Psychology proves that red is the new black
By Meagan McGinnes
Splashes of the color red are popping up everywhere in women’s fashion this season. The bold statement is on fire in more ways than one. Red is constantly linked with being a sexual prowess and promiscuoity. The color is invigorating. I personally feel more confident and sexy even with a pop of red in my accessories. It is a color eyes are automatically drawn to, making one want to stop and stare.
The question is this: Does wearing the color red actually grasp men’s attention to make them stop and stare? Scientific research says yes.
University of Rochester psychologists Andrew Elliot and Daniela Niesta did a study to evaluate whether certain colors were more likely to be associated with sex appeal. They did this by letting a sample of men look at pictures of a woman in various shirt colors, including red, and asking them to rate her attractiveness. Not only were the men more attracted to the women when she was wearing red, but according to the study, “They were also more interested in dating the woman and indicated they would be willing to spend more money on her when she was dressed in red.”
So is it a fluke? Did the men only prefer the woman when wearing red because of the stereotype that women who choose to wear red are bolder sexually? Elliot and Niesta addressed this issue by repeating the experiment, but instead of varying the color of the woman’s shirt, they changed the color of the photo background. The original results held true even though the woman was no longer wearing the color. What proved to be even more interesting is that when asked, the men in the survey thought the color of the woman’s shirt and the background had no effect on their thoughts of her “hotness.” So, the attraction to the color red is unconscious for most males.
Neurologically, the color red is linked to sex because after a woman has an orgasm, she becomes flushed. The color red reminds men of this action, automatically jogging the part of the brain controlling sex. This is also why men generally prefer red lipstick and red nail polish on women.
However, after speaking to other female college students, many feel sexier and more attractive in the color. Every girl I spoke to mentioned a sense of empowerment and presence.
Why does red give us girls this feeling of overt sensuality? The link between red and sex has been dictated to us through media and marketing. We want red roses, red lingerie and chocolates in red, heart-shaped boxes on Valentine’s Day. In movies the vixen will most likely be wearing red. Even in Grease, when Sandy makes her transformation, she is rocking super sexy red stilettos.
“It is definitely a Hollywood style,” said film major Shea Lynch. “It’s not necessarily a sexual connotation, but its bold. It gives an impression of confidence, someone who is not likely to fit in with the crowd,”
However, red’s appeal to the sexual senses does depend on the context.
“I don’t think Little Red Riding Hood was a slut,” freshman Zach Krowiak said.
A red, baggy sweater is much less sexy than a fitted and revealing blue dress. Also, because red is not worn often in an everyday setting, its spontaneity in wardrobes through subtle accent touches creates a further intrigue and mystery.
“You only buy [something red] if you know it looks really good on you and it makes you feel more confident,” said Sara Kay, freshman CMD major.
So here is my advice to all the ladies out there: Go buy a few red items of clothing for your wardrobe. Guys won’t even realize why they find you so irresistible.
Meagan McGinnes is a freshman journalism major who just bunch of skin-tight, red jeans for her wardrobe. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.