You’re probably familiar with the cheerleader effect. If not the cheerleader effect, perhaps the sorority girl effect? On Urban Dictionary, it is defined as:
Effect where when 3 or more women are located in a bar, pub etc scene together, they appear together as a good looking bunch, but when viewed individually, are actually unattractive. Thought to only be in effect with groups of women, but actually in effect with both sexes.
Cheerleader effect is where altogether the cheerleading team looks attractive but on closer inspection is quite ugly, the spice girls, the group of women who dance in a circle at the bar-usually with a pile of purses in the middle, occurs at any Canadian fraternity common room where all together the men look hot but when checked out are actually bunk ass.
Originally, us females may have taken offense to this slang. I mean, it does seem like just another way for guys to judge us on appearance, right? But then, we realized that it works both ways. Just like “YeahLise” pointed out so truly on her Urban Dictionary submission, the cheerleader effect doesn’t work on only cheerleaders. Go to a soccer game and drool over the players, but then when you meet one of them up close you realize he’s not as sexy as you thought. Or head to a fraternity party that’s known as “the hottest on campus”…until you get up close and personal, that is.
This effect isn’t just us being shallow a**holes, apparently. A study published by Psychological Science proved that as humans we naturally rate a group of people on their average attractiveness rather than individually. Therefore, it makes sense why that one boy band seemed like hotties until the back-up dancer started hitting on you.
In the study, some participants were shown pictures of 100 people and asked to rate them on their attractiveness. Other participants were shown pictures of one of the 100 people cropped closely. In almost all of the trials, the subject was rated as more attractive when shown in the group. The difference in rating wasn’t huge, it was closer to 2-3%. However, we all know that this difference probably jumps with alcohol, and let’s be real…we need every attractiveness point that we can get.
So what about if you’re hanging out with less than beautiful people? Are you going to be brought down by their looks? Or if you suddenly find yourself in a group of models, are they going to be bogged down by your averageness? Because the human eye generally views the most symmetrical face as beautiful, prettier people become prettier when viewed in a group, even if others in the group aren’t quite as attractive.
So what’s the moral of the story? Make more friends. If you used to go out to the bar with a wing-chick, consider going out with a harem of wing-women instead. On the flip side, that hottie eyeing you from across the bar? Get him alone first before deciding if you want to take him home tonight, he might be deceiving you by hanging out in the middle of his group of bros…
About The Author:
Ashley Uzer is an LA-based writer who covers dating, fashion, beauty, culture, + more. Follow Ashley on Instagram and Twitter.
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