New research has found evidence that both men and women are prejudiced towards sexualized women. But only women are willing to endure a cost to themselves to punish a woman who appears to be promiscuous. The findings appear in Evolution and Human Behavior.
Across cultures, women and girls have been subjected to various attempts to control their sexuality. This has included slut shaming, female genital cutting, and honor killings.
The researchers from the University of Warwick wanted to better understand what motivates individuals to suppress female — but not male — sexuality. “If society is to understand and overcome the sexual double standard, interventionists should seek to uncover how men and women vary in their attitudes towards sexualized women,” they explained.
In the study, participants played one of three kinds of economic decision-making games. The participants were led to believe they were playing against a female opponent in real-time, but were actually only interacting with computerized responses.
The opponents varied in whether they appeared to be sexually accessible or sexually restricted. For some participants, the opponent was depicted as a woman wearing a tight, red outfit and an abundance of makeup. For others, the opponent was depicted as a woman wearing loose-fitting clothing with less makeup.
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