Bulging biceps, six-pack abs and wide-hard pecs. That's an easy way to catch a lady's eye. An easy way to pass the initial boyfriend test, too. But beware. The muscle ideal isn't all it's cracked up to be.
According to a study conducted at the University of Westminster, stronger men make awful boyfriends. The study surveyed 327 straight British men, more than a third of whom were single, and discovered that the more muscular the participant, the more likely he was to have sexist beliefs and hostility toward women. Yikes!
The correlation between brawny men and sexist beliefs is rooted in traditional gender roles. "We think men who hold oppressive beliefs about women and gender equality are also more likely to endorse traditional stereotypes of masculinity, which includes the muscular physique," the study authors wrote. So oftentimes, men who are already sexist strive to be muscular, because that upholds their idea of what a "real man" should look like.
The researchers claimed that in societies where patriarchal structures are being challenged, men may attempt to prove their masculinity by bettering their bodies. Basically, men who are around women in power tend to feel threatened and display this through gaining muscle.
Although the study was not conducted internationally and the number of men surveyed was rather low, on face, it does seem to hold true. Consider the cast of Jersey Shore, for example. Though we can't deny their fabulous physiques, they're not exactly the kind of guys you want to bring home to mom (no, not even you, Vinny). So before you dismiss the next scrawny guy who approaches you, consider that science thinks he'd make a better boyfriend.
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