This article details some research done by a Wharton professor on our perceptions of men’s bodies. He found that men who were bald were perceived as more dominant, taller, and stronger than their counterparts with hair. Although our recent readings have focused on women’s bodies, I think it’s also important to realize how men’s bodies are stereotyped as well.
This behavior contradict’s Bordo’s point that we undergo ‘self-transformation in service of’ body norms, although I think many men are preoccupied with hair loss in a way that resembles Bordo’s description of women’s preoccupation with diet and slenderness (Bordo,186). I think that this contradiction shows us that women are subject to stricter ‘rules’ about their bodies then men are.
The author of the research, Mannes, believes that the ‘disregard of convention’ is what makes people perceive these men to be more dominant, and he suggests that this might be applicable to women as well. He suggests that women who behave in an unconventional manner might be able to “have more of an impact”. I find this hard to believe, especially because many of the articles we have read so far have pointed out that women are subject to stricter controls than men. From my personal experiences, it seems like men have more leeway in differing from the norm, and radical differences are sometimes celebrated. I can think of very few times when this is true for women. What do others think about this?