New study shows that women who wear red cloth are disliked by other women. Red is the colour most often associated with feelings of love, intensity and passion – which explains why some raise an eyebrow when women wear red outfits: “What, are they trying to seek attention of males?” While men might take this as a green light to approach ladies in red, women, on the other hand, tend to view women wearing red as more sexually receptive, and as a consequence, they incline to having a bad impression of them. Or does says a new study.
Colours speak for themselves, though they have different meanings for different peoples. Throughout societies across space and time, colours have had been attributed with different connotations, depending on the respective cultural and traditional views. In the light of this, the colour red is the symbol for very different things; for instance, its symbolism in China is in stark contrast to that in the US. While it represents good luck in China, hence the tradition that stipulates that red is a means of repelling evil, red symbolises sexuality in America. Red is, for the most part, associated with sexuality, love, and passion. Notice how everything – from roses to chocolate boxes – is decorated in red for Valentine’s, the festival of love.
Now, since red bears such important implications, it is only logical to say that it exerts an effect on society in terms of perception, to whatever extent. But, is this really true? Researchers have investigated its impact on perception. In the past, studies have shown that men react to women wearing red in a different way: they tend to perceive red as a green light. But, the perception of women towards others of their kind wearing red was not researched until now.
With the view to determining how is the colour red viewed by women, researchers from the University of Rochester have undertaken a survey to collect data about the perceptions of women to red. The questions were phrased to know whether or not women viewed other women wearing red as more sexually receptive, and, whether this would cause them to be more protective of their territory when it comes to their mates.
Part of the study gauged the perception of sexual receptivity of the women taken as participants. They had to view a photograph for five seconds, and later respond to a questionnaire, evaluating their “impression” of the person depicted in the picture. Some images showed a woman dressed in red, and the same would be depicted in other images, but with the woman dressed in white – it is only the colour of the attire that would be different, otherwise, everything remained the same. The results that were obtained from this showed that the participants did perceive the woman depicted in red as being more sexually receptive. The information to assess this was obtained by questions like “This person is interested in sex.”, and they had to answer by “No, not at all” or “Yes, definitely.”
A further step in the study was to evaluate whether red would cause the woman wearing it to be derogated or not: whether people would speak poorly of them, trying to make them appear inferior. Would the perception of red that people have impact upon their perception of the value of the woman as a future mate? The questions were along the lines of: “I would guess that this woman cheats on men” and “I would guess that this woman has no money”, and the answers to be selected from were the same as for the first part of the study. Again, participants associated red with sexuality and as a consequence, derogated the sexual loyalty of the person in red, while no such observation was made for its relation with money.
Furthermore, another part of the survey entailed investigating whether women would be more inclined to ‘protect their mate’ from women wearing red. For example, one of the questions was “How likely would you be to introduce this person to your boyfriend?” The results showed that women are more likely to protect their mate from another female dressed in red.
Therefore, this study showed that the colour red exerts influence on the perception of women as well as on their behavioural intention.