Shopping with your ovaries

Women buy sexier clothes while ovulating, and a researcher suggests this could be a powerful tool for marketers

Published August 5, 2010 10:50PM (EDT)

A study is making the rounds today that finds women buy sexier clothing while ovulating. Well, more accurately: Ovulating women buy sexier clothing after being shown photographs of attractive women. The researchers concluded that when we're at our most fertile, we try our darnedest to outshine our sexual competitors. You know ladies, always fighting over who gets to be impregnated!

The findings aren't all that surprising and certainly fall in line with past research on fertility and sex appeal -- like the study finding that women dress nicer during their hormonal peak or the one demonstrating that strippers get more tips while ovulating. What I find most fascinating (also: horrifying, depressing) is that these results are being framed as a potential marketing tool. It reminds me of the "Hormonology Guide to Holiday Shopping" that Rebecca Traister wrote about way back in Broadsheet's infancy. 

Lead researcher Kristina Durante told Science Daily: "For about five to six days every month, normally ovulating women -- constituting over a billion consumers -- may be especially likely to purchase products and services that enhance physical appearance." On a similar note, she told the BBC: "Our findings suggest marketers for many types of female products are well served to strategically time their mailings, coupons, electronic solicitations, and direct requests to the specific window when women are ovulating."

Just imagine a brave new world where advertisers track your menstrual cycle and target you according to your hormonal fluctuations.

By Tracy Clark-Flory

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