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Dating Mating Sex and Reproduction

Ranking Our Own Looks

Battle of the Bods on Hulu (Are there any wordpress.com users out there who can tell me how to embed a Hulu video?  The embed code on the video just doesn’t want to work, and neither does going the normal embed video route.)


I just discovered this show on Hulu, and I’ll be honest. I love this episode.  I’ll see how it goes watching more episodes, but I liked this one so much I had to blog about it.  This entry is pretty much a commentary on the show, so it would be best to take 20 minutes and watch it first.  If you don’t want to, you can still probably get the idea, but it’ll be a lot of words for not much return on investment.  With that warning, out of the way, let’s continue.

The premise is simple.  Five girls and a panel of guys get straight to the business of putting the girls in order based on their faces, their butts, and the “total package.”  If the girls guess how the guys ranked them, they win money.  At the end, the tables are turned, and the guys have to rank themselves and compare their rankings with the girls’.

Off the bat, human instinct is turned against itself.  Each of these girls is dolled up and trying to look her best, which is normal.  But now, their goal is not to compete and look the best, but to rank themselves accurately.  (SPOILER ALERT:  If you want to watch without spoilers, stop reading now.)

In the first round, they bombed.  And it’s interesting why they bombed.  Most of the girls agreed that Nicole, the petite blonde, had great eyes, and that she was gorgeous.  They also thought the “girl next door” blonde, Emily, was also very pretty.  Unfortunately, one of them immediately chimed in, “But we can’t put the two blondes together!”

Isn’t that interesting?  The girls knew that they were being ranked on pure old physical attraction, but they wanted to impose a non-physical standard on it — they wanted to make it more diverse at the top.  Even when this “artificial” standard was pointed out, it still held up in the end.

“Girl Next Door” Emily was right about her looks.  She knew she was pretty, but she gave in to group pressure and allowed herself to be ranked all the way down at number four.  Tall but somewhat skinny and slightly masculine Amber seemed intimidated by the other girls and happy enough to be unseen right in the middle of the pack.  Exotically average Tra-Keila also seemed to accept her fate as… well, let’s face it… a junk in the trunk dark black girl among perky white blondes in a primarily white environment.  Lighter skinned Autumn, with straightened hair and pouty lips, thought she was a shoe-in for number one, which is important because she also described herself as “dripping with sex.”

They screwed it up pretty royally.  Autumn took the number one spot, and they pushed Emily down to four.  Here’s my take on why that happened.  Autumn conflates “dripping with sex” and having a pretty face.  She is telling us that she portrays herself as a highly sexual woman, and that guys respond.  Of course they do!  But not because she’s got a pretty face.  Because she’s advertising sexual availability.

Emily is pretty average looking.  She has a pretty face, a good figure, and frankly, nothing stands out about her as especially disproportionate.  Remember how I keep harping on the fact that average is prettier than extreme?  Remember the composite faces that are viewed as more attractive the more portraits go into them?  Emily has average breasts, is neither overly thin nor chubby, and has a satisfyingly normal looking face and hair.  So… she’s considered very attractive.  The guys ranked her number two behind Nicole, who also has a pleasantly average face with bright blue eyes and a big smile.  My guess is that with more judges, these two girls might shift places, but the point is that the two very average faces were considered the most beautiful.  The girls simply didn’t think about it this way.  (Remember, I’m using “average” in a mathematical way.  An average nose is one that is in the middle of the pack, size wise.  Not too big, not too small.  I don’t mean average as in, “that girl is not pretty… just average.”  In that usage, average ironically means “not average.”)

Next comes the butt evaluation.  Interestingly, after much hemming and hawing, the girls placed themselves in nearly the same order that the guys had ranked their faces.  The only change was that Average Emily felt confident enough to place herself above Perky Petite Nicole.  Sadly, they were very mistaken again.   The guys proved that men are perfectly capable of looking at women in objective, sexual ways.  They placed the butts with purpose — they didn’t care for flat, but went for the two girls whose butts were the most lifted and pushed out.  (That would be the effect of high heels, wouldn’t it?  Just sayin’.)

The real bombshell came when the guys had to pick the “overall package.”  And oddly enough, it should give some comfort to female readers who are feeling uncomfortable at all this frank and somewhat brutal evaluation.  The girls put on cheerleader outfits — which was the most they’d worn the whole time — and presented themselves in the context of “whole packages,” not individual body parts.  They then ranked themselves in exactly the same order as they’d been ranked for their faces.  And they were dead wrong.  For the guys, a pretty face wasn’t everything by a long shot.  Lost in the middle Amber felt more comfortable in the cheerleader outfit, and it showed in her body language, her facial expressions, and the way she carried herself.  And the guys noticed.  They commented on how she looked “put together.”  And they put her first!  Despite not being the best looking in either case, when she was presented as a person, she was ranked the best.

But… there is a primal moral to the story.  Perky Petite Nicole was ranked at number two, and the guys had agreed all along that she was indeed very pretty.  So it’s true.  An average girl can elevate herself by dressing well and presenting herself well.  Even if she isn’t the prettiest girl in the crowd, she can still attract the attention of guys by acting attractive.  But it’s also true that exceptionally attractive women will always attract a lot of attention, even if they’re not the best put together.  In short, the whole is sometimes more than the sum of its parts, and there’s hope for women without all the parts in perfect proportion.  Make the best of what you have, and put your best foot, or breast, or butt, forward while presenting yourself as a whole person.  It’ll pay off.

Ok.  One very powerful thing from when the guys got ranked:  The girls spent a few seconds talking about physical attributes, and the rest of it was all about attitude.  Even when three men were standing nearly naked for physical evaluation, the girls couldn’t help but evaluate them on attitude.  In the end, they made the conscious decision to put the guy with the objectively best body first, but it was almost an afterthought to their real evaluations — how the guys acted.  And this is a valuable lesson for approaching women.  Assuming you’re not repulsive, your body is the last thing they’re going to evaluate.  They’re going to instinctively and automatically get their first impression from the attitude you convey when they see you first.  Being tall and having muscles definitely helps, but a great smile and a good attitude will make most girls forget that they like muscles.

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Discussion

One thought on “Ranking Our Own Looks

  1. I don’t know — given a different audience, the guys might have ranked completely differently. My guy friend just took a look at the girls and would have ranked them (facially):
    1. Nicole
    2. Autumn
    3. Amber
    4. Emily
    5. Tra-Keila
    He’s not as into the “girl next door” look — he’s a bit more worldly, has traveled a lot, in finance in NYC. I really think it depends on the guy & his exposure.

    Sorry, Emily is fugly compared to Nicole, Autumn, and Amber.

    Posted by verie44 | July 17, 2010, 12:02 am

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