As a young college girl, both I and the women around me have feelings and emotions bouncing off the wall in all different directions. However, one thing I have noticed since I have gotten here to Penn State, is a large amount of women who find the football, basketball, and hockey team players more attractive than just your average Penn State male. I am not kidding, I have seen girls go to some pretty crazy extents to get the athletes here to notice them, or say hi to them, or even just look at them more frequently than usual. This not only occurs at the college level, but thinking back to even high school, everyone where I came from wanted to date the quarterback of the football team or the star soccer player, and when you did you were put on some kinds of a pedestal. Movies have even associated the main character as a football player or a good looking outfielder on the baseball team on purpose to catch the attention of the viewers because it is part of our culture. Also national level is even more severe where both young and older women obsess over the best athletes forming a serious crush on an unattainable man. It begins to become unrealistic but we still have those feelings and emotions that make us attracted to them. This is where I began to question myself. Why are athletes more attractive and is there something in our brains that have linked athletics ability to attractiveness?
As I researched I found a study from an evolutionary biologist, Dr. Eric Postma, at the University of Zurich who did a study of the 2012 Tour de France athletes (sheknows.com). For the survey he chose 80 photos of the cycling participants and cropped their faces, and if anyone recognized the athletes their answers were not used. This way they had no indication of how talented the athletes were, and all they were looking at was their face. The study proved clear results, the top 10% of cyclists in terms of their performance scored 25% more attractive than the bottom 10% (Today.com).
However, there is also the question, does being a good athlete make you attractive or does being attractive make you a good athlete? As we learned in class about confounding third variables and correlations, there sometimes can be a reversed correlation or a third variable that sometimes does not affect the results directly. But Dr. Postma shares his thoughts about the biology aspect stating, and I quote, “Females often prefer to mate with high-quality males, and one aspect of quality is physical performance. Although a preference for physically fitter males is therefore predicted, the relationship between attractiveness and performance has rarely been quantified” (sheknows.com).
Overall there are more biological factors as to why you thought that Eric Decker was looking extra sexy on game day so don’t think you are the only one. Women are attracted to strength and characteristics associated with high testosterone productions, such as a more masculine face (Today.com). As I said before, Postma’s study proves that scientists are now finding that women are attracted to endurance characteristics also. So let’s face it ladies, it is in our nature and biological makeup to be attracted to strong, attractive, athletic male athletes.
Links where I found info/survey/photo: