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Looks and the City: Attractiveness Matters in Urban Areas

A woman's level of attractiveness can impact her psychological well-being, but only if she lives in an urban area.

Using waist-to-hip ratio to determine a woman's attractiveness, a study published this month determined that a higher level of attractiveness helps women in urban areas stand out from the crowd and make better social connections. Conversely, people in rural areas do not use attractiveness when determining who to have social relationships with because relationships are less about choice and more about who already lives in the community. In other words, populations in rural areas are too small to allow competition over appearance, therefore, looks do not have a significant impact on a woman's relationships or happiness.

Do you find people living in cities to be more superficial?

Join The Conversation
yeokr yeokr 7 years
I'm from a small town in Mississippi, originally, and have been in Memphis for a few years now. I'm more outgoing with my style now, but I take less care in dressing for the day-to-day. I never wore pyjamas or sweats to class throughout undergrad, etc. I certainly used to dress up more often and to a greater degree..I realized that since I am usually with a bunch of guys, my cute dresses and going-out clothes are going unworn. I grew up under the shadow of SEC college girls who dress to the nines for everything and have totally left that behind. Not sure where that puts me in the study..
KadBunny KadBunny 7 years
I grew up in a little suburb in the Philippines and started living here in LA when I was 13; huge change to say the least, and it's a very self-conscious age. I'm more grown up now (well I like to think so :P) but some days I still feel like that girl where I think "ooh LA, so glam, gotta look hot." I live in the 'hood though (well kinda) so there's less pressure haha. It's just the idea of LA that gets to me (and I imagine most people).
Soniabonya Soniabonya 7 years
I think I'm the oddball. I live in the San Jose and I could care less on how I look. I go out to the store in sweatpants and my pj pants if I'm feeling lazy. I wear tanks, tees or currently tshirts and sweaters. I also hardly ever wear makeup and if it's more than 60 degrees I'm wearing flip flops. My fiance is from Prunedale (country boy) and wears clothes that are comfortable for him and doesn't care how he looks either. Though both our sets of friends, those from country and city are very fashionable. That being said, if I go out with friends to dinner, I do put on jeans and a nice shirt and maybe a little makeup. I make some effort to be presentable when I go out somewhere nice, but it's not an everyday thing.
Yogaforlife Yogaforlife 7 years
I grew up in a little town that for the longest time was blind to the fashions of the outside world - and people did not try hard with their personal appearance. People would wear sweatpants to go shopping, wouldn't do their hair/makeup, etc, and everybody was a bleach blonde in a low cut top. When I moved to Charlotte, my first trip to the South Park mall on a Sunday, I made the mistake of wearing jeans and sneakers and was made to feel really inferior. People gave me dirty looks, nobody in the stores would help me. I learned real quick that if I wanted to fit in and be treated better, that I better adopt the same attitude - wear heels/cute going out shirts and have my hair/makeup done when stepping outside. I became way more fashion conscious. It's definitely a more competitive atmosphere in the cities, but I think it pushes people to better themselves. There are a lot more healthy food choices in the city, plus more gyms, and just more options - you can walk/take public transportation rather than driving yourself everywhere. And I agree - cities are way more open to diversity/differences.
Autumns_Elegy Autumns_Elegy 7 years
Yep. I live just outside Adelaide in the wine regions and my partner is from an urban area. We started dating and I was instantly told to shave my legs, wear foundation, and give my wardrobe a do over (that needed doing anyway :p). He liked me for me but found a few things distasteful, like stubbly leg hair and the occasional zit.
kelkooshoe kelkooshoe 7 years
yes, that makes sence!but I believe attractiveness always matters! small choice doesn't equal to no choice!people liveing in the city are too busy to advoid being more superficial!
cordata cordata 7 years
Using waist to hip ratio as the indicator for levels of attractiveness is bizarre. How about facial symmetry?? This seems like a lazy study.
katieb82981 katieb82981 7 years
I remember when I lived in Chicago that my parents commented on how much prettier all the girls were than in the small town in which I was raised. I now live in NYC, and I've noticed that just making the jump to a larger city has increased the amount of competitiveness in looks/fashion/thinness dramatically.
Studio16 Studio16 7 years
Hmm. I was born in suburban Philly but now I live and go to school in rural Virginia. So I'm kind of a mix. I usually go for good looking guys, but my most recent crush was a guy who my friends said looked like the SNL version of Harry Potter. The other guys I've had crushes on have all been hugely attractive, though, and I'm very vain when it comes to my personal appearance.
xgreenfairyx xgreenfairyx 7 years
I think people are superficial. Period.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
popgoes... - if you read the whole comment, you would notice that I said I encountered a lot more of that, not that the whole area was like that, and that I qualified it by saying that I know not everyone from a given area shares that trait. It's just what I've observed, having lived in small towns and big cities. I judge people as I go, no matter where they're from. If I met an intolerant person from the city, well, they'd be just as much of an *sshole as an intolerant person from the country. The only people that I'm intolerant of are intolerant people.
robinlh912 robinlh912 7 years
I agree with the rural WI comment! I'm from Madison (2nd largest city in the state! Woo haha) and I go to school in a very small town, and you can tell for the most part who is from another rural area and who came from a city. But when I compare Madison to what I see on any larger town, it seems like it they try harder to look nice than we do! It seems pretty proportional!
popgoestheworld popgoestheworld 7 years
I love the city and the country - each has its merits. By the way, if you're going to label a group of people as more sexist, racist, etc. than another group of people, you should realize that you're falling victim to intolerance as well, by assigning people viewpoints based on the size of the community they live in. Anyway, moving on... I live in DC and walk around without makeup in jeans and cute tees and I fit right in. In Orange County, CA, where I grew up, it's a different story. When I go to certain malls in the area I am practically the only female not wearing makeup and high heels. I also spent a year in rural Wisconsin, though, and I can say without a doubt that I experienced the least amount of superficiality there than anywhere I've lived. It's hard to worry about how you look when it's -25 degrees outside. You just want to be as warm as possible.
Hello890 Hello890 7 years
Totally agree, lilkimbo. According to this study (based on my waist-to-hip ratio), I'm butt, ho hips, etc. Basically, I have the shape of a boy, but I don't think I'm least I hope I'm not! What a stupid way to measure beauty.
skigurl skigurl 7 years
i agree, for lots of reasons already stated. as well, when you live in a small town, you aren't as choosy because you can't afford to be (the pool is a lot smaller) and you just stick with what you get. people often marry the guy they've been dating since highschool, which doesn't happen in cities. people in cities are more choosy and have a larger pool and have a different style, therefore i can definitely see how this is true.
janneth janneth 7 years
People in So Cal are more fit, more interested in wearing make-up and nice clothes before leaving the house, and have more cosmetic surgery judging from people I know.
lilkimbo lilkimbo 7 years
I agree that looks are more important in larger cities, but find the methodology of this study silly, at best. I also think a lot of this depends on the particular city.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
I'm always perplexed by the reputation Los Angeles gets for being so superficial by visitors. Yes I agree there are plenty of superficial people there but if you venture a little further beyond observation you find that most are from out of state and have some preconceived notion of a Hollywood attitude before they moved there. I grew up in the L.A. burbs and IMO real Angelinos are just hard working everyday people like most every one else.
tlsgirl tlsgirl 7 years
I love the city - maybe people are more superficial, but in more rural areas I've encountered much more racism, sexism, homophobia, and a general intolerance to different lifestyles. Doesn't mean that all "country" people are like that, but I'd take superficiality over intolerance any day.
Ac2366 Ac2366 7 years
Yes, I find that people who live in cities are more superfical. I live an hour north of a major US city and this is one of my many reasons for hating the city. I'm just a country girl.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 7 years
Makes perfect sense to me. City life styles and professions demand an attentive sense of vanity and body consciousness. IMO women do have it a lot harder than men when it comes to careers and appearance but on the other hand I think men may get a rougher shake down when it comes to dating. Just my opinion.
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