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Old 15th August 2005   #1
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 1,784
Default The science of the runway walk

We recently received an interesting message from Micki (an occasional contributor to the forum), who writes:

I believe one of the primary reasons that women torture themselves in an attempt to lose weight is really a fear of being unable to attract a worthwhile man, as they are told constantly by the media that only thin women are attractive. Men also are brainwashed into thinking that skeletal women are the "prize" that they should trying to win, even though this goes against thousands, if not millions, of years of biology and history, and men who prefer plus-size women feel that they should be silent about their attraction.

Sites like yours that feature beautiful full-figured women can help heal the damage done to both men's and women's minds by the thin-supremacist media. I would like to see more articles and commentary in the forum about this topic.

Micki's point about societal indoctrination conflicting with the natural instincts of attraction is extremely important. And it just so happens that her observation coincides with an intriguing report which aired last Friday, on a Canadian science/news television program titled Daily Planet.

Although we usually turn to the history of Western culture for confirmation of the Classical ideal of feminine beauty, this report provides us with a welcome opportunity to invoke the findings of modern science in support of this ideal.

* * *

We have all viewed Ford's online promotional videos, which show how well the agency's girls perform the fashion model's signature "runway walk."

Well, it turns out that there is a real science to this runway gait--and to the act of walking in general.

Dr. Nikolaus Troje, a researcher at Queen's University in Canada, has been studying the mechanics of walking, and how a person's walk is perceived by others.

Dr. Troje's methodology involves outfitting volunteers with motion sensors (the kind that SFX teams employ to create motion-capture signatures for filmmaking),

and then asking his volunteers to walk in front of a special camera. The subjects' movements are digitally recorded, and the information is entered into a database:

By compiling the data from dozens of subjects, Dr. Troje has managed to create a "biomotion" computer model, which displays how the human body moves, while walking.

Significantly, this project has revealed that there are distinct differences between the ways in which men and women walk.

As Dr. Troje reported to the Daily Planet,

"If you look at the whole person walking, you find that the rotation of the hips in women is in counter-phase to the way they set their feet; meaning, if the right foot is on the floor, the right hip will be up, and if the right foot is off the floor, the right hip will be down. Whereas in men, it's in-phrase, so when the right foot is on the floor, the right hip goes down, and vice versa."

This information has allowed Dr. Troje to refine his computer model by adding an adjustable "sliding scale" of gender characteristics. Using this adjustment, the viewer can alter the walk of the biomotion model, from displaying a more masculine to a more feminine walking pattern:

As Dr. Troje explained to the Daily Planet:

"The extreme male on the one end is someone that might be reminiscent of, let's say, the Californian governor, for instance [the TV program flashes an image of Arnold Schwarzenegger], or we go to the other side, and we see that very feminine catwalk." [the program flashes images of runway models at a fashion show]

Thus far, you may be thinking, "That's all very nice, but . . . so what?"

Well, when Dr. Troje's team asked a group of men and women to scrutinize a number of different walking patterns, and to assess which ones they found most attractive--from the most masculine, to the most feminine--the results were quite unexpected--and very revealing.

In the following excerpt from the televised report, Dr. Troje's comments are italicized, while the Daily Planet reporter's voice-over narration appears in Roman type:

"What we find when we ask men to rate female attractiveness is very straightforward. The most feminine woman is the most attractive one."

Those are the women whose feet stay closest together, almost crossing as they walk. They also have the counter-phased hips and feet.

While it may seem intuitive that men would prefer the most feminine females, it may not be.

"If we ask women what they consider that men would find attractive in women, we get something very different. It's rather, a woman that shows lots of confidence and vigor, lots of vertical motion altogether."

Women don't seem to have a good idea of what men really like. On the other hand, when women rate men,

"The attractive man is not our Arnold. It's rather the vigorous, confident, energetic figure that is rated to be attractive."

Surprisingly, the man women found attractive walked very similarly to the woman they thought men would prefer. More surprisingly, it's the exact same walk that men in the study thought women would like.

Could it be, men know more about what women find attractive than women know about what men find attractive?

* * *

This experiment pertains to the topic of this forum in a number of ways.

Above all, it supports Micki's point about the conflict between ideology and biology. In this day and age, many individuals are led to discount the very existence of biology as a force in human interaction. More specifically--as noted in the Daily Planet report--this study demonstrates that many women have been duped into completely misconstruing what men actually find attractive.

The modern media--which is inherently hostile to femininity--has persuaded most women that men are drawn to an androgynous figure with "lots of confidence and vigor, lots of vertical motion." And naturally, it offers women countless methods of purchasing such a figure.

Just think of the content of most women's magazines. According to the articles in such publications, if a woman only spends enough money engaging in "vertical motion" in a gym, or if she projects the "confidence and vigor" that diet ads claim she can achieve through self-imposed starvation, then she can immediately become more attractive to the opposite gender.

But that is not the case at all. As Dr. Troje's research confirms, "The most feminine woman is the most attractive one" to the majority of men living today (even after a century of brainwashing).

But Dr. Troje's computer program also reveals something even more significant.

In addition to being adjustable for gender, the biomotion program also features a weight-based sliding scale, marked from "Heavy" to "Light."

And can you guess what happens when, after selecting the most "feminine" setting, the user slides the weight scale to the "heavy" end?

That's right. The movements of the walking figure become even softer, smoother, more sinuous, more seductive, more feline . . . more feminine.

And thus--as Dr. Troje's research confirms--more attractive to men.

Yes, this project further confirms the truth about plus-size beauty. Although women have been brainwashed into believing that they become more attractive when they make their figures more "vertical" (and stick-like), this experiment proves otherwise. It shows that this is not what men are biologically programmed to find attractive at all. Quite the contrary. The more feminine a woman is, the more attractive she becomes to the opposite gender. And no matter how counter-intuitive this may seem to a modern woman, as the sliding scale of her figure moves further away from "light," and draws closer to "heavy," her movements actually appear even more feminine--and thus, even more attractive.

You can test Dr. Troje's computer program for yourself, at the page linked below. Note that the best way to follow the movements of the biomotion figure is to engage the "lines" feature, as indicated here:

Some professional models may even wish employ this program to refine their personal runway style . . .


Last edited by HSG : 15th August 2005 at 02:01.
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Old 15th August 2005   #2
M. Lopez
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Join Date: August 2005
Posts: 587
Default Re: The science of the runway walk

Those are line drawings? I thought they were straight-size models.

(Just kidding)

The remarkable thing about the computer figure it that when I set it to the most feminine and "heavy" settings, its movements are so beautiful and balletic, that I swear that I can almost see the curves, even though it's just a two-dimensional drawing.

By the way, all this talk of runway walking reminds me that I don't think I've ever seen any video, anywhere, showing Barbara Brickner on the catwalk. I imagine she probably does television segments in her native Seattle, the way Liis appears on television here in Toronto. I can just imagine how elegant Barbara is on the runway. I bet she moves so gracefully, it would be poetry in motion.

[Image deleted--HSG]

Last edited by HSG : 31st December 2005 at 13:59.
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Old 16th August 2005   #3
Senior Member
Join Date: July 2005
Posts: 633
Default Re: The science of the runway walk

I think the most important revelation of all in this study is what is concluded about the type of walk that women THOUGHT men would find attractive. It shows how women project their aesthetic tastes onto others.

Studies consistently show that the majority of men prefer curvaceous women, but because women THEMSELVES have internalized the "vertical" aesthetic that this study talked about, they project this preference onto men. "I don't like my curves, so how could any man find me attractive?"- that's the assumption. But it's totally wrong.

I think it also explains one of the major problems with the plus-size industry. I suspect that a lot of the women who manage it have this "vertical" aesthetic viewpoint too. In their heart of hearts, THEY don't actually find plus-size models/full-figured women attractive (whether they themselves are plus-size or not), and so they don't think their customers would either. And they couldn't be more wrong- but no one seems to be able to explain this to them.

It's like the "Charlotte Bronte syndrome" that people have talked about here. When Charlotte Bronte writes about the full-figured coquette beauties in her novels, it's like she's always saying, "I know the world finds this kind of beauty attractive, but I don't, so no one else should either."
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