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77 Responses

  1. Jill
    Jill December 18, 2005 at 4:36 pm | *

    Men may want to dress to show off their success, or their style, or their personality, but girls have been told from earliest childhood that men will only be with them for their arousal capacities. It is absolutely natural for girls to try to compete for mates with what they perceive as valuable.

    This is just me being nitpicky, but why do adult male humans get to be “men,” but their female counterparts are still “girls”? Sorry, personal pet peeve… and while we’re considering beauty culture, we might also want to examine the way that youth is used against women (i.e., Derbyshire, wrinkle creams, and a good part of the costmetic surgery industry), whereas age and experience is valued in men. It’s a good first step to be consistently “men and women” or “boys and girls.”

  2. Robert
    Robert December 18, 2005 at 5:07 pm |

    Men will always use significantly less cosmetic alteration than women will, for sound evolutionary reasons.

  3. Sina
    Sina December 18, 2005 at 5:14 pm |

    Which consist of?

  4. Lauren
    Lauren December 18, 2005 at 5:15 pm |

    Don’t feed him.

  5. Sina
    Sina December 18, 2005 at 5:23 pm |

    (*argh*, yr so rite. he bites; i’ve seen it.)

  6. Robert
    Robert December 18, 2005 at 5:24 pm |

    Chomp!

    Nah, I gotta get to work. But we went into it somewhat on the big Derbyshire thread debacle, dinwe?

  7. ilyka
    ilyka December 18, 2005 at 5:27 pm |

    It’s a good first step to be consistently “men and women” or “boys and girls.”

    I agree with you on that, Jill, but I’m actually kind of pleased that she didn’t, in this case–because it demonstrates how ingrained that discrepancy is. It’s a trap even an avowed feminist can fall into and thus one more thing to add to the list of reasons why we still need feminism in America.

  8. mythago
    mythago December 18, 2005 at 5:57 pm |

    Look, he’s right. Take songbirds, where the males are drab and dull and the females are brightly-colored to attract mates.

  9. Robert
    Robert December 18, 2005 at 6:18 pm |

    Songbirds and humans have different reproductive patterns. Songbirds of both sexes, for example, once reproductively mature are able to reproduce throughout their natural lives.

    In humans, this is true for men, but not for women.

    Now I’m REALLY going to go work, and not keep checking blogs and commenting and making posts. Really. I SWEAR.

  10. Amba
    Amba December 18, 2005 at 9:50 pm |

    Robert, while men obviously don’t experience an abrupt cessation of fertility as women do, advancing age impacts a man’s ability to father children, as well as having an effect on the health of the children that he does father. There’s a funny bit in one of Moliere’s plays on the purported attractiveness of older men: an aged suitor is quizzing his go-between about his intended bride. The go-between insists that the bride positively prefers older men, to the point where she can’t stand the sight of dewy youths and adorns the walls of her room with pictures of craggy old geezers. The bridegroom has a hard time swallowing this, although he’d like to believe it.

  11. Amanda
    Amanda December 18, 2005 at 10:23 pm |

    How the hell did men evolve to want things that don’t occur in nature?

    You know, I have a few tattoos that guys thing are HAWT. I want the bullshit EP theory as to why men evolved a gene that makes them want the ink.

  12. Amanda
    Amanda December 18, 2005 at 10:27 pm |

    Also, what gene is it that makes men prefer peroxided blondes to natural ones?

    And what’s the gene that causes geeky guys to like girls in glasses?

    I’m also interested in the genetic explanation for men’s preference for girls in convertibles. My girlfriends and I have done a scientific study and that two women in a convertible get a lot more attention from men in passing cars that two women in, say, a pickup truck. I’m interested in how this gene evolved when we didn’t have convertibles throughout most of our history. We have possibly had convertibles for a shorter time than geeky girls in glasses and bottles of peroxide, both things that men have, against all odds, developed genes that create these desires in them.

  13. EricP
    EricP December 18, 2005 at 10:39 pm |

    This is just me being nitpicky, but why do adult male humans get to be “men,” but their female counterparts are still “girls”?

    I won’t directly hit on the “men” part but I think part of the problem is that “gal” has fallen out of favor. The female of “guy” or “guys”, which we all use all the time, is “gal” or “gals”. In modern usage, “girl(s)” is simply the femine of of “guy(s)”. As a quickly invented example, my grandmother would have said she was going out for an evening with the gals (at 90 she still uses the term), today my girlfriend would say girls. Men and women think “guys” – since in today’s usage “girls” has become the femine of “guys”, where is the complaint? Especially since “boys” is becoming such a regular statement that we all use it even for grown men?

  14. gswift
    gswift December 18, 2005 at 10:51 pm |

    “This is just me being nitpicky, but why do adult male humans get to be “men,” but their female counterparts are still “girls”?”

    and
    “I won’t directly hit on the “men” part but I think part of the problem is that “gal” has fallen out of favor. The female of “guy” or “guys”, which we all use all the time, is “gal” or “gals”.”

    We solved this in Los Angeles a while back. It’s “chicks” and “dudes”

  15. EricP
    EricP December 18, 2005 at 10:55 pm |

    Also, what gene is it that makes men prefer peroxided blondes to natural ones?

    Since I live in Quebec where real blonds are very rare, I’m still looking for a real one. A chick with blond hair everywhere woud “interesting” just because it is rare in my world.

    And what’s the gene that causes geeky guys to like girls in glasses?

    I guess I’m a geek then. Our society tends to associated glasses with brains (no idea where that came from). I like smart girls although maybe I’m not typical from what I hear around here. Glasses can really change a persons face. I remember that my best friend growing up looked pretty hansome normally but with glasses he looked “sharp” (and the chicks really went for him). Of course he was a bit of an himbo all the time whether he was wearing glasses or not.

  16. EricP
    EricP December 18, 2005 at 11:01 pm |

    We solved this in Los Angeles a while back. It’s “chicks” and “dudes”

    Around here we use chicks too but it tends to be somewhat self-aware or ironic. Ie, not an every day term. I tend to use it when being casual with Americans though. “Dudes” is usually only used when we are quoting Americans and always spoken with a Bill and Ted accent;-).

  17. mythago
    mythago December 18, 2005 at 11:16 pm |

    A chick with blond hair everywhere woud “interesting” just because it is rare in my world.

    “Chicks” can bleach hair everywhere, dude.

  18. Sina
    Sina December 18, 2005 at 11:24 pm |

    I feel I resolved this problem by referring to groups of people of mixed sex “ladies.” Just to counter the universal “guys” thing.

  19. Donna
    Donna December 18, 2005 at 11:29 pm |

    How the hell did men evolve to want things that don’t occur in nature?

    I wonder the same thing. Why do other animals just get to be born with the characteristics they need? You don’t see male peacocks painting that crap on their tail plummage themselves do you?

    And if something like female body hair is so repulsive to men, then why do so many of us have it? Why too are there so many women with small eyes, thin lips, and waist-to-hip ratios > .7? Dontcha think they, along with their short, non-symmetrical, etc. male counterparts, would have died off a long time ago? Shouldn’t most of us be looking like the people on advertisements, sans cosmetics, lighting, and air-brushing?

    Oh wait…I remember…This is where EvoPsych Proponent comes in and informs me that it’s a mating ‘preference’. That the desire for Angelina Jolie has been constant for 2 million years but that, luckily enough for the rest of us hairy troglodyte-ettes, men will ‘settle’ for us. Oh goody!

    Or just maybe it’s a pantload.

  20. hanna joergel
    hanna joergel December 18, 2005 at 11:40 pm |

    Eric P wrone:

    Since I live in Quebec where real blonds are very rare, I’m still looking for a real one. A chick with blond hair everywhere woud “interesting” just because it is rare in my world.

    Ummm…natural blonde here. We don’t have blond hair “everywhere.”

    Or are you being sarcastic and I missed it? I sure would find it interesting myself since all-over-blondness is not a characteristic of myself nor any natural blond with whom I have been intimate.

  21. amaz0n
    amaz0n December 18, 2005 at 11:45 pm |

    Oh wait…I remember…This is where EvoPsych Proponent comes in and informs me that it’s a mating ‘preference’. That the desire for Angelina Jolie has been constant for 2 million years but that, luckily enough for the rest of us hairy troglodyte-ettes, men will ’settle’ for us. Oh goody!

    Ah, good old EvoPsych. Of course they have yet to explain how the “desire” of Renaissance men for potbellied, small-breasted women with a hairline eight inches above their shaved-off eyebrows translates into the modern “desire” for women with unnaturally large breasts, an unnaturally large waist and thick, messy hair, but hey! It’s science. They know best.

  22. amaz0n
    amaz0n December 18, 2005 at 11:46 pm |

    Errr, make that an unnaturally small waist.

  23. APF
    APF December 19, 2005 at 12:38 am |

    I don’t blame the “productarchy” so much as I blame the people who buy into what they are selling. Which is to say, I blame very few people, because I think it’s reasonable to assume most adults are aware of their purchasing patterns and will make what they feel are good decisions along those lines. How can you argue against the sellers of say, moisturizer, for marketing their products? Are you not going to use moisturizer tomorrow? I am—and more than one! I couldn’t possibly be responsible enough to come to that decision myself, though; I must have been duped.

    STOP ME BEFORE I LOTION AGAIN!

    [ Here's an idea though, if you're like me and get drier skin in the winter months: increase your intake of healthy fats. But don't you dare supplement with Flax oil or an oil blend, because then you'll be a slave of the skintone-industrial complex ]

  24. gswift
    gswift December 19, 2005 at 1:26 am |

    APF Says:

    But don’t you dare supplement with Flax oil or an oil blend, because then you’ll be a slave of the skintone-industrial complex

    There was a paper earlier this year that suggested significant results with hempseed oil.

  25. Donna
    Donna December 19, 2005 at 2:19 am |

    amaz0n, I’ve actually read the explanation of this from more than one erstwhile EPer. Apparently if you look at artistic depictions of women over the past millenia, you can see the remarkable similarities in the features. From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, to Greco-Roman sculptures, to the Renaissance Masters, the women all had TWO EYES! And not only that, they usually have NOSES and LIPS, arranged into RELATIVELY EVEN FEATURES!

    Now, despite the fact that this also describes the majority of humans that have ever lived, the commonalities between the aforementioned works of art and Barbie mean that beauty standards have been contant throughout human history and are thus, evolutionary and intractible, and are certainly not contrivances of the patriarchy and marketers. I’m sure if you squint you’ll see the similarity between those shaved-pated, eyebrowless, small breasted, Renaissance hotties and Lindsay Lohan. I mean, like it’s so obvious!

  26. aeonsomnia
    aeonsomnia December 19, 2005 at 2:31 am |

    …If society sees its women as walking wombs, it’s not surprising in the least that they would want to flaunt the only value they’re seen to have…Today, the culture puts value in sex: not seduction, or teasing, or subtle innuendo. Conservatives want out and out, bed-rocking, baby-making sex. And until we teach girls that their uterus isn’t on the auction block, it’s a trend that will continue indefinitely.

    Just adding on to Molly’s words here…today’s teenage girls have had every roadblock thrown in their way to prevent them from receiving any types of birth control or abortion. As a matter of fact, restrictive laws re: reproduction is all that they’ve ever known (the laws have grown ever stricter since Reagan’s presidency, which was during the decade these girls were born).

    Circa 2005, what’s the common complaint that we hear about teen girls? That they’re “too sexualized” and they “dress too skanky” and are proficient at giving blowjobs in order to please boys, but that they “don’t understand a damned thing about what gives them pleasure”; hell, there’s been a gazillion books penned about the pornonization of girls.

    It seems ironic that since strict abortion laws in re: to teen girls have been enacted (to make ‘em “quit screwing around”), popular clothing has covered less & less teenage skin. When you learn that your body’s for every man’s and fetus’s use, but not yours, then this is the inevitable outcome.

  27. ilyka
    ilyka December 19, 2005 at 3:52 am |

    From ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, to Greco-Roman sculptures, to the Renaissance Masters, the women all had TWO EYES!

    Okay, hands up who loves Donna.

  28. devil'sadvocateonthisone
    devil'sadvocateonthisone December 19, 2005 at 5:47 am |

    While most of what EPers say about human behavior is b.s., there is one sense in which they are correct in asserting the naturalness of the use of seemingly unnatural products to enhance appearance and attractiveness. Even though the particular attributes that are considered attractive and fashionable in our culture are just as random and arbitrary as the potbellies, small breasts, and high hairlines preferred during the Renaissance, it does seem natural for a culture to pick out some random set of physical attributes as preferred. So, while which traits are preferred is an entirely contingent manner, the selection of set of attributes as preferred over others may still be a part of human nature, and, as far as I know, it is. I am unaware of any culture in which there are no widespread preferences concerning bodily characteristics.

    Feeling pressure to change one’s appearance and stressing over one’s inability to attain some arbitrary standard of beauty is not an unfortunate consequence of living under the patriarchy or productarchy, it is an unfortunate consequence of the human condition.

  29. Donna
    Donna December 19, 2005 at 6:56 am |

    Awww thanks ilyka….I’m blushing….

  30. Amanda
    Amanda December 19, 2005 at 8:06 am |

    Eric, those reasons you give imply that you, a straight man, have sexual thoughts coming from your brain that are malleable. Untrue! Straight male sexuality is timeless and genetic, and so everything you like must have some sort of genetic coding associated with it.

    And boobies are gross.

  31. David Thompson
    David Thompson December 19, 2005 at 8:45 am |

    You know, I have a few tattoos that guys thing are HAWT. I want the bullshit EP theory as to why men evolved a gene that makes them want the ink.

    That’s not genetics; it’s child abuse.

  32. Lauren
    Lauren December 19, 2005 at 8:51 am |

    I remember a study on cockatiels in which the females LOVED the males who wore little striped hats a la Cat In the Hat, but wouldn’t spend the time of day with a cockatiel who wore a little chef’s hat. Talk about arbitrary. I mean, my boyfriend’s a chef and you should see how he… um, nevermind.

  33. anne
    anne December 19, 2005 at 10:11 am |

    Sorry, I’m tossing some bread crumbs.. *what* is evolutionarily appropriate about cosmetic alteration?

    And also – just for the record – female birds lose fertility just like female women (with age)… they’re not laying eggs until they croak. It’s a little harder on the body giving birth than it is to ejaculate. FYI.

  34. j swift
    j swift December 19, 2005 at 10:27 am |

    Hasn’t all the world figured out yet that attraction, dating social roles (at least in this country) are probably the epitome of shallowness.

    I mean we live in a culture where a man is supposed to look about his current venue, find a woman that gives him a buzz in his pants and start up the show.

    He; A lingering but not too lingering look, a smile, Her; playing with her hair.

    Approach how….hmm arrogance works sometimes, confident is preferred and best choice, unconfident is a turn-off and sincerety is optional.

    Don’t invest too much you look desperate

    Don’t take it personally whatever happens

    If you are lucky you may have some chemistry between you.

    Women for most part are required to stand their and look cute in the make up and clothes that they work hard to maintain and most do little else to initiate a relationship or to initiate the next steps.

    Is it really a wonder that women are objectified (or men for that matter) in this culture when some women do not take more responsibility in starting a relationship and some men are not taught or do not “get” what objectification is.

    In the end shallowness is all it takes to get the job done and get past the first awkward meeting, the problem is we forget to move on past it to more important and harder work in starting a relationship. No?

  35. The Countess
    The Countess December 19, 2005 at 10:34 am |

    There is one other thing these items and actions cost on top of money – time. It takes time to set your hair the way nature didn’t intended. It takes time to shave your head. It takes time to exfoliate. It takes time to put on makeup. It takes time to put on a different lotion for every body part.

    I wonder how much time people would save if they didn’t do this stuff?

  36. The Countess
    The Countess December 19, 2005 at 10:42 am |

    “Look, he’s right. Take songbirds, where the males are drab and dull and the females are brightly-colored to attract mates. ”

    I thought it was the females that were drab and dull and the males with all the brightly-colored plumage. Look at peacocks. It’s the male that has that huge tail that he fans out to attract females.

    The birds I see every day show the same pattern. It’s the male goldfinches, house finches, purple finches, and house sparrows that have the more elaborate color, not the females.

  37. Molly
    Molly December 19, 2005 at 12:21 pm |

    Wow! I’ve admired your blog from afar for a long time and this is quite a cool thing! I never expected readers so soon.

    I’ve addressed some of the commenters’ discussion of boys and girls, men and women, and the terms I’ve used, in a new post — it’s always weird and kind of cool to confront one’s own prejudices.

  38. marjani
    marjani December 19, 2005 at 3:36 pm |

    How the hell did men evolve to want things that don’t occur in nature?

    Is this not the basis of patriarchy or did I miss something? Men want lots of things that may or may not occur in nature and they have for thousands of years. I don’t think its a process of evolution It is a process of choice. Men sought control of women and thus sought something that does not occur in nature. Hell men wrote the bible and the the bible does say that Eve formed from the ribs of Adam. I mean is this really a question?

    also..I have a new blog too, take a peak if you’d like though I’m still up in the air for what I’d like to focus on.

  39. Scarbo
    Scarbo December 19, 2005 at 4:54 pm |

    Hmmm, yeah it’s a darn shame that women have to do stuff to make themselves attractive to a mate and men don’t have to do one stinkin’ darn thing. They don’t have to have any particular physical attribute, natural or otherwise, they don’t have to be in good physical shape, they don’t have to be handsome at all, their career potential/choice is totally irrelevant, they don’t need to be able to do anything with regard to relationships, they don’t need to have manners, they don’t need to have money.

    Nope. Men don’t have to do ANYTHING to attract and/or keep a woman interested. Men can just exist and attract women like magnets. Frankly, speaking as a man, it’s freakin’ awesome! I have so many women I just don’t know what to do! Thank goodness this happens without me having to pay attention to anything I say or do. Thank goodness I can be as ugly as a popped zit and still get babes.

    Not.

  40. piny
    piny December 19, 2005 at 5:21 pm |

    Hmmm, yeah it’s a darn shame that women have to do stuff to make themselves attractive to a mate and men don’t have to do one stinkin’ darn thing. They don’t have to have any particular physical attribute, natural or otherwise, they don’t have to be in good physical shape, they don’t have to be handsome at all, their career potential/choice is totally irrelevant, they don’t need to be able to do anything with regard to relationships, they don’t need to have manners, they don’t need to have money.

    Nope. Men don’t have to do ANYTHING to attract and/or keep a woman interested. Men can just exist and attract women like magnets. Frankly, speaking as a man, it’s freakin’ awesome! I have so many women I just don’t know what to do! Thank goodness this happens without me having to pay attention to anything I say or do. Thank goodness I can be as ugly as a popped zit and still get babes.

    Not.

    …the argument being made, that is.

  41. Bill from INDC
    Bill from INDC December 19, 2005 at 7:08 pm |

    Sorry, I’m tossing some bread crumbs.. *what* is evolutionarily appropriate about cosmetic alteration?

    In the case of things like lipo or implants, it simulates natural proportion that people are naturally drawn to. (if done right, which it often isn’t)

    In the case of women, although tastes can vary, hips (hips-to-waist) and large breasts are eye-catching because they are evolutionarily palatable. So are big eyes, lips and forehead. Of course, culture can vary specific body tastes quite a bit, from the waif-looking Kate Moss to the Rubenesque ladies of prior centuries. But all in all, it’s interesting how many of these features are tied to levels of female hormones, and how these levels of hormones are tied to characteristically female behavioral attributes.

    In men, across almost all cultures, the “V” is unconsciously very attractive to women (narrow waist vs. broader shoulders). So is height – it’s perhaps the most important physical factor to the broadest range of women. Again, remarkably tied to hormones and their concomittant behavioral traits.

    John Stossel did a segment on 20/20 where he showed a group of women a group of men behind two-way glass. The women chose the most attractive men, and regardless of other physical features or outside attributes (like profession and accomplishment) that Stossel progressively notched up for the short dudes (one 5’3″ guy was a brain surgeon and world-class skier by the end), the women still kept ranking their level of attraction by height. The guy that drove a garbage truck did better than the brain surgeon.

    Anyone care to rail against the matriarchy?

    And in both sexes, perhaps the two most universally attractive features are

    1. clear, healthy skin, hence the focus on cosmetics in that department.

    2. Symmetrical features.

    Both are signifiers of health and reproductive viability.

  42. Thomas
    Thomas December 19, 2005 at 7:14 pm |

    David, do you secretly have inoffensive thoughts, all of which you keep to yourself? Do you simply choose to say on this blog only that which you expect will offend people? It’s so obviously calculated. For example, you certainly recall that Lauren has posted (recently, at length) about her tattoos and what they mean to her, so you’ve responded to Amanda’s reference to tattoos in a way that serves as a bankshot attack on Lauren.

    David, do you take some grudging, grinch-like comfort in trying to be the Platonic troll?

  43. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 7:19 pm |

    Amanda said:

    Eric, those reasons you give imply that you, a straight man, have sexual thoughts coming from your brain that are malleable. Untrue! Straight male sexuality is timeless and genetic, and so everything you like must have some sort of genetic coding associated with it.

    And boobies are gross.

    I didn’t imply any of that actually so maybe you were trying to make a point on someone else’s post using my (poor) attempt at humor as the base. If so, no problem. I certainly don’t think that attractiveness as we define it has to anything to do with genetics. A couple of centuries ago, attractive people were pale since it implied that they didn’t have to do physical labor, today a tan is the sign of attractiveness because it implies the time to get one. Of course skin cancer is killing that trend;-).

    As a hetero male, I like sexual partners who have breasts and a vagina. I’ll admit that those requirements are probably genetic. On a personal level, I require physical fitness since I like to hike, bike, ski, etc and I want a partner who can do those things with me. I also appreciate someone with enough brains to keep up a conversation. I don’t think either of those are genetic. Historically, those kinds of desires certainly weren’t common.

  44. Bill from INDC
    Bill from INDC December 19, 2005 at 7:27 pm |

    Here’s a link.

    Another and another and another.

  45. Bill from INDC
    Bill from INDC December 19, 2005 at 7:30 pm |

    I certainly don’t think that attractiveness as we define it has to anything to do with genetics.

    Wild, wild overstatement. As with most things in life, it’s complex, a mix.

  46. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 7:31 pm |

    But don’t you dare supplement with Flax oil or an oil blend, because then you’ll be a slave of the skintone-industrial complex

    Considering how low the western diet it is in some of the essential fatty acids, I think you can supplement with flax seed oil without guilt. I’ve never read any studies about it helping skin but it does help in other ways. Personally two servings per day of 400ui of vitamin E has helped a lot with my skin. Especially during the winter months. I lift weights and stretch marks are a major problem. Vitamin E sups has really helped stop new ones – existing ones aren’t something you can do anything about unfortunately.

  47. Thomas
    Thomas December 19, 2005 at 7:32 pm |

    Bill, you said this:

    In the case of things like lipo or implants, it simulates natural proportion that people are naturally drawn to. (if done right, which it often isn’t)

    In the case of women, although tastes can vary, hips (hips-to-waist) and large breasts are eye-catching because they are evolutionarily palatable. So are big eyes, lips and forehead. Of course, culture can vary specific body tastes quite a bit, from the waif-looking Kate Moss to the Rubenesque ladies of prior centuries. But all in all, it’s interesting how many of these features are tied to levels of female hormones, and how these levels of hormones are tied to characteristically female behavioral attributes.

    I’m going out on a limb and saying that the size of women’s breasts without augmentation is natural. If anything, breasts are getting larger as bodyfat increases across the population. So, any claim that breast implants work to reestablish a natural order of things is probably wrong.

    Moreover, as you admit, cultures vary widely in their expressed preferences for proportions. So how could we test the hypothesis that there are “natural” proportions?

    Your reference to John Stossel is a non-sequitur to this particular issue, because it merely compares a bunch of women in the same culture. It provides no help in distinguishing nature from culture.

    Is your claim that we have a preference for a certain “natural” proportion empirically falsifiable, or is it a just-so story?

  48. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 7:43 pm |

    Bill from INDC Says:

    Wild, wild overstatement. As with most things in life, it’s complex, a mix.

    Yes and no. I should have said “currently define it”. Modern attractiveness as the mass media defines it is a perversion of reproductive ideals. For example big breasts and hips might indicate reproductive health but a thin wasteline and flat stomach has no reproductive benefit. It is only meant to reduce the number of perfect mates since big breasts and wide hips combined with a thin waste is rare. I think that ultimately, it is rarity that defines modern attractiveness. The less number of people who meet a criteria, the more attractive it is.

  49. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 7:51 pm |

    Just a quick question for the women reading this… How many of you date men that are shorter than you? How many of you date fat guys? How many wouldn’t think negatively of a man with small hands and/or feet?

  50. B Moe
    B Moe December 19, 2005 at 8:04 pm |

    I dress for women and I undress for men.

    Angie Dickinson

  51. piny
    piny December 19, 2005 at 8:08 pm |

    Just a quick question for the women reading this… How many of you date men that are shorter than you? How many of you date fat guys? How many wouldn’t think negatively of a man with small hands and/or feet?

    Read the linked OP, will you? Here, I’ll quote a relevant passage for your convenience:

    But by far, more women fall for these ploys than men. While some men religiously follow “Queer Eye” and buy the 100 products sure to make women fall for them, most women wear makeup and follow expensive, time-consuming beauty standards. The reason has a lot to do with the second issue I have with this article: its mystification over women acting sexy in a sexually repressed culture…

    You’re also acting as though terms like fat follow some objective gender-neutral standard. They don’t.

    The question isn’t only whether men are judged for their attractiveness, but whether “attractive” is as unnatural and labor-intensive a condition for men as for women. Hey, guys out there: any of you still have belly hair? I thought so.

  52. Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)
    Redneck Feminist (drumgurl) December 19, 2005 at 8:36 pm |

    I only date men who are shorter than I. Because duh, he has to know who’s in charge!

  53. Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)
    Redneck Feminist (drumgurl) December 19, 2005 at 8:37 pm |

    Also, I’m too shallow down there for a man with large… hands.

  54. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 8:58 pm |

    Read the linked OP, will you? Here, I’ll quote a relevant passage for your convenience:

    Actually I did read the article yesterday. My question was a response to the comments alone. I am actually interested as to whether seld-described feminists avoid judging men based on their physical attributes when they object to being judged on them.

    You’re also acting as though terms like fat follow some objective gender-neutral standard. They don’t.

    I spend 10+ hours per week in the gym and record every single thing I eat. I can go back two years and tell you how many calories I ate on any given day (along with grams of protein, carbs and fat) so this argument doesn’t apply to me. I’m much more judgemental of men who don’t take care of themselves than I am women. Men have no excuse for being oafish other than laziness.

    The question isn’t only whether men are judged for their attractiveness, but whether “attractive” is as unnatural and labor-intensive a condition for men as for women.

    Modern culture defines a six-pack as sexy for men younger than 35. As someone who works at it, do you have any idea how many 1000s of hours go into getting a six-pack stomach? Plus men who put in the effort probably spend $50-75/month on supplements. I spend $150 in groceries per week just to eat “clean”. My GF’s eating costs about $50/week at most (probably less). Now women don’t seem as caught up with chasing the ideal man but that is another issue. Men are still told over and over that it is a requirement.

    Hey, guys out there: any of you still have belly hair? I thought so.

    I shave. Count me out I guess.

  55. Bill from INDC
    Bill from INDC December 19, 2005 at 9:00 pm |

    For example big breasts and hips might indicate reproductive health but a thin wasteline and flat stomach has no reproductive benefit.

    Another element of reproductive health is fat distribution (away from the stomach). That being said, from an evolutionary perspective, a six-pack (particularly in women) is not a priority compared to other things. But it don’t hurt, as it fulfills the “fitness/health” instinct. Truer for men than women, as high anabolic hormones are associated with a flat, muscular stomach. But yeah, there are social forces at work too.

  56. Donna
    Donna December 19, 2005 at 9:03 pm |

    Here’s a link.

    Another and another and another.

    Well geez it’s a veritable cottage industry with these EvoPsychers ain’t it? Good to know that research dollars are being well spent whoring for the patriarchy and “productarchy”.

  57. B Moe
    B Moe December 19, 2005 at 9:16 pm |

    I have a question for the women, if you are going to a function for a teacher/co-worker type person, say a fairly nice affair, how differently would you put on make-up and dress if it was going to be a mixed crowd as opposed to only women?

  58. piny
    piny December 19, 2005 at 9:17 pm |

    I spend 10+ hours per week in the gym and record every single thing I eat. I can go back two years and tell you how many calories I ate on any given day (along with grams of protein, carbs and fat) so this argument doesn’t apply to me. I’m much more judgemental of men who don’t take care of themselves than I am women. Men have no excuse for being oafish other than laziness.

    Modern culture defines a six-pack as sexy for men younger than 35. As someone who works at it, do you have any idea how many 1000s of hours go into getting a six-pack stomach? Plus men who put in the effort probably spend $50-75/month on supplements. I spend $150 in groceries per week just to eat “clean”. My GF’s eating costs about $50/week at most (probably less). Now women don’t seem as caught up with chasing the ideal man but that is another issue. Men are still told over and over that it is a requirement.

    My habits were a lot like yours, back when I had a severe eating disorder. Ten hours is a lot.

    The singular of anecdote definitely isn’t data. The argument isn’t meant to apply to you, but to men as a whole. Most men don’t eat like you or work out like you, just as most men don’t take as much care of their appearance as the guys on Queer Eye. Men in general don’t face the same pressure to eat or work out obsessively that women in general do.

    And yes, I do know how much work goes into six-pack abs, because when I had a body dysmorphic disorder, I was just as obsessive about working out as you are now. The point is that men are not taught to base their self-worth on the steeliness of their abs in the same way women are.

    Now women don’t seem as caught up with chasing the ideal man but that is another issue.

    That contradicts your last comment in this thread. And it doesn’t make sense to divorce attractive qualities in a mate from positive qualities per society in general.

    I shave. Count me out I guess.

    See above. Most men don’t. Generally speaking, men are not required to shave their body hair. Women, on the other hand, are, and most women do.

  59. Bill from INDC
    Bill from INDC December 19, 2005 at 9:26 pm |

    I’m going out on a limb and saying that the size of women’s breasts without augmentation is natural. If anything, breasts are getting larger as bodyfat increases across the population. So, any claim that breast implants work to reestablish a natural order of things is probably wrong.

    Er, I would agree, especially since I didn’t make that claim. I’m talking about the evolutionary biology (and society collectively) that puts a premium on large breasts, causing people to try and unnaturally emulate what’s considered the natural ideal. It doesn’t strive for balance, it throws the former balance out of wack.

    Moreover, as you admit, cultures vary widely in their expressed preferences for proportions. So how could we test the hypothesis that there are “natural” proportions?

    I didn’t say there were very specific “natural” proportions. All proportions are “natural,” while some have advantages in attracting a mate.

    Anthropologists and social biologists test for the universality of these factors by studying different cultures and comparing them. And there are certain proportions and traits that anthropologists and social biologists have found to be appealing almost regardless of culture. I mentioned some of these. Clear skin. Symmetry. Larger breasts and hip to waist ratio in women very often (though not universal), and height in men tend to be dominating characteristics across a wide number of cultures, which gels rather nicely with evolutionary theory. I’m not exactly making this shit up.

    Your reference to John Stossel is a non-sequitur to this particular issue, because it merely compares a bunch of women in the same culture. It provides no help in distinguishing nature from culture.

    My reference to John Stossel was not intended to make the comprehensive cross-cultural argument itself, so you pointing out this flaw as some contrary gotcha is a bit annoying. I was just offering an anecdote about how powerful unconscious attraction can be, and height tends to be a very powerful motivator when women select a mate. As it is, male height is one of the most powerful elements of female attraction to males – regardless of culture. there are some relevant and well-publicized studies on this, I’ll endeavor to dig one or more up. As it is, most of my knowldge came from a multi-part special on the Discovery channel as well as anecdotal reading in medical research (like sexual attraction related to male and female hormones, which coincidentally! match up with the development of the very characteristics I’m describing), so …

    But do try and correctly interpret the scope of my argument before taking your shots. And if you’d like to argue that women being attracted to tall men and men being attracted to women with big boobs are merely Western social constructs you’re welcome to it, but you’re also painfully wrong.

  60. Bill from INDC
    Bill from INDC December 19, 2005 at 9:27 pm |
  61. Bill from INDC
    Bill from INDC December 19, 2005 at 9:40 pm |

    One on height.

    Another one:

    Height is associated with power and status and studies have shown that height confers economic and social advantages as taller men are more likely to be hired, receive higher salaries, and gain promotion than smaller men. Socially, people tend to overestimate the height of individuals who are of high status, whom they like, or whom they agree with; the opposite is true for people of low status, disliked, or disagreed with. Taller men are perceived as being more dominant and we would predict that females should choose taller over shorter males.

    Graziano et al., (1978) had women judge pictures of men who they believed to be short, medium or tall on attractiveness and dating desirability. Irrespective of their own height, the women rated tall men more positively than short men though the males of medium height were the most preferred.

    Another and another and another:

    By contrast, the social psychological literature on what women find attractive in men consistently puts their physical attractiveness below their personality characteristics and status (see, for a compilation, Gould, J.L. and Gould, C.G. (1989) Sexual selection. New York: Scientific American Library). The one physical character in men that has traditionally been given a high rating by women is height: tall men are universally selected as more attractive than short men. Recently, research has begun to show that facial and bodily symmetry is also an attractive feature in males, and an aspect of ‘beauty’.

    And if you still don’t buy this, go take a gander at the height requirements in the classified dating ads, women seeking men … in SE Asia. SW Asia. And Europe. And America.

  62. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 9:41 pm |

    I had planned to add a disclaimer (after re-reading my post) about my lifestyle not being average but I had to run to the shower. I don’t claim to be average male, I own my business and my two hours (30 minutes of cardio in the morning and 90 minutes of weights at night) are the only physical activity I get. I eat 3500-4000 calories per day by eating 8 small meals. I take weekends off. I wouldn’t qualify it as a eating disorder. Goodness I actually eat when not hungry just to eat enough protein, carbs and fat. Eating is now a job, not a something I do for enjoyment.

    The point is that men are not taught to base their self-worth on the steeliness of their abs in the same way women are.

    They are being taught though. Wait ten years until the boys growing up are teenagers. It is ironic that instead of society changing to judge women less for their physical appearance, it is judging men more.

    Now women don’t seem as caught up with chasing the ideal man but that is another issue.

    That contradicts your last comment in this thread. And it doesn’t make sense to divorce attractive qualities in a mate from positive qualities per society in general.

    There is a difference between what the mass media tells us is attractive and what we find attractive. If mass media’s perception of what an attractive woman looks like was the only thing men accepted, then most women would remain single and vice versa. That doesn’t happen. That doesn’t mean that the message isn’t there.

  63. j swift
    j swift December 19, 2005 at 9:48 pm |

    People are shallow! It is that simple.

    The human race can not even get past its petty social darwinist tendancies much less its major bigotries.

    I will buy some of them are evolutionary in origin but then as someone famous once said (paraphrasing) humans are not rational, merely capable of it.

  64. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 10:05 pm |

    See above. Most men don’t. Generally speaking, men are not required to shave their body hair. Women, on the other hand, are, and most women do.

    In terms of the amount of work that is questionable. Most men have to shave their face every day. Most women I know only shave their legs when their clothes will reveal them. Same goes for armpits. Even if a woman wears a skirt two days in a row, most women don’t need to shave both days since bodyhair tends to grow more slowly (obviously this isn’t universal). Shaving their face daily to look presentable is a daily ritual for most men. The time involved does add up.

  65. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 10:08 pm |

    It is so weird that some posts will require moderation while others from the same person don’t. My detailed response to piny is stuck on hold. I put some though into it and the fact that it is “stuck” is annoying!

  66. Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)
    Redneck Feminist (drumgurl) December 19, 2005 at 10:22 pm |

    There is no doubt that women in general prefer taller men. That’s fine with me, because it just makes the cute short ones that much more available.

    Did I say cute? Oh no! That must mean I’m a slut with sexual preferences of my own!

    I don’t think feminists in general object to people dating people they find physically attractive. I think we just object to being the Walking Wombed. To me, that distiction is clear.

  67. Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)
    Redneck Feminist (drumgurl) December 19, 2005 at 10:24 pm |

    Um, I meant distinction.

  68. Amanda
    Amanda December 19, 2005 at 10:35 pm |

    I didn’t imply any of that actually so maybe you were trying to make a point on someone else’s post using my (poor) attempt at humor as the base. If so, no problem. I certainly don’t think that attractiveness as we define it has to anything to do with genetics. A couple of centuries ago, attractive people were pale since it implied that they didn’t have to do physical labor, today a tan is the sign of attractiveness because it implies the time to get one. Of course skin cancer is killing that trend;-).

    Ah, hon. That was me just joking. I dunno, the guys who want to believe that evolution liked them so much personally that they should get to fuck a supermodel while looking like a troll and if they don’t, women are being belligerent and anti-nature are so damn boring that I thought I’d liven things up with some performance art.

    I’m hot for men with webbed feet and purple hair, personally. And that’s because of my naturally nuturing nature.

  69. Donna
    Donna December 19, 2005 at 10:41 pm |

    I don’t think feminists in general object to people dating people they find physically attractive. I think we just object to being the Walking Wombed. To me, that distiction is clear.

    Yep, and we object to junk science being used to scare us into shelling out all of our hard earned money on snake oil and unnecessary surgery.

  70. Donna
    Donna December 19, 2005 at 10:47 pm |

    More evil social constructs!

    Another one:

    Another and another and another

    Wow, more examples of Important Research for Humanity. No wonder they can’t cure cancer. Is there some like, Society for the Preservation of Comforting Illusions that funds all these, um, worthwhile projects?

  71. EricP
    EricP December 19, 2005 at 10:51 pm |

    Ah, hon. That was me just joking.

    LOL. I’ve heard that you you are a man-hating feminist who castrates men for shits and giggles. I do appreciate your wit though;-).

  72. Amanda
    Amanda December 19, 2005 at 10:57 pm |

    I would never castrate a man for shits and giggles. I hear you can break a nail doing that. I hold out for the belly laugh.

  73. Redneck Feminist (drumgurl)
    Redneck Feminist (drumgurl) December 19, 2005 at 11:01 pm |

    “Height is associated with power and status and studies have shown that height confers economic and social advantages as taller men are more likely to be hired, receive higher salaries, and gain promotion than smaller men.”

    I agree, and that should have its own thread. I have read studies where it is the same for women, with regard to power, salary, etc. Men being taller than women (in general) is one reason people are more likely to view men as leaders.

    I think there could be an evolutionary fator here. But that factor is useless in our modern society, and in my opinion, is holding us back. I think those of us who do not have a height preference are just more evolutionarily advanced. Hahaha!

    But seriously, anyone interested in this should check out the Enlightened Caveman.

    “The biggest problem now facing mankind is the ancient design of the human mind. It was designed by natural selection to facilitate the survival of our ancestors in an environment that bears no resemblance to our modern world. This site is dedicated to moving beyond the negative influences of our genes, to enlightening the caveman.”

  74. APF
    APF December 19, 2005 at 11:10 pm |

    I’ll check the references on the skin::fats stuff if you really want, but I still haven’t unpacked all my stuff to do that. I’m sure Fats that Heal, Fats that Kill goes into it, and since you’re a weight-training enthusiast I can be ~80% sure you have it already. :) I would say that over 10 hours a week (~1.5 hours/day?) is excessive unless you’re actively competing in some sport though. In fact, that would probably exceed what my PL friends do, although they tend to eschew cardio work.

    Someone mentioned belly hair for some reason? I’m not really hairy around there, but any stray hairs I pluck. Same for eyebrows. I don’t spend hundreds of dollars on supplements, but I could see that happening pretty easily if I had the means to rationalize such a cost (LEF for example has a great but expensive multivitamin/mineral mix, and even things like the aformentioned oil blends cost a lot–not to mention more strengthtrainer-y things like creatine and protein/MRPs, post-workout carb drinks, etc; and of course the huge food bills that I could potentially justify). Unfortunately I’ve also known a surprisingly large amount of guys (particularly gay guys) who have spent large amounts of money (and potentially, safety) on steroids, etc. Cars are another “peacock feather” thing guys are obsessed over.

  75. APF
    APF December 19, 2005 at 11:14 pm |

    I should also add though, that I’d do all that elaborate stuff for me, not to attract a mate or whatever.

  76. Thomas
    Thomas December 20, 2005 at 10:50 am |

    Bill, you’re fighting a strawman. I was responding to 41, above, where you claimed that 1) correctly done, liposuction and breast augmentation emulate evolutionarily privileged proportions; and 2) that the evolutionarily privileged proportions are related to female hormones.

    However, by your admission, favored proportions and bodyfat vary widely and culture intervenes strongly. I’m asking if there’s any evidence for your assertions.

    Your position that height of men is desirable almost universally may be correct. You seem to be arguing against the position that everything is a social construct: I didn’t take that position.

    So, how is it we know that liposuction and breast augmentation emulate naturally desirable proportions? Do you have an analysis of breast/waist/hip measurements that shows that a certain proportion is selected for across cultures? Do you have evidence that this proportion (as opposed to overall bodyfat levels, which you concede vary widely in desirability across cultures) correlate to any particular hormone?

    Or are we supposed to accept your assertion simply because some completely different factor in human attraction appears to be biological in origin?

  77. rabbit
    rabbit December 20, 2005 at 4:22 pm |

    Seems to me that the more insistantly someone argues that X behavior is ‘simply evolution’ the less that person actually turns out to understand about genetics and evolution. Just mentioning…as a person who knows a bit about evolutionary biology (I’m still in school, don’t claim to be an expert, though maybe once I’ve worked in my field for a while…) reading these articles that people claim ‘prove’ behavior is genetic tends to make me crazy as they are so psuedo-science laden and show no real understanding of the field in which they are arguing.

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