We are all familiar with the Chris De Burgh song ‘Lady in Red’, but is it true?
The colour red has long been associated with women’s sexual attractiveness, but a study conducted by the University of Kent has shown that this is not linked to the colour of female genitalia as imagined in the male mind as previously believed.
There is a common view that men are attracted to the colour red because it makes them think about female genitals and sexual arousal, and it has been suggested that women wear red lipstick to attract men by making them think of sexually aroused labia.
The research conducted by the School of Anthropology and Conservation involved showing 40 men of varying levels of sexual experience four digitally enhanced photographs of female genitalia differing in colour from pale pink to red.
The results showed that men had an aversion to the redder female genitalia and that red is not seen as sexual arousal of female genitalia for men.
A report in 2008 found that the colour red does lead men to view women as more attractive and more sexually desirable but they are unaware of this red effect. Wearing red does not affect women’s perceptions of the attractiveness of other women nor men’s perceptions of women’s overall likeability, intelligence and kindness.
A 2010 study found that it works for men too. Women are more attracted to men wearing red than any other colour.
Reasons for wearing red
Women tend to wear red when they are ovulating, at the time of the month when they are at their most fertile, and is thought to be done in a bid to attract a mate.
Women who wear red on their online dating profile photographs are more likely to get messages and dates than those wearing other colours. A study by the University of Southern Brittany in 2013 found that red tops worn by women on dating websites generated 21% of the messages as opposed to 14-16% for women wearing other colours.
Professor Andrew Elliot from the University of Rochester, New York, conducted a study in 2010 and found that men are more likely to ask a woman out and spend more money on her if she was wearing red.
The power of wearing red lipstick not only impacts upon sexual attractiveness but can influence confidence in the boardroom. Red lipstick is a confidence booster and is a great tool to use both in the bedroom and boardroom because it focuses the eye on the mouth. In a poll of 1000 women, conducted by the British Heart Foundation in 2013, 26% said that wearing red lipstick boosted their confidence.
A French study conducted in 2012 found that waitresses wearing red lipstick received tips 50% of the time from men compared to waitresses wearing pink, brown or no lipstick who received tips from 30% of male customers. When asked about their tipping habits, the male customers seems to be completely unaware of being influenced by their server’s appearance. Women were not influenced in their tipping habits by the lipstick worn by the waitresses.
During World War II, Elizabeth Arden created a red lipstick for American women serving in the US armed forces to help them feel confident and powerful. Many photographs show the forces’ sweethearts wearing red lipsticks to boost the morale of the male troops.
Red can boost your memory. A 2009 study by Zhu and Mehta found that reading something printed in red will make it stay in your memory longer.
Red can mean different things in other cultures. Red is seen as a sign of danger in many countries.
- In Russia, red symbolizes communism and revolution.
- In China, brides wear red because it is consider lucky.
- Most Asians believe red means happiness and prosperity.
- In India, red means life giving purity.
- In the Middle East, red is seen as dangerous and evil.
- In Greece, red is a male dominant colour.
- In Japan, it is associated with female reproduction.
- In Christianity, red is associated with green to symbolise the Holly and the Ivy.
- To some Native Americans, it is believed red symbolises the East and Sacred Fire.
- In South Africa, red is the colour of mourning.
- In Amsterdam, red sells sex in the Red Light district of the city, a legalised zone for prostitution.
Red in language
Red has many different meanings within the English language:
- “Red blooded American” indicates patriotism.
- “Red necks” are considered ignorant and crass people.
- Being “in the red” means being in debt and comes from the use of red pens by accountants for negative numbers. Teachers often use red ink to correct school work.
- “Red tape” means being hampered by unnecessary details.
- Being “caught red handed” means the evidence is obvious.
- A “red letter day” is considered something memorable.
- To “paint the town red” is to have a party.
- “Red carpet” treatment is often reserved for celebrities and VIPs to make them feel special.
- “Taking the Red Eye” means flying overnight.
- “Seeing red” is commonly used to describe people who are uncontrollably angry.
- Mars is referred to as the “Red Planet”.
Red definitely makes some people more confident and attractive/attracted to the opposite sex. Whatever it is, if you like wearing red lipstick or a red dress, continue to reap the benefits of being that lady in red.