How much time do you spend on the internet? If you’re the average user, the number of hours you’re probably spending in front of a screen (scrolling through your Facebook feed, right?) is hella (which is an actual mathematical number). You already know that being plugged in to the internet can cause eye strain and sleeplessness, but did you know it’s also changing the way you find who and what is attractive? What can’t the internet do? (deliver pizza through the screen.) (That’s about it.) (But it would be awesome.)
New research from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland suggests that those who spend time on the internet may be more likely to find more masculine men attractive and, importantly, find thin women more attractive than other body types. Say what?
The study took place in El Salvador where over 74% of the population (don’t freak out) have no access to the internet. Participants were shown photos of men and women and asked to rate their attractiveness. While those who used the internet gravitated towards beefy, hunky dudes, and waifish women, those who didn’t use the net found a wider range of photos attractive, including men who appeared feminine and women who were larger.
Of course, there could be a lot of reasons for this, including where the study was taking place and socioeconomic factors. For instance, people who come from environments where food is scarce might find those who appear well-fed more attractive. But the researchers aren’t discounting the fact that the internet can change one’s mind about beauty. Because of the amount of images one can see of what “attractive” is while taking part in online activities, one may start getting drawn into these ideals and conforming their attraction to those body types perpetuated by the media. (Which are almost always, if not always unrealistic and impossible.)
More studied should, of course, be done. But perhaps you can do an experiment of your own and see whether the internet has changed your tastes at all? What do you think?
Read more: Want to Find More People Attractive? Cancel Your Internet
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