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Women wearing red are seen as a sexual threat by other women

A model walks the runway during the Chanel show as part of Paris Fashion Week - Haute Couture Fall/Winter 2014-2015 at Grand Palais on July 8, 2014, in Paris, France.
Photo by Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

Women that wear red are seen as more sexually receptive to women and men and are therefore considered a threat to women in a relationship. This is the conclusion of a set of experiments conducted by psychologists at the University of Rochester, Trnava University in Slovakia, and the Slovak Academy of Sciences. The study was reported in the July 11, 2014, edition of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin.

Previous research has found that men perceive the color red as a signal of sexual receptivity and that women wear red more often if they expect to meet a man that is a suitable partner based on the man’s appearance. The researchers were interested in the perception that other women have of a woman wearing red. The focus of the study was to determine if women perceived a woman wearing red clothing to be sexually receptive and how the women responded to a woman wearing red.

Women viewed a photograph of another woman in red and another woman in white in the first experiment. The women responded to the photographs as depicting a sexually receptive woman with a sliding scale that ran from an absolute yes to an absolute no. Red was perceived to indicate that a woman was sexually receptive but white did not. The same experiment that compared green to red produced the same results. Green was selected to overcome the perception of white as a symbol of purity.

The third test examined the extent that women would go to be derogatory toward a woman wearing red in an effort to prevent their significant other from interacting with a woman wearing red. Claims of sexual promiscuity wear the predominant response by women in response to a woman in red but comments about financial status were not. The participants in the studies were in majority in a committed relationship. The study examined both women in the United States and in Eastern Europe.

Red clothing makes women that are in a relationship attempt to guard their mate from the perceived sexual advances of a woman wearing red. The behavior is termed mate-guarding in both males and females. Actual sexual advances had nothing to do with the response. Red clothes on other women make men and women think the woman is advertising sexual availability regardless of the woman’s true intent.

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