The Wallstreet Journal has an article today called “Why Women Don’t Want Macho Men“. It outlines a recently published study from Facesearch.org that asked 4800 women to rate the attractiveness of masculinized or feminized male faces, and compared these results to the national health index of each woman’s country of origin. The basic finding was that in countries with decent health-care, women prefer prettier men, while in countries with poorer health-care, women prefer manlier men.
The study itself is interesting enough, even though the results are significantly restrained by the fact that it only considers women who identified their ethnicity as white and were in their early- to mid-twenties. But what really caused me to stop and think about the article, was the following two paragraphs:
Then again, women have always asked, why must we choose either/or in a mate, and not all-in-one? In a study of 107 American married couples, evolutionary psychologists David Buss and Todd Shackelford found that beautiful women (as determined by averaged ratings of eight teams of male and female interviewers) want it all in a partner: masculine, physically fit, loving, educated, desirous of home and children, a few years older than themselves and with a high income potential.
While exceptionally attractive (or wealthy) women may indeed capture this ideal male, most are forced by circumstance to settle for the best combination of traits. Some husband-seekers trade off masculinity for companionship and good parenting. Others forfeit compassion in exchange for wealth. (“I want a man who’s kind and understanding,” Zsa Zsa Gabor once griped. “Is that too much to ask of a millionaire?”) To secretly have it all, some women adopt a “dual mating” strategy—marrying a solid, faithful guy and enjoying trysts with hunks. As a result, up to 10% of babies born in some populations have fathers who are presumed to be their biological dads but aren’t.
I guess we can’t blame women for wanting it all – I myself am looking for the perfect woman. But something about that last sentence is really bothering me. In fact, I think that it is the most disturbing thing I have read so far this year. Ten percent! That’s one out of every 10 kids.
So ladies, which of these two guys would you be more likely to cheat on?
A pair of faces from the Face Research Laboratory study to evaluate women's preferences. The image on the left has more masculine features like thicker eyebrows and a wider jaw. (From The Royal Society via The Wallstreet Journal)
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