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Dating With Science: Gawking at a Woman Makes Her Worse at Math

Dating With Science: Gawking at a Woman Makes Her Worse at Math

Science Fact: Ogling a woman, even briefly, is distracting enough to make her perform worse on a problem-solving test.

Explanation: You may have heard of "the male gaze," the concept that movies (and tons of other things) favor the perspective of men. You can see this everywhere, once you start looking for it. If you draw up a list of the most popular superheroes, you'll get a bunch of dudes wearing capes, armor, and full-body spandex (except for The Hulk, whose pants were torn asunder in a burst of science), while superheroines fight crime in stages of nudity that would get them ejected from a Starbucks (example: the new Starfire being so sextacular she literally confuses children). It took until this year before women were allowed to play Olympic beach volleyball in anything other than a one- or two-piece swimsuit; when asked why dudes don't dress like that, most people reply with a well-reasoned argument like "because blech, yuck," which kind of proves the point.

The way a famous art guy put it is "Men look at women; women watch themselves being looked at." How does this make women feel? Well, we could either perform a bunch of laboratory tests involving math and deception, or we could ask them. Obviously scientists chose the former. Here is how it went.

The Science: Researchers called in some male and female participants for a "study" on "teamwork," but this was actually a huge Science Lie, and the real study was on how the participants would react to being objectified. Their teamwork "partners" were actually Science Maniacs in disguise, whose job it was to give them a brief but noticeable objectifying glance. (Obviously it's objectifying to salivate and gawk at a woman's chest department, but the researchers maintained that a guy can similarly get uncomfortable with this kind of gaze if he's insecure about being overweight or scrawny or whatever.) Half of the participants were in a control group, perhaps the only one in the history of science identified as "Control Group: did not stare at the boobs."

Everybody then took a math test and was graded on performance. Results: women who got stared at performed worse than women who didn't. Men, on the other hand, were unaffected by the lusty gaze of lady eyeballs.

So What Should I Do About It?
For the record, in followup surveys, the women who'd been ogled were also more likely to want to interact with their testing partners, but it's unclear if "interact" meant "date" or "jab in the eye with a fork." Nobody asked if their performance drop was due to being sexily distracted or uncomfortably distracted. Still, is that a chance you want to take?

The point to take away from all this is that leering at some girl is something she is going to notice, even if you're doing it unconsciously or trying to be subtle about it. We've previously covered that interacting with women makes you turn stupid, and this is sort of the corollary; getting gawked at is distracting for women in a way it isn't for dudes. She might think "Oh, he's interested in me," but she also might think "Oh, so he is a sleazemonster. Got it." So keep your chin up, literally, and stick to eye contact; it works better anyway.

Topics: Life
Tags: flirting, math, tests, dating with science, the male gaze

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