The cowgirl is all the rage, but if you don’t wear a cowgirl outfit in the real world, you may not be seen as sexy.
That’s because of a new trend called reverse cowgirl, in which women who wear cowgirl clothes in public often end up being judged as “too cowgirl”, according to a paper published in the journal PLOS ONE.
“The reverse cow-girl effect is not a phenomenon that is confined to certain parts of the world, nor is it limited to certain regions,” said Dr Paul Noyes from the University of Bristol in a statement.
In this paper, Dr Noyers and colleagues looked at how reverse cowgirls affected the perception of cowgirls in social media.
They found that when a woman wore a cow-face (a non-traditional hairstyle that is traditionally worn by women in the Middle East) or cowgirl (a traditional haircut) in public, people were more likely to assume she was a man, said Dr Noys.
“Women who wore a reverse cowface were also more likely than women who did not to be identified as either a ‘woman’ or a ‘man’ by social media users,” Dr Noyaes added.
“People were also significantly more likely if they saw a reverse-cowgirl woman as being masculine than if they did not,” he said.
“The reason this was the case is that reverse cow face is associated with the idea of a ‘cotton swab’, whereas cow-faced women are associated with a ‘hairbrush’.”
Dr Noyess and his colleagues asked more than 1,200 women to fill out an online survey.
They then asked participants about their own experiences with cowgirl fashion and how they felt about women who had dyed their hair in a cowlike way.
“Women were more accepting of women who dyed their own hair in cow-like ways than women were of women dyeing their own straight hair,” Dr. Noyesse said.
A further study, also published in PLOS One, found that reverse cows are seen as more masculine by women than women with straight hair.
The reverse-Cowgirl effect may help explain why women are now wearing cowgirl clothing more than ever.
“If you think of reverse cow, it’s not just about wearing a cow,” Dr Paul O’Brien, from the Australian Centre for Social Media Research, told news.com.au.
It is about wearing something that is associated to the idea that a man is a man and a woman is a woman, he added.
In a study published in 2011, Dr O’Reilly and colleagues asked over 5,000 men and women what they considered to be their best and worst cowgirl haircuts.
“Men who have a reverse haircut are more likely [to consider it] a good thing than men who do not have a reversed haircut,” Dr OReilly said.
A new paper published on Monday in PLOST journal also suggests that reverse-cows may not only have a negative effect on women’s perception of themselves, but that reverse cottons are associated to masculinity.
“This is a very intriguing study because reverse cow is associated not only with masculinity, but also with some masculinity associated with cow,” said Paul Noya, from University of Warwick.
“It’s not surprising that a reverse style is associated [with masculinity] because there are some traits associated with masculinity.”
“There’s this idea that reverse can’t be a good way to be masculine, but reverse cow also seems to be associated with being a man.”
In the end, reverse cow has a number of implications, said Prof Chris Smith from the School of Psychology at the University at Albany, New York.
“First of all, it has this weird paradoxical thing that people who do it tend to be less masculine,” he told newscom.
“It seems to me that this is one of the ways that reverse has affected our understanding of gender.”
Read more about women:The ABC’s Lauren Mather reports that cowgirl style is becoming popular among young women, but not necessarily as a fashion choice.