Thesis

The effects of tattoos and piercings on men's perceptions of women's attractiveness, approachability, and partner potential

More women are taking part in the culture of body modifications in the form of tattoos and piercings. Minimal research on body modifications has shown that individuals who modify their bodies are perceived more negatively on personality characteristics than individuals who do not. The current study examined heterosexual men’s perceptions of women with body modifications regarding attractiveness, approachability, and partner potential. Men ages 18-50 were asked to volunteer to participate in an online survey. Participants were randomly assigned to either the control (no modifications) or one of three experimental conditions: photo of a woman with a tattoo, with a lip ring, or both. All groups viewed a version of the image of the woman and three questionnaires, one for demographic data, the other measuring marital preference, and the third measuring attractiveness (physical appeal) and approachability (friendliness). The hypothesis was that the women with modifications would be rated more negatively than the woman without modifications, as well as be seen as a less preferable partner. A factorial ANOVA revealed no significant differences in ratings between modified and non-modified women in terms of attractiveness, approachability, or partner potential. The presence of modifications did not seem to impact perceptions. Upon closer analysis a lack of attention paid to the modifications may have accounted for the results. This alone may indicate a change in perception. While these findings were not in line with previous research, there is still much to be gained from them in terms of changing perceptions and gender attributions as they are related to modifications.

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