Move Over Ladies in Red -- Men Are Stealing Our Thunder

red plaid shirtIt used to be that there was nothing more lovely than a lady in red (cue the famous Chris de Burgh song). But now it seems we have a little competition.

According to a new study out of the University of Rochester, men who wear red are more attractive and sexually desirable to women. Get ready for a really presumptuous explanation as to why this is the case ...


I have no problem with the facts that came out of the study: Researchers showed 288 females the same photo of a man wearing different colored shirts and determined that women are statistically most attracted to red.

My issue is that the researchers then used presumptuous reasoning to explain the "why" behind their findings. In other words, why use science to back up your claims when you can just guess? Andrew Elliot, lead author of the study, says:

"We found that women view men in red as higher in status, more likely to make money, and more likely to climb the social ladder. And it's this high-status judgment that leads to the attraction."

How did they make the leap from women preferring red to women preferring men with high status and lots of money? Well, of course, the authors point to biology, rationalizing that females baboons prefer red because it signifies male dominance; therefore, human women must, too.

I'm partially cranky because I was just compared to a non-human primate.

But I'm more offended that researchers use highly charged, borderline sexist language in their explanation. Could it be that I simply prefer red on men? (Which I don't by the way.) Why does my alleged color preference make me money-grubbing and social-climbing? As far as I can tell, there's no hard and fast evidence in this particular study as to why women prefer one color or the other, so why rely on stereotypes and assumptions to pretend that there is?

Or maybe I'm just cranky because I think I look pretty hot in red and now all the men are trying to steal my thunder.

Do you think women are attracted to men in red because it signifies status, dominance, and money?


Image via ben hanbury/Flickr

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