I'm A Sucker For Beauty & Athletic Eye Candy
|Gretchen Bleiler - Snowboarder|
I'm a little partial to winter sports. Ha!
Consider yourself warned.
Don't get me wrong. I happen to love, LOVE, L-O-V-E men. (I'm married to one in fact.)
I have no idea what those hip/ab muscles are called on men either but I have to wipe the drool from my mouth whenever a well-carved example of it walks past me. <----------
But the boys deserve a little more attention before I get carried away with my favorite female bodies...
Example #1: Not only am I jealous because I can't do that, but holy crap the dude is beautiful.
|Danall Layval - Gymnist|
And why is it that Australia has all the hotties?
|James Magnussen - Australian swimmer|
It would be a shame not to represent all my favorite sports. Dude has a nice paddle. *wink*
|Darryl Fitzgerald - New Zealand Kayak|
But the female body has so many beautiful parts too. I'm first to admit that I admire beautiful full breasts on a woman, a tight ass, and a gorgeous back. Watching the Olympic Games I recently came to the realization that it has just been a display of badass eye candy for me and I watch it as much to get a good look at some exquisite bodies as I do to see some serious athletic competition. Sadly, I missed the women's volleyball competition. Damn. Now THOSE are some beautiful bodies!
Speaking of Volleyball, check out Francesca Piccinini, Italian volleyball player. Nice, huh?
|Francesca Piccinini, Volleyball|
I have never heard of Louise Hazel (apparently she's a heptathlete from Great Britain) but she is smoking hot!
|Louise Hazel, Heptathlete|
And lets be sure not to leave out my favorite. Australian Mountain Biker, Niki Gudex. Hey! Isn't that my tire strap she's using? She must have read my Little Black Strap blog post. Holy hell this shot is sexy! She is just SO CUTE!
|Niki Gudex, Mountain Biker|
And when it comes to bodies, I prefer naturally sculpted female athletic beauty over the excessively manicured and maintained beauty we see so much of in magazines. Women athletes are REAL. They don't need collegen injections or fake boobs. Hell, they don't even need photoshop to make them look beautiful. They work hard for their bodies and the result is stunning.
|Victoria Pendleton - Cyclist / Zara Dampney - Volleyball|
And since downhill skiing is one of my other passions... here's my girl. Beautiful.
|Lindsey Vonn - Alpine Ski Racer|
And when they're beautiful AND badass how can you not drool? I'm just sayin. Check out sprinter Ivet Lalova. Holy crap that woman has a nice ass. And the fact that she totally kicks some makes me weak. I need to get a towel to wipe up the drool before I slip in it.
The Objectification Study
The study, published in June’s European Journal of Social Psychology, was conducted by Sarah Gervais, a psychology professor at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. The study basically found that we (both men and women) see women in terms of their body parts and men as a whole. The thing that fascinated me about this article is that both genders process the sexes the same way. That's right. Its not just the dudes who are focusing on the "local" parts first on a woman when scanning for hotness.
In fact, the study used images of ordinary people fully dressed. For five seconds, the 250 college-age participants were shown an image of an average man or woman from the head to the knees, standing fully clothed in front of a camera. Then participants were shown two images side by side, showing either the person's waist or the person's chest with one of the images being slightly altered. Their job was to pick the unaltered image.
I tend to be a little skeptical of studies (there are so many variables that are often not taken into consideration - who knows? The person doing the "altering" of the photos could have been really bad at photoshop) so take this at whatever face-value you want, but the results of this study indicated that our brains tend to visually identify males by using "global" cognitive processing whereas we visually identify females using "local" cognitive processing.
So basically we see women as parts and men as a whole. How's that for objectification from both sides of the coin? Women really are seen for their boobs or their ass. Even by other women. But really, is that all that bad? Some would argue that this is evolutionary and that men scan women based on their reproductive qualities. But, what about women? Why are we looking at other women as just a sum of our boobs, waist, or booty?
Some researchers speculate that the media is to blame. As women we have a tendency to compare ourselves to other women. And why wouldn't we? Women in magazines and on TV have captivated our attention since we were young girls and we size each other up. And yes. I admit this is probably why I think women with proportionately sized breasts (read: larger than my own) are attractive. The Victoria Secret catalog told me full boobs are beautiful. For years I believed them. Its taken me a long time to realize that my little titties can be just as gorgeous as your size C. And, bonus... its taken me this long to also realize they will be perkier for MUCH longer too.
So is Victoria Secret and the media in general responsible for my own feelings of inadequacies when it comes to my own body? I would love to say HELL NO, but the human psyche is a complex labyrinth of processes. Who knows what kind of conditioning I may have fallen victim to over the years.
But that being said at some point we have to stop putting the blame on everyone around us and start owning who we are and how we perceive ourselves. At some point you have to look yourself in the mirror and say "I'm beautiful" in order to really start to believe it.
I do find it interesting that my own inadequacies are the parts that I appreciate the most on other women. Although, I do appreciate a nice ass too and I've actually got one of those. *grin*
So is seeing a person in parts bad?
Technically, seeing a person in parts is objectification. Its kinda like seeing a house or a bike or a hamburger, but in my opinion this is not necessarily a negative thing. To me, its neutral. Well... unless you perceive the hamburger as delicious in which case you will then want to eat it and then you've transformed the object into desire and well... we all know what happens when you are REALLY hungry and see a nice juicy hamburger.
But lets not get distracted and make things overly complicated here.
Regardless of whether I see the parts of someone's body (whether they be male or female) or the body as a whole, its my opinion that objectification would probably break down once the brain processes more information about the person. If I pass you on the sidewalk on my way to the gym, trust me... I will see your body. It doesn't make a whole lot of difference if I see parts or a whole if I don't know you. I don't know your name. I don't know what you do for a living. I don't know if you just rescued that poor little kitten from the sewer or just had wild unadulterated sex with your mistress. The only thing I know is that you are human and I can appreciate that.
The study didn't address this, but I think its possible that once verbal or other cues start to influence us that a more "global" processing kicks in. While I admit I have some biased judgements based on what a person's body (or body parts) look like on initial glance, once I get to know the person my perceptions often change. I have to wonder if my brain processes those changes in perception differently as well.
Maybe that's why when I'm bored I like to make up fictional stories about complete strangers based purely on what they look like. I know. Its a little immature, but its like live theatre right there in front of me except the people I make stories up about have no clue they are the actors. Ok. I'm easily amused. Forgive me.
So in light of this new information it seems like it would be almost impossible NOT to objectify women, or even men for that matter, especially if the only information we have on an individual is strictly visual. For so many years I've been convinced that objectification (especially of the female body) is a bad thing. But, is it? I know there are other factors and thoughts to consider on the subject, but my general opinion is no. Objectification is just that. Objectification. In fact, I would argue that its the most basic level of perceiving human form and beauty from a neutral perspective. The human form is an extraordinary and amazing piece of art. It comes in all shapes and sizes and most of us enjoy looking at it. I know I do. And since everybody's perceptions and preferences on beauty are different, beauty really is in the eye of the beholder. Why make that a bad thing?
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