Study Shows Tattooed People are Stronger & Hotter
The latest issue of the Journal of Human Behavior and Evolution Society has an article entitled "Tattoo & Piercing as Signals of Biological Quality" based upon a study conducted by three researchers in the Anthropology departments at the Polish Academy of Science and The University of Wroclaw in Poland.
These researchers set out to prove the following:
"Since both tattoos and piercings can present health risks (e.g., due to blood-borne disease transmission risk), postulate that people who decide to have such a body decoration might have relatively higher biological quality and that tattoos/piercings can be an honest signal of genetic quality."
They found that tattooed and pierced men had significantly higher biological quality ... which I will assume will prompt y'all to give me a collective "DUH!" And how can I deny this when I wake up to the higher biological quality of Brian Grosz above (photographed before the second half sleeve by Mike Rubendall was done).
I wanted to find out more, so I bought the article ($30 for six pages!) so I can bring you the highlights of the study. Here we go:
* They based "biological quality" on levels of fluctuating asymmetry (FA) -- a low FA signals better symmetry, and therefore, higher hotness factor and what they call "good genes." Tattooed men (64 males recruited from two tattoo studios in Western Poland) had much lower FA than those men in the control group (38 male university students). BUT there was no significant difference in the female participants.
* People with tattoos are more likely to be more competitive, risk takers, and have a "less restricted sexual strategy" [read: we like f*cking?]
* Tattooed people, more than others, seek "uniqueness" and because this can be stressful than following social rules, "it is likely that mainly people with relatively high biological quality can afford such behavior."
* They also looked at whether people use body art to "to increase their own physical attractiveness or to hide some shortcomings in their appearance." They found no support for this for both sexes. The problem with this part of the study for me was the premises they based this on: finding no difference in self-ratings of attractiveness between the two groups, suggesting that way more men are tattooed than women in "western societies," and citing a non-scientific study conducted in the UK that claimed tattooed women are rated as less physically attractive than non-tattooed women.
First. recent statistics in the US, show almost an equal percentage of tattooed men and women. [The US doesn't make up all "western society" of course. It's just one indicator.]
As for attractiveness, well, that depends on who you ask. Unlike the FA test, this part of the study is subject to greater error.
For example, last year, I surveyed 561 people online from around the world for my Erotic Ink column on Suicide Girls and found that, while getting tattooed to become more attractive was not a factor for most -- in agreement with the Polish study -- most people did feel more attractive after getting tattooed. Also, tattooed women were rated as more attractive. Ok, I know. I wrote this for Suicide Girls, but my point being that attractiveness studies will differ depending on the culture of whom you're asking (as opposed to the biological measure of the FA tests).
In the end, I don't think we can read too much into a tattoo study done on a couple hundred people in one country, but it is nice to see the results come in favor of us for a change.
[Photograph by Maria Guido]