A paper published in Royal Society Open Science finally answered the question we’ve all been asking: does creativity make you more attractive?
Perhaps unsurprisingly, the answer was yes. But only if you were a man. Behold:
“For women, two of the three experiments demonstrated that facial attractiveness enhanced their overall attractiveness to a greater extent than creativity (written expression and creative thinking) enhanced their overall attractiveness,” it explained. “Indeed, across these experiments, creativity weakened the appeal of women with less attractive faces and did not benefit their attractiveness when displayed by women with attractive faces.”
So that means that while the female participants found creative men to be more attractive, male participants could not give less of a shit. According to them, creativity does not make women more attractive. Which, as I’m sure we all know, is a lie.
To start, everybody on the planet is the worst. We know this because we are human beings with eyes and brains and who, at some point, have been on the receiving end of unwarranted DMs and catcalls. As a disclaimer, it is important that we establish that out of men and women, creative or not, capybaras are superior to all of us. Therefore we can surmise that this study did not take account the pitfalls of humanity in general, nor the effects of our current news cycle. Because in 2017 dating is pointless when we’re all pretty sure we’re going to die within a matter of minutes, hours, or days.
But outside of the obviousness of our eventual demise, it is important to state that men love the hell out of a creative woman. Drake confessed his undying love to Rihanna. An entire trope revolves around Zooey Deschanel’s brand of Manic Pixie Dream Girl™. And then there was whatever-the-hell the bathtub/rose petal scene was all about in American Beauty. So the men who participated in this “creative women aren’t attractive” study aren’t just liars, they’re liars who have obviously been living at the bottom of wells. Creative women have been subjected to the male gaze since men could pick up cameras or paint brushes. MIMS wrote “This Is Why I’m Hot” about them.
Creative men, on the other hand, face an uphill climb.
By claiming creative men are more attractive to women than men who are not creative (drink every time I say “creative”) does a massive disservice to both genders. Studies like these perpetuate the myth that men who aren’t artistic or musical or embracers of literature are faced with an obstacle—that, no matter how great they may be at sending “u up?” texts, they will never be good enough. But this, like everything else this study has tried to convince us of, is also a lie. Particularly as it discounts examples like Joe Biden, Barack Obama, Thor, the cast of Ghost Hunters, Super Mario, Luigi, Jamie Oliver, Prince Harry, and Josh Donaldson—men who are not creative, but are beautiful inside and out.
And if this study is willing to discount these obvious examples of attractiveness, then I don’t want a single part in it.
Especially because it also failed to discount the prevalence of scumbags in all industries, existing at all times. Contrary to what this study would like us to believe, the face of a person doesn’t change upon us learning he or she does or does not make art—but those faces sure change when you, believing creativity is a gateway into their soul, realize too late they begin sentences with “Actually . . .” before debating the merit of feminism; before you realize the fedora wasn’t an ironic take on bro culture, but a means of establishing themselves as a member of the modern day Rat Pack. “I’m such a Dean,” they say to you, while you panic internally, wondering if they mean Martin or the guy from Gilmore Girls. Either way, you realize, you are in hell.
So this study can go to the devil. It can go to the devil because it’s wrong, because it perpetuates the notion that creative women aren’t attractive (not true) and that all creative men are (also not true), while erasing our subjective tastes that might not give a shit what someone’s job is because honestly, the world is ending, and at this point it’d be wiser for us to begin hoarding our cash and stocking up on canned goods. At this point, nobody cares who’s attractive anymore, anyway. Just prove that you can survive off the land.
For your viewing pleasure, some graphs from the study below.
Independent effects of men’s creativity and facial attractiveness on their overall attractiveness. The independent effects of facial attractiveness (a, Cohen’s d = 1.36) and creativity (b, Cohen’s d = 0.99) on men’s attractiveness were both large.
The significant two-way interaction between facial attractiveness and creativity in judgements of women’s attractiveness (ηp2 = 0.20). Asterisks indicate medium (*) and large effect sizes (**) using Cohen’s d.
Replication of the significant interaction between face sex, creativity and facial attractiveness on overall attractiveness (ηp2 = 0.20). (a) Creativity has a more substantial effect on the attractiveness of men with average faces than it does for men with attractive faces (asterisks indicate * small, ** medium and *** large effect sizes). (b) Facial attractiveness has a more substantial effect on women’s attractiveness than does their creativity. When comparing conditions (panel b only), all differences (four comparisons) represent a large effect size (Cohen’s d) unless otherwise indicated (two comparisons).
Interested in more studies about creativity?
Study: How Does The Quality of Your Portfolio Site Influence Getting Hired?
How Your Mother Affects Your Creative Thinking
Why Are So Many Graphic Designers Working for Free?