Tweens At All-Girls Schools Prefer Girly Men

According to a recent study contributed by several UK universities, girls who attend single-sex schools are more attracted to boys with feminine faces.  Researchers explained that this phenomenon is a result of a person’s “visual diet”. In other words, because girls in single-sex schools tend to be surrounded by more females, they are more inclined to be attracted to men who have more feminine facial features. The article also cites Leonardo DiCaprio and Jude Law as examples of men who have feminine faces.

leonardo-dicaprio1 jude-law

I don’t see how Leo or Jude can be considered to have feminine faces, but I admit that a search for younger photos of them do yield “softer” features. Then again, a lot of men look “prettier” when younger – especially pre-pubescent males (Leo circa The Basketball Diaries).

Furthering my skepticism, this study was based on surveys completed by 240 children – a number that is hardly conclusive. This is another reason why I dislike it when journalists write articles based on some “ground-breaking” study; journalists simply should not report on a study when a sample size is too small to even show a correlation between the variables and control group. Statistics similar to this can barely sustain a viable conclusion. But I digress.

Apparently, only tween girls are susceptible to this “visual dieting”:

…Boys demonstrated marginally stronger preferences for facial masculinity in male faces, but did not differ in their ratings of female faces.

Dr Tamsin Saxton, who led the study, said: “Interestingly, the weakest effect of ‘visual diet’ was in relation to boys’ judgments of girls’ faces. This might be because femininity is such an over-riding cue to female facial attractiveness, or perhaps because even at a single-sex school, boys see more female faces around them, in their teachers and so on.”

Now that’s interesting: the fact that there can be more girls at an all-boys school. Wouldn’t that defeat the purpose of going to a single-sex school?



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14 thoughts on “Tweens At All-Girls Schools Prefer Girly Men

  1. Weird. I always thought that an all-boys school would employ only male teachers too. Bet they’re just really hard to find these days.
    I agree that the study means nothing, but I can offer an explanation to the girl-boy difference.
    Men tend to be very similar in what they like – ie. most men will go for the same women. Over all, a girl that one man rates highly is very very likely to be rated highly by other men. (Obviously there are outliers.)
    Women, on the other hand, are very diverse in their attractions, and what one woman likes, another may not see as remotely attractive.
    I could see this being related to how girls are more influencible.
    (one explanation of this – http://www.eqsq.com/vive-la-difference/2009/07/30/men-agree-which-women-are-hot/ )

  2. When I look up Ms Saxton’s name, I also get a study that came out earlier last month that women tend to select men who look like them but in a masculine way- a “masculine look alike”. I guess that’s only if you went to a coed school : )
    One problem I have with this is that the photos that were used were “altered to look subtly more feminine or masculine”. It’s possible that the alteration of the photos somehow changed the subjects’ reaction to them in ways other than intended.
    I would also like to see a study that compared younger girls’ preference for “feminine” boys vs. older girls’. I think there might be a greater effect there than the coed/single sex school effect. It’s been long said that young women are more attracted to androgynous/feminine young men because they are less sexually threatening.

    • Interesting research idea! There are also studies out that show how a woman’s preference in men changes throughout the course of her menstrual cycle. When she’s fertile, a woman wants a more masculine, “rough & tough,” adventurous type, because men like this are viewed to have more testosterone and are therefore more virile. Later in the menstrual cycle, women tend to be more attracted to stable, less-physically domineering men because women view them as being more likely to stick around for a long-term commitment (in case she’s actually pregnant).

  3. Tween girls generally want girly men, period. Ask any 12 year old who she prefers between a Jonas Brother and any otherwise handsome actor over the age of 25. She’ll probably say that the older guy is ‘gross’ and ‘old’ and ‘could be her dad.’ Johnny Depp and a few others are, certainly, exceptions (sometimes), but for the most part, tween girls want men who look like girls. Because boys look like girls for the most part well into their teens. I was with my 12 year old cousin and another cousin my own age. We were talking about some celebrity who slips my mind now, who I recall being in his 30s. Our younger cousin loudly went ‘EEEW, he’s so OLD.’ We asked who she liked instead, and she said ‘I like boys who are twelve or maybe thirteen’ and then mentioned a few Disney and Nickelodeon stars. Because she’s TWELVE. I had crushes on teenage boys when I was twelve, not grown men. And I was certainly not surrounded by just girls….plenty of boys at my grade school.

    • I find this funny because I’m pretty young also, I’m only 15, and I’ve noticed I’m really attracted to silver foxes and FILFs, lol. Weird, but true! Teen guys aren’t that hot to me, I like older guys, ohhh jailbait!

      • Eh. Fifteen, not much younger, was about the time that I realized that men were supposed to look like men and not like me sans boobs. By 18, I came to appreciate grey hair (too old for me, but I won’t be this young forever), and recently freaked out my boyfriend by saying he’ll look good in 30 or 40 years if he just goes grey instead of balding.

      • I was the same way. My teen crushes included Kris Kristofferson and Clint Eastwood. Never mind old enough to be my dad, they’re basically old enough to be my grandfather! Maybe some day I’ll develop a taste for older men because there are a couple of guys around my age that I like like Orlando Bloom and Heath Ledger but that’s it. Still trying to figure out how I wound up married to a man only 7 months older than me.

  4. Mmmmm………….I guess I’m on the fence about what I prefer. Or maybe I just like aspects of both really masculine men and slightly less masculine men at the same time.

    My fiance is sort of a perfect blend. For example, he’s got really delicate, feminine looking hands that make me damn jealous and he has beautiful dark eyes with insanely long lashes (which also make me jealous). However, he definitely has a man’s body, and 99% of the time he’s got sexy stubble going on. Anyway, it’s everything I like and nothing I don’t, which is really all that matters in the end (except the one mutated toe, but I’m certainly not going to stop loving him over that).

  5. Well, I guess I don’t play by the rules then. I’m 16 and I found out that I’m REALLY attracted to older guys. I like guys who are 30! I mean, I’m not in love with any 30-year-old, but I have this HUGE crush in men like George Clooney, Javier Bardem, David Bisbal and those guys from Il Divo. :) I just find older men sooo attractive! :/ lol. And I don’t like girly guys either. This is an example, but when all my friends are obssesed with Zac Efron or Robert Pattison, I find Taylor Lautner extremely hot. He just looks more like a man than the other two. But as I said , I’m a 16-year-old who has a huge crush on 30-year-old men, so I guess I’m not like every other teen out there. ;)

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