Friday, November 19, 2010

For Diet Advice, Women Don't Welcome Men's Input

It's a fact of human nature: our behaviors and thoughts are shaped by the norms of society. We act within the confines of what is considered acceptable, and if we deviate, we're considered strange. For women, things like choosing what to wear, how to look from day to day, and body weight are strongly determined by what other women are doing. So when it comes to dieting, men's opinions and advice have little effect on women.

Australian researchers have come to the conclusion that for women, diet tips from men are not only unwelcome, but also disregarded. It was concluded that women don't diet and worry about their weight for men, they worry about it for other women. Yes - I guess women are like that. This makes sense if you consider that men love women with curves, but women seem to want to rid themselves of their curves in our society. Plus, what women wear initiates in high fashion, where models tend to look more like coat hangers. This also further highlights the fact that women can be more strongly persuaded in both a positive or negative direction when examples or advice are delivered by a woman as opposed to a man.

For example, in the study, women paid greater attention to unhealthy messages promoting crash diets if women delivered them! This is scary stuff. But knowing this can also help us make a difference in shifting society's norms to healthier standards. Good health should not be a 'trend' and should not be sacrificed for the sake of 'looking good' - whatever that means. Women and men require pretty much the same breakdown of nutrients, just tailored in amounts proportional to their size and activity level, so sound advice is sound advice any way you slice it, from a woman or a man. Perhaps women ought to pay more attention to what the opposite sex has to say in regards to good food and and a more positive body image - they seem to know a thing or two about that.