..that is adolescence. And the research on what adolescents find attractive. For a few years. Until they gain the gift of speech and hearing, look up, and find beauty in the mind. Unfortunately, some never do.
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The study is weird, weird beyond belief. There are — and I speak from personal experience spanning several decades — many visages of females that would leave me howling at the moon, whizzing up and down the corner posts, and groveling at their feet. But to expect me to respond to a silhouette, or an eye color, or a skin tone, would be as loony as asking me to respond to a leg length, arm length, or hair length. From the light to the dark, the tall to the short, the slender to the hefty, not a one of those dimensions stands above any of the others.
There are lovelies very dark, and lovelies very pale, lovelies very tall, and lovelies very small, lovelies very thin, and lovelies showing heft, but not a one of those I lust after would I not want to make babies with on first meeting her.
To be perfectly honest, there is a Russian brunette nude model in her late twenties with a little heft on her, but I’d be lying if I said I didn’t yearn to give her a baby just by looking at her pictures. Looking at her pictures wants to make me give up fatherlessness and make a soccer team with her.
From experience, I have next to no faith at all in surveys that try to reduce Me-Tarzan-You-Jane attractions to simplistic one-dimensional realms.
The conclusions seemed pretty commonsense to me. I’m not surprised that underweight women are seen as less attractive. I’m curious about the assertion that heavier women are seen as less attractive – I’d be curious to know whether “normal” weights are steady over time and across cultures (and thus, likely to be biologically determined) or whether the idea of “normal” is societally determined.
The second set of pictures is also seems like commonsense. If you simply widen hips and keep the proportions the same, they look odd. The proportions are off. But if you widened the hips while maintaining a “trim” appearance, I’m not convinced that the conclusions would have been the same. There’s an underlying scaling issue here. In the lower column of the second set of pictures (ratios modified by widen hips, column (b)) the 0.65 aspect looks better than the 0.6 aspect…because the proportions of the hips are more natural.
But then, I grew up in a culture that was a little more “hip-obsessed” than are Americans.
Both interesting comments. To Ken: the thing is, over-simplification is the only way that scientific research on attraction can work, really. The difference between what someone finds physically attractive can be very different when reported by the mind and when reported by the body. Strap on a little apparatus to your genitalia, and it may tell you something very different from what you are actually consciously aware of. But I agree that attraction can also be strongly based on the sum of multiple characteristics in a certain individual, and I’m not sure if we can explain that, yet.
IanR, I’m also inclined to agree that weight categorizations are very much societally determined. Individuals falling into severely underweight or overweight categories will obviously face health and reproductive problems; slightly under/overweight people are both more difficult to identify or define and may not face any overt health problems at all. Who knows how we define these things 🙂
But I think the overarching idea, that we still seek out and readily identify who we’re attracted to based on very general principles of “fitness” (no pun intended), is quite fascinating as, like Ken pointed out, we’re often not as aware of it as we might think.