The phrase "eyes up here" usually applies to some dude who can't make eye contact with a woman because he's too focused on her chest. Researchers at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found out that that phrase could and should apply to ladies too, because the women they studied stared at other women's breasts just as much as the men did.
"When asked to focus on a woman's appearance, study participants ... quickly moved their eyes to and then dwelled on a woman's breasts and other sexualized body parts," the Nebraska researchers wrote in their release. They explain that they used eye-tracking technology to track at what parts people were staring at. "Though the men in the study exhibited such visual behavior consistently, the researchers found that women's eye patterns actually were similar to men's," they added.
Essentially, women are every bit as boob-centric as their male counterparts when it comes to surveying the appearance of a woman. "We do have a slightly different pattern for men than women, but when we looked at their overall dwell times – how long they focused on each body part – we find the exact same effects for both groups," Sarah Gervais, an assistant professor of psychology at the school, said.
The difference is what those stares mean. Gervais says that women do it for "social comparison" while men tend to use those stares to form an opinion. "[M]ale participants regarded the curvaceous women more positively than women with fewer curves, whereas female participants viewed these women similarly," the researchers explain. So, men tend to use their breast reconnaissance surveys to judge women. Gervais and company add:
Even when study instructions encouraged the participants to focus on the personality of the female target – a manipulation that would seem likely to lead to additional focus on the images' faces – women with hourglass figures were perceived more positively than women with straighter figures by male participants ...
In short, hetero guys, just because women stare like you do, you're not off the hook.
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.