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In Virtue/Vice, Dr. Christine B. Whelan blogs about news, books, scientific and psychological research and her general musings about virtue and vice in our everyday lives.

 

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October 14th, 2010

Manly Men

 
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manly-men-flashHere’s some weird research from the Face Research Laboratory at the University of Aberdeen in Scotland.

Nearly 5000 women, most of whom were in their early 20s, were asked to participate in a quick online survey where they choose which male face they found to be most attractive. The photos were very similar – but one was made to be more “masculine” with a stronger jawline and bushier eyebrows – while another was given slightly finer features. Apparently, “manly men” are less attractive to women in healthier, modern countries. Reports the Freakonomics bloggers

In short, women in less healthy countries preferred more masculine men, perhaps for their evolutionary advantages (testosterone is linked to health).  So if you’re blessed or burdened with a short, broad face and a strong jawline, you might want to think about moving to Argentina.

Jena Pincott, author of Do Gentlemen Really Prefer Blondes? wrote a piece in the Wall Street Journal about the phenomenon, too — and outlined some of the study’s limitations. It’s well-worth reading.

I’m a skeptic of evolutionary psychology, generally. The women-want-a-caveman-to-protect them argument never seemed to jive with contemporary sociological research (including my own mate-preferences research) Socialization is a powerful force. And from my vantage point, the metrosexuals seem to be doing just fine.

 
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The Author : Christine B. Whelan
Dr. Christine B. Whelan is an author, professor and speaker. She and her husband, Peter, and their dictator cats, Chairman Meow and Evita Purron, live in Pittsburgh. Her book "Why Smart Men Marry Smart Women" is available in stores or at the Halo Store.
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  • Toni

    Well, gee, you cut off the guy’s head in the picture, which wasn’t very nice. )-; But he’s put together VERY NICELY!

  • Helen

    So it’s not just me! lol.

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