in women than women are in men (Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Schmitt, 2003)” (Anderson & Escobar, 2022)
Attractiveness (Bradshaw & DelPriore, 2021)
[Assume Direct Quotes]
Attractiveness was more closely associated with women’s status (Buss et al., 2020) & women strategically altering their appearance to garner benefits or avoid costs (Krems et al., 2020).
Higher attractiveness predicted increased likelihood of potential female pledges receiving a bid in high-status sororities (Krendl et al., 2011).
Attractive women are also more likely to receive various forms of help from strangers (Benson et al., 1976; Bhogal et al., 2016).
Attractive female servers earn more tips from customers than do less attractive female servers (Parrett, 2015).
Attractive professors are evaluated more favorably by students (Liu et al., 2013).
Women working in sales, those whose attractiveness had been enhanced by wearing cosmetics sold more products compared to when they were not wearing cosmetics (Kulesza et al., 2014).
Women are “rated as having higher earning potential when they were pictured wearing (versus not wearing) cosmetics (Nash et al., 2006)”…
Attractive females often enjoying enhanced popularity with peers (Lemay et al., 2010; Lerner et al., 1991; Rosen & Underwood, 2010).
Attractive women exerted greater control over conversations than did less attractive women, an indicator of their higher status (Haas & Gregory, 2005).
Status motives underlie women’s purchase and usage of cosmetics (Ajitha & Sivakumar, 2017; Chao & Schor, 1998). As reviewed in Davis and Arnocky’s (2020) Target Article, cosmetics are one option for women who desire to appear more facially attractive. This mode of appearance enhancement has been shown to be an effective way for women to increase their own resource access.
Women report an increased desire to enhance their appearances in order to obtain resources through professional (in addition to mating) channels, especially when experiencing concerns related to economic scarcity (Netchaeva & Rees, 2016). Consistent with strategic appearance enhancement extending beyond mating motivations, cosmetics use is observed among individuals who are not explicitly attempting to attract either short-term or long-term mates for reproductive purposes.
DelPriore, D. J., Bradshaw, H. K., & Hill, S. E. (2018). Appearance enhancement produces a strategic beautifcation penalty among women. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12, 348–366.
Table of Contents
· Financially Attractive
∘ Anderson & Escobar, 2022
· Attractiveness (Bradshaw & DelPriore, 2021)
· 3rd Shift — Jennifer Haskin, 2015
· Makeup (Toledano, 2013)
· Cosmetics Influence Perceived Status
· Skirts & Nightclubs — (Salter et al., 2005)
· Thin Ideal — Whitney Stefani, 2019
· The Pinup Model & Feminine Sexuality— (Jeannette Mageo, 2022)
· Higher IQ & Income Increases Romantic Interest — Jonason & Thomas, 2022
“According to 2014 U.S. Department of Labor employment statistics, “57% of women participate in the labor force,” over 64% of whom are mothers with children under the age of 6” (Jennifer Haskin, 2015).
Alongside other gendered expectations that accompany the transition into motherhood, new mothers in the U.S. are encouraged to rush out and “get their bodies back” to their pre-pregnancy form (Dworkin and Wachs, 2004).
The suggestion that “beauty work” is a “third shift” for contemporary working women in the U.S., particularly women with children, was introduced by Naomi Wolf ( 2002) in The Beauty Myth.
For the career-oriented mother, the average workday includes a “first shift” in which she works outside of the home for pay, a “second shift” (Hochschild and Machung  2003) spent working inside the home caring for children and completing household tasks for no pay, and a “third shift” of work devoted to her physical appearance.
Marriage and family are not important to television’s men. One study found that for nearly half the men, it wasn’t possible to tell if they were married, a fact that was true for only 11% of the women (Witt, 2000). Thus, when girls are exposed to media programming and images that show female characters as “passive, indecisive, and subordinate to men, and who see this reinforced by their environment, will likely believe that this is the appropriate way for females to behave” (Witt, 2000:322).
[Similarly, it is likely that boys will come to believe that this is the appropriate way for males to behave.]
Makeup (Toledano, 2013)
Makeup application tends to mimic our biological predilections
— Foundation satisfies the preference for smooth, homogenous skin (Grammar et al., 2003)
— Concealer camouflages blueish tones that detract from facial attractiveness (Fink et al., 2001)
— Blush increases skin saturation, which is perceived as “attractive and healthy”
— And lipstick creates the desired luminance contrast between skin and lip color (Stephen, 2010)
Biology largely determines physical attraction toward certain physical characteristics (i.e., heterosexual males preferences toward wider hipped females for reproductive reasons), sexual attraction is socially determined (Charles, 2011; Lewis, Russell, Al-Shawaf, & Buss, 2015). Social and cultural factors like educational attainment, socioeconomic status, and age influence the perception of desirability, while geographical and political factors influence the availability and accessibility of partners. According to social exchange theory, mate selection is based on a calculation to maximize rewards and minimize costs (Emerson, 1976). Rewards in mate selection might include things like resources, companionship, and even social status (Posner, 1992). For example, in a society that values wealth and prestige, one might see an individual striving to find a partner with a highly respected occupation.
Cosmetics Influence Perceived Status
The status effects of cosmetics differed based on whether the raters were male or female (Mileva et al., 2016). That is, female raters evaluated women wearing cosmetics (vs. barefaced) as having more dominance, while male raters evaluated the same targets as having more prestige. These findings mirror previous work on the status benefits of women’s attractiveness, illustrating that women’s appearance enhancement may similarly allow them to exert authority over same-sex peers and garner favor from [opposite-sex peers.]
Status motives underlie women’s purchase and usage of cosmetics (Ajitha & Sivakumar, 2017; Chao & Schor, 1998). Moreover, experiments have shown that women’s self-sexualization in the face of high levels of income inequality was driven by concerns over their place in the status hierarchy (Blake & Brooks, 2019).
As agentic beings, women are capable of strategically altering their appearance to garner benefits or avoid costs (Krems et al., 2020).
Davis, A. C., & Arnocky, S. (2020). An evolutionary perspective on appearance enhancement behavior. Archives of Sexual Behavior. https://doi.org/10.1007/s10508-020-01745-4
DelPriore, D. J., Bradshaw, H. K., & Hill, S. E. (2018). Appearance enhancement produces a strategic beautifcation penalty among women. Evolutionary Behavioral Sciences, 12, 348–366.
Skirts & Nightclubs
For women, the shorter her skirt, the more skin she showed, the faster doormen approached her to help her enter the nightclub.
Doormen were more welcoming towards women patrons who wore sexier clothing (i.e., high proportion of skin showing on legs or torso, tight clothing) & who displayed female-typical mannerisms.
Female clothing that was tight and showed more skin was seen as sexier & increased women’s nightclub access.
For men… no. The more skin shown by male patrons, the longer it took for doormen to interact with him. Indeed, neither men’s appearance nor mannerism helped them enter the club.
Shockingly, the bouncer seemed less interested in males who wore revealing clothing compared to when it was a woman.
Determining why the dudes guarding the nightclub’s entrance had such a difference in behavior towards males compared to females requires further research.
“All male groups were more likely to be refused entry than were all-female groups.”
Nightclub management said “the presence of more females boosted business by attracting more affluent male customers. For the same reason they rated beauty and femininity as criteria for accepting would-be female patrons.”
(Future research: does that mean attractive women who are judged to be lesbian wouldn’t be allowed into clubs seeking affluent heterosexual male patrons?)
“Women’s gestures, including dress, that release sexual motivation in doormen tend to appease doorman aggression. In the 27% longer approach time to the club’s entrance, females were more likely to show mannerisms of parade, neck-open, hair stroke, head-tilt, auto (face-touch), and smile, and to start doing so well before males.”
Women could take 27% longer because males would be turned away sooner. [The authors referenced 2 fights the doormen got into with male patrons who were trying to get in. The bouncer won both fights.]
Skirts that flaunt a woman’s long legs may trigger mechanisms that respond to signs of fertility (Ben Hamida et al. 1998; Bertamini & Bennett 2009; Buss 1989; Fielding et al. 2008; Kenrick & Keefe 1992; Kenrick et al. 1996; Sorokowski & Pawlowski 2008; Swami et al. 2006), in addition to fertility cues such as clear & smooth skin (Sugiyama 2005; Singh & Bronstad 1997; Fink & Neave 2005; Fink et al. 2008; Ford & Beach 1951; Symons 1995).
Women are more successful than men in utilizing their attractiveness to get members of the opposite-sex to do things for them. Women have less success with this strategy as they age beyond their 20s.
Thin Ideal — Whitney Stefani, 2019
Women are expected to tend to their appearance and make themselves aesthetically pleasing (England et al., 2011). Attractiveness is indeed a particularly salient issue for women. Women report body dissatisfaction at higher rates than men (Fallon et al., 2014; Grogan, 2016) and experience significant pressure to be attractive (Stuart & Donaghue, 2011). Appearance investment, or one’s preoccupation with their appearance, is greater for women than for men (Cash & Labarge, 2011). Appearance investment is also associated with body dissatisfaction, internalization of societal beauty standards, and more frequent negative affect related to their appearance (Cash & Labarge, 2011). Societal standards for male beauty do exist (Law, & Labre, 2002) and do impact men’s lives (Schuster et al., 2013).
Many aspects of one’s appearance other than weight contribute to attractiveness. For example, large eyes, small noses, small chins (Cunningham, 1986; Furnham & Reeves, 2006), and large lips (Thornhill & Gangestad, 1999) are generally considered attractive in female faces. Research does indeed suggest that many women have appearance anxieties unrelated to weight, including acne including acne (Gupta & Gupta, 2013; Hanstock & O’Mahony, 2002), facial appearance (Jackson & Chen, 2007; Warren, 2014), and aging (Becker et al., 2013; Bolonga, 1993). The popularity of cosmetic procedures such as rhinoplasty (American Society of Plastic Surgeons, 2018) also points to the importance of elements of attractiveness aside from weight. However, little is known about how women respond to area-specific body dissatisfactions such as these. For example, although an individual may be praised for losing weight (Ohsiek & Williams, 2011), they may be stigmatized as narcissistic or superficial if they undergo cosmetic surgery to get a “new nose” (Heggenstaller et al., 2018).
[The media plays a key role] “in disseminating societal beauty standards; that is, the culturally — and increasingly, globally — dominant beauty schema (Sarkar, 2014; Yan & Bissell, 2014).”
Bias, stereotyping, and discrimination based on physical attractiveness has been conceptualized as “lookism” or “beautyism” by a growing body of research (Sims, 2017; Saiki et al., 2017). The present study uses the term “beautyism” because this term appears more intuitive than “lookism.” Beautyism is generally conceptualized as conferring privilege to more attractive people (Rhodes, 2010).
Attractiveness stereotypes are usually positive, and people assume attractive individuals have prosocial attributes such as kindness and supportiveness (Lemay et al., 2010; Segal-Caspi et al., 2012; Eagly et al., 1991). However, attractive women can also be stereotyped with anti-social traits, such as being cruel or manipulative (Kalof, 1999).
Physical attractiveness may facilitate children’s social popularity (Krantz, Friedberg, & Andrews, 2001) and protect against bullying (Rosen et al., 2011). For adults, attractiveness is positively correlated with income (Judge et al., 2009; Scholz & Sicinski, 2015), and some evidence suggests that beautyism exists in workplace settings (Warhurst et al., 2009; Waring, 2011).
Mothers’ affectionate and playful behaviors are correlated with the attractiveness of their infants (Langlois et al., 1995), and adults respond to photos of less-attractive infants with physiological indicators of negative affect (Schein & Langlois, 2015).
The Pinup Model & Feminine Sexuality
The Pinup is an American model for being a perfect sexual image that fits another’s or one’s own romantic-sexual imaginings. I use this archaic term to trace this model’s early to mid-20th century roots in movies and pinup posters of [the era’s] female stars. During World War II, Pinup posters wallpapered barracks; after the war, boys began to pin them up inside lockers or on walls (Buszek, 2006). This model took center stage in comic books, in films featuring “vamps,” and in magazines at supermarket checkout stands. Later this model thrived in music videos where beautiful scantily clad young women posed, sang, or danced. It remains core to American visual culture, to the contemporary rating of female bodies, and to campus “hookup culture” (Bogle, 2008). Social media were wed to the Pinup model from their inception. Facebook, for instance, begins with Mark Zuckerberg posting pictures of female college students to compare their “hotness” (Mezrich, 2009; Sorkin, 2010).
Those using the Pinup model devote themselves to what one might call “producing the self.” As in cinema, self-production often involves making up the face or altering the body. Playing the pinup, then, means treating one’s image as a crafted object — crafted to appear before others’ eyes. A focus of critique during second-wave feminism, this model has largely dropped beneath the horizon of scholarly discourse. Yet my data suggest the Pinup model continues to shape young Americans’ sexual experience.
Second-wave feminism’s most head-on confrontation with the Pinup model was in gaze theory. Gaze theorists, for example, Berger (1972) and Mulvey (1975), argued that in pictorial venues such as art and film, women tend to be objectified; there, a male gazer is the agent and regards a woman as a desirable object. This objectification, they further argued, is a form of subjugation. Mulvey (1975) also sees the filmic gaze as fetishizing female bodies.
“Fetish” is a colonial descriptor of certain African magical practices in which a ritual object is surcharged with spirit power (Pietz, 1987). Being true to fetish symbolism, if pinups are fetishized (female) bodies, they harbor spirits and are vehicles of spirit power. Indeed, in the Pinup model fetishizing one’s image is supposed to lead to power over a sexual other — a power like that ascribed to spirits and their familiars in many cultures (Mageo and Howard, 1996). While the Pinup’s admirer has the power to gaze, she has the power to attract. Thus, the numerous “how to” entice and keep a man articles featured in American magazines with pinup covers. Attractive power may deprive another of agency. Think of Marlene Dietrich as a femme fatal in the film classic, Blue Angel (1930), where she enraptures and exploits an aging professor who loses control of his life.
The Pinup model then predicates two subject positions: (1) pinups as objectified/abject and (2) pinups as powerful, even magical agents who exercise mesmerizing power over a lover, disposing them to act as the pinup pleases. As a vamp declares in song in the classic American musical, Damn Yankees, “Whatever Lola wants, Lola gets” (Alder and Ross, 1955).
While dream images come from memories, in dreams, memories tend to appear in fragmented forms (Wamsley and Stickgold, 2011, 101–102). Fragments operate as shorthand. Since our dreaming minds know what they are thinking, the briefest and most elliptical reference (fragments) will suffice. Dreams, likewise, represent visual metaphors for cultural models through fragments of a larger image associated with the model (Mageo, 2011, 2016).
Images of an idealized woman’s body on display — say on a runway, calendar, or centerfold or in manifold images on the web — are shared metaphors for the Pinup model but so are certain body parts and their dressings, typically: long hair, long legs, big breasts, firm buttocks, svelte shapes, but also bikinis, and lingerie. Voyeuristic practices such as one-way gazing or disrobing another, as well as practices through which a person might seek to become a perfect sexual image such as dieting, depilation, tanning, hair coloring, and some dental and surgical interventions, also serve as dream metaphors for this model.
Higher IQ & Income Increases Romantic Interest — Jonason & Thomas, 2022
“Evolutionary and sociocultural researchers agree that variation in local contextual factors can affect the magnitude and direction of sex differences in mating psychology (Eagly & Wood, 1999; Schmitt et al., 2017).
N = 1.8 million people in 24 nations
In every nation, a person’s resource-acquisition ability was positively associated with the amount of attention they received from other site members. There was a marked sex difference in this effect; resource-acquisition ability improved the attention received by men almost 2.5 times that of women. This sex difference was in every country, admittedly with some variance between nations.
Resource-acquisition ability enhanced the attention of men’s more than women’s profiles [the increase was almost 2.5 times stronger in men than in women], [and] the effect of resource-acquisition ability was reduced in countries that were richer (GNI) and had more women of reproductive age than men (OSR), which was slightly enlarged in countries with greater gender equality (GDI).
[This finding is associated with the reality that,] according to UNICEF, raising a child from birth to 17 years of age costs between US$900/year in developing countries and US$16,200/year in developed countries” (Higher IQ & income Increases Romantic Interest — Jonason & Thomas, 2022).
The value placed on resource-acquisition in bisexuals’ mate choice may be moderated by the sex of the lover.]
“In 1800, around 50% of children in the United States died before the age of five” [Data]
The status benefits/gains experienced by dark skinned minority’s acquisition of an light-skinned partner are the result of hegemonic anglicized ideals of beauty (Chou 2012; Collins 2004; Roberts 1997). The cultural internalization of White hierarchies of desirability within Asian (Pyke 2010; Rondilla and Spickard 2007), Black (Hunter 2005), & Hispanic (Hunter 2002, 2007; Villarreal 2010) communities is well documented across disciplines.
Social Attraction — Danya Brewer, 2019
In 1958, only 4% of individuals approved of an interracial relationship. By 1983, 50% were accepting of these affairs (Carroll, 2007). The acceptance continues to increase into the twenty first century. In 2007, 77% of Americans were approving an interracial relationship. Nonetheless, 70% of the population still disapproved of the interaction despite being nearly 40 years after the Civil Rights movements (Carroll, 2007).
In a survey by Todd, Mckinney, Harris, Chadderton, and Small (1992), 61% of individuals reported being willing to date outside their own race. Likewise, men were more likely to look outside their own race for a relationship than females (Todd et al, 1992). 35% of young Black women stated they would be willing to date outside their race, while 44% said they would be absolutely unwilling (Todd et al., 1992).
Black women were less likely to be interested in dating outside of their racial group (Murstein et al., 2001).
Younger generations are much more likely to date interracially (Wilson et al., 2007).
According to Passel, Wang, and Taylor (2010), only 14.6% of individuals were dating outside their own race in 2008. Black males & Asians are more likely to date outside their race than any other race.
Mendelson et al. (2014): analysis of online dating profiles found that Black individuals seemed increasingly likely to take an interest in online interracial dating.
[Indeed], 37% of African Americans reciprocated the attention shown to them by a White individual on a dating website. However, only 5% of Whites reciprocated attention shown to then by an African American (Mendelsohn et al., 2014). In particular, the White population demonstrated the most significant bias. These individuals claimed to be indifferent, yet 85% percent of their initiated contacts were to Whites and 3% of their contacts were to Blacks (Mendelsohn et al., 2014).
The individual could possibly be scared of job loss, being disowned by their own parents, or fear of public and friend opinion. All of these factors could contribute to the limited contact (Harris & Kalbfleisch, 2000). Another reason for the unlikelihood of a White reciprocating or initiating attention with a minority individual could be the ingroup bias. An individual is much more likely to favor those similar to them rather than an outgroup (Alhabash, Hales, Baek, & Oh, 2014).
Dating outside of race also comes with many cultural norms. A study was done by Shenhav, Campos, and Goldberg (2017) that analyzed individual’s cultural norms and dating preferences. Shenhav et al. (2017) found that there was a significant difference in parent’s approval of an intercultural relationship. They also found that interracial and intercultural relationships faced the same issues. Individuals were rated as having much higher parental disapproval than their own disapproval of being in an interracial/intercultural relationship. In the study, 21.7% of the participants reported being involved in an intercultural relationship; 27.1% of them had parental issues with the relationship that remain unsolved (Shenhav et al., 2017).
Curiosity was given as a reason by White subjects to date someone only when dating interracially (Martini et al., 2010). Individuals participating in this study also answered why they would not date interracially. The top three reasons of these individuals were lack of contact, lack of interest, and lack of acceptance (Martin et al., 2010).
There is a higher likelihood of an African American marrying a White rather than a White marrying an African American (Lee & Edmonson, 2005).
Emetu et al., 2022 — Lesbians’ preference for Lesbians & Health
“Educational resources surrounding adequate sexual health [for lesbians/ bisexual women] is limited, which contributes to misconceptions and stereotypes (Gorgos & Marrazzo, 2011, 2017).
The most common sexual behaviors among WSW are clitoral stimulation, oral-genital sex, tribadism or scissoring (two partners rubbing genitals together), penetration, and the use of adult sexual devices such as vibrators and dildos (Riese, 2015).
The use of sexual devices are very common in that 74% of WSW have reported using vibrators, 56% have used strap-ons, and 56% have used dildos in their lifetime (Schick, Rosenberger, Herbenick, & Reece, 2012).
Using adult sexual devices roughly can lead to the risk of small genital tears that can increase susceptibility to infections (Poteat, Harbatkin, & Light, 2019; Ybarra & Mitchell, 2016). In addition, adult sexual devices require extensive and specialized cleaning beyond the use of soap and water to prevent the spread of bacterial and viral infections (Doull et al., 2018; Poteat et al., 2019). For instance, most adult stores and retailers sell cleaning solutions that prevent pathogens such as bacteria or fungi. Beyond such solutions, adult devices that are in one piece or made from silicone can be cleaned using heat through dishwashers or boiling apparatus (Wood et al., 2016).”
Physiognomic Homogamy — Alyssa Altieri & Duane Lundy, 2021
Physiognomic homogamy constitutes the cross-section between physical attractiveness and homogamy. Homogamy, which will be more thoroughly depicted within the paper, encompasses each trait shared by both partners that determines the success rate of a relationship throughout all stages. Physical attractiveness is one of these traits — it is the scale on which we dictate the level of aesthetic pleasantness associated with the physical features of us and those around us (i.e., physical beauty).
An in-depth study regarding multiple papers was done to reach the conclusion that physiognomic homogamy is a clear indicator of relationship success and can be determined through self-perceived confidence, opposite-sex parent imprinting theory, and the correlation between personality and physical attractiveness. This is especially critical information as it may aid in the process of efficient mate selection and provide insight as to why certain relationships were unsuccessful in the past.
A Literature Review on Physiognomic Homogamy
Bale, C., & Archer, J. (2013). Self-perceived attractiveness, romantic desirability and self-esteem: A mating…