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credit: stunnish.com

credit: stunnish.com

Quickly: What color are her eyes?

As Captain Louis Renault would have said, “I’m shocked, shocked!”  Who woulda thunk it?  The CBS affiliate in Philadelphia reports on a barrier-breaking, prominent, yet uplifting study on a topic of expanding importance: breasts.

A new study has confirmed something women have been complaining about for years.

The research, out of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and published in the Springer-published journal Sex Roles, essentially corroborates the belief that people tend to focus more on the breasts and figure of a woman when analyzing her appearance than they do on her face.

According to researchers, the study was the first ever to use eye-tracking technology to examine the glances of men when they ‘ogle’ or ‘check out’ women, whereas previous research had used only women’s self-reported experiences.

After monitoring how the gazes of 29 women and 36 men from a large Midwestern university reacted to images of the same group of female models with various body shapes, scientists concluded that participants focused more on the female’s chests and figure when asked to evaluate their appearance than they did on the women’s facial features.

Well gentle readers, can you take your eye’s off the researcher’s breasts long enough to see where this is going?   Hey!  Back down here!

Unsurprisingly, women with narrow waists, full breasts and larger hips – the classic hourglass figure – were rated more favorably than their less voluptuous counterparts, even when men were asked to assess a woman’s personality (rather than attractiveness) based on her appearance in the photos.

I knew it!  Those chauvinistic, sexist, war-on-women pigs!  Those, those those–men!  Uh…maybe not…

But perhaps what’s most interesting is that women also tended to objectify other females in the same way that men did. They, too, spent more time focusing on figure than face.

I knew it!  Those sexist…sputter…wheeze…women!?

Full disclosure: I am male, and as such, I appreciate breasts.  I really like them.  In fact, you might even say I have been on a first name basis with many over the years–usually twins.  It just seems to work that way for me.

But I have a double, double whammy.  Because of all my years in police work, I scan everyone I meet, male or female, paying particular attention to the hands, waist, and the chest. The hands, because they conceal and hold weapons, and the waist and chest because weapons are commonly concealed in those areas and are most quickly put into play from those areas.  Even though I haven’t carried a badge for many years, the habits developed do not fade, and it’s smart to keep them in any case.

But OK, I’ll admit it: I do look at–not ogle, drool over, walk into fixed objects when looking at, step on my tongue around, spill hot coffee into my lap when in the proximity of–breasts.  I find their shape, the way they move, their simple femininity, endlessly fascinating.  I appreciate them as I appreciate beauty–of any kind–in general.  And so, I have no fixation over breasts of a particular shape or size, and ultimately, they mean nothing to me when assessing the character of women.  In fact, my female friends who happen to be well endowed have, to a woman, told me I’m the only man they know that looks them in the eye when talking with them.

That’s always been surprising–that everyone wouldn’t do that–look a woman in the eye, I mean.  Breasts aren’t particularly good at giving non-verbal clues–well, not those kinds of clues, anyway…I think I just stepped on my tongue…I guess Steve Martin was right: breasts do make men stupid.

I suppose that’s the point.  We are more than the sum of our parts.  Anyone who doesn’t know that deserves to spend their nights on their parent’s couch in their basement bedroom.

The study is available here.