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Study: No such thing as a 'beautiful scrotum'

Study: No such thing as a 'beautiful scrotum'
, Wednesday, 25 October 2023 (15:53 IST)
Sometimes good science makes you laugh, then think. (Like the winners of the Ig Nobel Prize.)
One such study was published in the Journal of Cosmetic Dermatology. It's called,
"The Scrotum: A Comparison of Men's and Women's Aesthetic Assessments."
In it, lead author Paula Albrecht recruited male volunteers in an attempt to find an example of an aesthetically pleasing scrotum.
DW: Paula, your study has possibly the most devastating conclusion we've ever read. Could you please read the conclusion of your study?
Paula Albrecht: The conclusion of the study ultimately states that, "It was barely possible to identify a beautiful scrotum; we must speak instead of the least ugly one."
So there’s no such thing as a beautiful scrotum?
That was indeed the conclusion of the study. We showed participants some photos of scrota. We didn't ask specifically, "Why do you like this one more than the other one?" It was just a Likert scale, from -3 to +3, to rate each single photo. We don't know why they rated them as they did.
Is that your study was about? To find that personal preference, and find the objective characteristics of the scrotum?
It was because getting a scrotum tightening is super trendy at the moment. Or it's becoming more and more trendy. We wanted to figure out which gender prefers which size, and optics, of a scrotum. If a man, or a person with a scrotum, wants to go and get a tightening operation, they can have data that says women prefer that kind of scrotum, and men prefer that kind of scrotum.
Is there an ethical component to work like this? Because these are questions I've never had. I've never thought about the beauty of my scrotum. And I'm assuming most people in society haven't either. And now…? Should we be thinking about this stuff, Paula?
This is a very critical topic. And I think that you should love your body no matter how it looks. But also, if you have problems with, for example, your scrotum, and you're very unhappy about it, I think it's great if surgeons have a variety of studies that show that it's normal to do this, and that you can feel comfortable, and you're not abnormal doing it. But for sure, you shouldn't push a narrative that you have to have a scrotum surgery.
But without work like this, I would never have come to the conclusion that my scrotum is ugly. You know what I mean? That's kind of what I was getting at.
Sure. Obviously every cosmetic surgery is very critical to take a look at. And you should be very stable, mentally, before you do any surgery like that. I think every cosmetic surgery should be supervised, with therapy alongside it. And I hope that this study doesn't contribute to people being more self aware, or self conscious, about their scrotum.
Part of the reason this research grabbed my attention was it fits into what I view as a trend, which is increasing plastic surgery. It seems to have become more normalized — the idea of doing something to your lips, or to your cheeks, or to your face, or to “intimate areas.” Is that just me overreacting to something that's not happening? Or is this becoming normalized?
For sure. But there's also a component, which is a critique of this study, because mostly older men are doing it. The pictures of the scrota we used are from pretty young men. So the study should be done again with older men, because then the possibility is higher that you’d also actually have some problems — it might be too saggy, it could be painful — and putting that together, you could also make it more pretty. But for young men, I think it’s very problematic to be thinking about being more pretty down there. Which is definitely not necessary, because everyone is perfect the way they are.

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