Friday, February 20, 2009

Stop the Presses!!

Now, wait a minute..."stop the presses!" is an old cliche that refers to the old-time newspaper industry, when the cigar-chomping city editor would shout this at his hapless press operator in response to some fabulous, Pulitzer-quality story that had just crossed his desk.

But it makes no sense in the age of the Internet, does it?

What do you say nowadays? "Impede the flow of electrons!!" ??

Well, I digress...but for a reason.

We stop the presses this morning for this amazing story from CNN Online: Men See Bikini-Clad Women As Objects, Psychologists Say.

I'm shocked! Shocked, I say! Who would have thought such a thing?

And who would have paid for a study to prove it?

Susan Fiske, a professor of psychology at Princeton University, told the CNN reporter that "This is just the first study which was focused on the idea that men of a certain age view sex as a highly desirable goal, and if you present them with a provocative woman, then that will tend to prime goal-related responses."

Yes, I've been known to experience prime goal-related responses. Somewhat less frequently as I grow older, but I know whereof the good professor speaks.

Professor Fiske's study involved showing photographs of fully-clothed and bikini-clad women to men for a fraction of a second, then measuring the activity shown in different parts of their brains. The result was that men tended to show more activity in the brain areas associated with handling tools and intending to perform actions, and to remember the bikini-clad women's bodies better than those of fully-clothed women. The CNN report goes on to address a supplementary study on both male and female undergraduates, which found that men tend to associate bikini-clad women with first-person action verbs such as "I push," "I handle," and "I grab," instead of third-person forms such as "she pushes," "she handles," and "she grabs." On the other hand, they associated fully-clothed women with the third-person forms, indicating these women were perceived as in control of their own actions. Women who took the test did not show this effect, according to Professor Fiske.

I think I wasted my time studying the reconstruction of dead languages in college.

Dr. Charles Raison, a psychiatrist and director of the Mind/Body Institute at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia, wasn't involved in Professor Fiske's study, but had his own take on what it meant, noting that both women and men have something to learn from such research: women should be aware of how they are perceived when wearing provocative clothing, and men shouldn't let feelings of impersonal sexual longing interfere with their more personal relationships with other women, including female friends. "Many men make foolish choices because of sexual attraction," Dr Raison said.

Bilbo said, "Duh..."

I think the subject requires additional study. Therefore, I ask all of my female readers to e-mail me photographs of yourselves in bikinis so that I can evaluate the work of Professor Fiske. For purely scientific reasons, of course.

I'll let you know how it comes out.

Have a good day. Cartoon Saturday's coming.



John A Hill said...

Uh...Bilbo, I think that you're supposed to get a government grant for $100,000 before you ask for those photos. Otherwise it's not a real study, just a pervert drooling over pictures.

wv: ressen..the same as lesson (but with a little speech impediment).

Gilahi said...

I don't know about you, but I spotted a huge fallacy in this study as soon as I read it. If you're showing men pictures of scantily clad women, you shouldn't be monitoring their brains.

wv: demosion - Slowing down to a standstill from a mosey.

KKTSews said...

Brilliant insight, John!
Bilbo, all I can say is "eewwww"--believe me, you don't want pictures of me in a bikini.
But thanks for highlighting this article (I'm serious) because it underscores the ongoing discussion I have with my step-daughter about how men treat women who have boob jobs and are scantily-clad.

Amanda said...

Hmmmm....OK....I knew I should have changed my profile picture last weekend when I changed the layout of my blog! I'm getting around to it ... soon....

Malaise Inc said...


Huh..huh...huh... you said "handling tools."


Anonymous said...

prime goal related.....the politically correct dirty old man

mandate...bring on the girls in bikinis

Anonymous said...

And MSN had a feature on the history of underwear today, including the thong...

Bilbo said...

John - you're right, of course, but the grant money is tied up with the stimulus legislation, and I thought I'd just go ahead with the stimulus on my own. So to speak.

Gilahi - good point.

Katherine - you wouldn't want to see me in swim trunks, either.

Amanda - don't let me talk you into anything, now...

Malaise - ;-)

Bandit - did you ever read Isaac Asimov's book, "The Sensuous Dirty Old Man"? You would have appreciated it. And yes, it's real.

Leslie - the thong is ended, but the melody lingers on...

Mike said...

@Amanda - Don't take this to seriously. After all, it is a government funded study. And we're looking at cute little Aaron your holding. Trust us.

Amanda, stop reading here......
I looked at the article.
"That goes along with the idea that the man looking at a woman in a bikini sees her as the object of action, Fiske said."
I wonder if women know that? As you said DUH.....

fiona said...

"I'll let you know how it comes out"

I think most of us know how "it" comes out dear!
Do you want bikini top and bottoms or only bikini bottoms? Don't want to mess up your study.

wv- sesse - me steet

Anonymous said...

*Runs to put on a bikini*

Bilbo said...

Mike - don't help me, here, okay?

Fiona - I thought "bikini" implied both parts, but I'll leave it up to you.

Twinkie - don't rush...I'll wait. ;-)

craziequeen said...

'..women should be aware of how they are perceived when wearing provocative clothing...'

er - sweetie, I think they are..!! And if they aren't, they're hoping they look alluring.

Well, I used to be, back in the dark ages.....

wv - chedides...a rare skin disease related to cheese...


Confessions of a Temporal Lobe said...

In my youth I worked for a company that required us to wear uniforms.

One day while at a store I ran into one of our clients sons.

He kept looking at me until he placed where he knew me from.

All of a sudden he blurts out, "Hey I didn't recognize you with your clothes on".

His wife gave him a smack on the arm. Heheh.

Poor guy had only seen me in a work uniform and did not recognise me in my street clothes.

Men are funny.