Scientific research has demonstrated that the majority of men prefer voluptuous women. Indeed, they are genetically programmed to do so. Yet, at the same time, the media continues to bombard us with images of the “perfect” woman, who is anything but voluptuous. Body preference, which is what makes someone attractive in the eye of the beholder, depends mainly on waist to hip ratio.
Waist to Hip Ratio
Calculating the waist to hip ratio is very easy to do and is also a good indicator of overall health.
Your waist to hip ratio is an important tool that helps you determine your overall health risk. People with more weight around their waist are at greater risk of lifestyle related diseases such as heart disease and diabetes than those with weight around their hips. It is a simple and useful measure of fat distribution.
To calculate it, you must measure the widest part of your hips and the waist, just above the belly button, and get their ratio. Besides this ratio being indicative of health, it is also indicative of how attractive someone is. Yet, there are strong cultural differences in which a particular waist to hip ratio is seen as attractive.
In a Western culture, you are seen as most attractive if the ratio is 0.7. Scientific research has also shown that this is the number related to high reproductive hormones, which means women are more likely to have healthy babies. Hence, women who have curves are seen as more attractive than women who are stick thin.
Changes Through the Ages
At the same time, however, the view on what is attractive and what is not has changed throughout the ages. For instance, in 1910, the ideal woman was the Gibson Girl.
A showstopping feminine body like a looping figure-8, thanks to a super-cinched corset.
Yet, just 10 years later, what was classed as attractive was the Flapper Girl. These girls have small busts and narrow hips and are quite straight rather than curvy. By 1930, curves made a comeback, but only slightly so. Women were suddenly supposed to have a waistline, but the hips remained narrow. Ten years after that, men thought wide, straight women were more attractive, although this was probably due to the outbreak of the war, where people (men and women alike) who looked strong were classed as more attractive. In 1950, the figure that we now know is the healthiest – the hourglass figure – was finally revealed. The 1960s preferred twigs, made popular by supermodel Twiggy. From there, we went to the Disco Diva, who had voluptuous breasts, but no waist. In the 1980s, we started to see a preference for thinner women, and this is also the era of the Size 0 Model. The 90s continued this trend, unfortunately. But slowly but surely, we are seeing women get curvier again.
The question now is how much genetic disposition is linked to what men find attractive. Scientific research seems to suggest that men prefer women with curves. At the same time, it is important to recognize the difference between curves and being overweight. Yet the media continues to portray women who have almost no curves and are incredibly thin. As a result, the body image that women believe is attractive to men is guided by the media, whereas what men actually find attractive is guided by genetics. And at no time since the 1950s have we seen these two aligned. As a result of this, women underestimate how attractive they are.
In general, women are much more concerned about their appearance than men are. The key reason for this is that their appearance is central to how they are evaluated by others.”
Indeed, the media has a very big role to play in the perception of beauty. Advertisements for feminine products are, by and large, actually aimed at men. For instance, an advertisement for a lipstick is generally presented as a sexy woman lasciviously pouting and contouring her lips. This does not mean that the media expects men to go out and buy lipstick, but rather that they make it clear to a woman that she has to make herself sexually attractive to men. The vast majority of cosmetic products, both in terms of skincare and in terms of makeup, are geared towards women. In doing so, the media – and the cosmetics industry – send out a message to women saying that they have to change things about themselves in order to look better. This is not the case for men.
What Do Men Find Attractive?
So what exactly is it that men find attractive? It has been proven that the hourglass figure is more attractive to a man and that they have a genetic predisposition towards this, in the same way that a woman is genetically predisposed to prefer a man with a beard (very few women are actually aware of this). But there are other things that men, in general, find attractive and in most cases, these are actually directly opposed to what the media would lead women to believe.
According to evolutionary psychologists, way back when, men and women crafted different strategies to get what they wanted in the mating game. Modern men and women are, therefore, programmed to find specific biological and psychological traits attractive in the opposite sex.
Some of the things that men find attractive include a small level of neuroticism, wearing red, having a balanced mouth, having large eyes, being empathic and agreeable, being self-sacrificing, and being appreciative. This means that many of the traits a man looks for in a woman are actually based on personality, not body. Additionally, research shows that men genetically look for women with the right hip to waist ratio, but they care far more about a woman’s facial attractiveness than the shape of their body overall. So perhaps the cosmetics industry is right, and women should focus on their makeup. Or perhaps it is time for women to start caring more about themselves, and not about what men think they should look like.