Why men don’t like fat birds

Easy:

‘These changes may reduce the chances of conception for overweight women, and may even have long-term health implications for the children of overweight and obese women.’
The latest study found that eggs from women who are overweight or obese were significantly smaller than eggs from women of healthy weight, and less likely to reach a crucial stage of development called the ‘blastocyst’ at around five days after fertilisation.
Researchers found embryos from overweight and obese women that reached the blastocyst stage did so on average 17 hours faster than comparable embryos from women of a healthy weight.
This acceleration in early development meant fewer cells were formed in blastocysts from overweight and obese women, which could have a deleterious effect on the placenta – the ‘support system’ for the growing baby.

And there we have it, the reason for our double standards, that gender gap, between men being a bit chubby and birds being fat. Don’t forget, they’re using “healthy” here to mean a BMI of 25. Which is actually pretty skinny when compared to the general population (as we keep being told). But any even vague history of the evolution of sexual attraction is going to mean that we men are attracted (with an awful lot of variation around that mean of course) to women who are fertile.

No, not because we’re omniscient about what makes women fertile. But because we’re the descendants of those men who found women who were fertile attractive enough to pursue.

And if fat birds are less fertile than skinny ones (to modern eyes “skinny”) then that explains what’s going on. Yes, pneumatic rather than flat all over (that hip to waist ratio is also indicative of fertility in other studies) but the inhabitants of BeastDate are considered unattractive for good evolutionary reasons.

Good, now that’s solved that’s the end of much feminist complaining, isn’t it? Facts do trump feelings?

54 thoughts on “Why men don’t like fat birds”

  1. Big Lindy will be writing a disobliging piece about you soon Tim, demanding you be denied a visa or have your passport revoked or suchlike.

    Misogynist!

  2. Some men ONLY like the much more comfortably built.

    And these days, there are websites available to match every type of supply and demand you can imagine.

    Brilliant really.

  3. All such studies provide further ammunition to the Lindy Wests to agitate to take men’s hormones and genetic predispositions out of the equation and be forced to donate to sperm banks for all the hippos to use without the noisy, tawdry, squelchy and sweaty process of normal procreation.

  4. Yeah, Tim, you’re extrapolating wildly here. If a preference exists across the whole human population, you can posit evolutionary reasons for it. This preference varies between cultures — both geographically and from one century to the next. So, bollocks, then.

  5. There is no accounting for taste Tim. Some blokes like beached whales but most don’t. What you say is broadly but not universally true. Big Lindy has worse problems than her size. Were she a decent soul and not a hate-filled spokescreature for poisonous socialistic evil she might still have a chance for love. As it is she will have to be content with mangina of the month.

  6. “But then how do we explain Rubens, and even more so, all the prehistoric “Venus” figurines?” Zaktly: or even Mae West or Miss Monroe – skinny birds have become fashionable only recently.

  7. Yeah, the historical preference is for rounder birds, and the expression “child-bearing hips” doesn’t refer to the skinny hips found on size zero models.

  8. I read somewhere (Prof Sykes?) that teenagers spend so much time osculating to check if they are related. (Which would be a bad thing.)

    Cultures (and men) vary in their preference for a particular BMI. But all cultures, everywhere, look for symmetry. That’s the real guage of evolutionary fitness.

  9. Dearieme.

    Don’t be fooled, Marilyn was pretty tiny by today’s standards, 22-23″ waist, and about 8.5st. Though she did fluctuate a bit.

  10. So Much for Subtlety

    The Sage – “But then how do we explain Rubens, and even more so, all the prehistoric “Venus” figurines?”

    There is no reason to think that the Venus figures are prehistoric porn. They could be prehistoric Godzilla figures for all we know.

    As for Rubens, there is always a far end of the normal distribution. The fact is most women in most Western paintings are not fat. Not even chubby. Look at Venus rising from the waves.

    Squander Two – “If a preference exists across the whole human population, you can posit evolutionary reasons for it. This preference varies between cultures — both geographically and from one century to the next. So, bollocks, then.”

    Is there evidence of this preference varying across cultures from one century to the next? If so, what is the evidence? Look at Raphael’s Madonnas for instance. Not a fat bird among them. As for culture to culture, sure some cultures like slightly fatter girls – the Mediterranean has a thing about bigger ar$es. Some like thinner girls – East Asia for instance. Africans seem to like really fat women. Speaking in gross generalities But what makes you think that is not an evolutionary difference?

    dearieme – “or even Mae West or Miss Monroe – skinny birds have become fashionable only recently.”

    Marilyn Monroe was not fat. She was not that tall and had a very thin waist, but it is a myth that she was fat:

    So what size was Marilyn Monroe actually? Luckily, many of her dresses, carefully preserved, are still around to measure off of. Further, one of her dress makers also chimed in with exact measurements he took. Those measurements were 5 ft. 5.5 inches tall; 35 inch bust; 22 inch waist (approximately 2-3 inches less than the average American woman in the 1950s and 12 inches less than average today); and 35 inch hips, with a bra size of 36D. Her weight fluctuated a bit through her career, usually rising in times of depression and falling back to her normal thereafter, but her dressmaker listed her as 118 pounds and the Hollywood studios tended to list her between 115-120 lbs.
    ….
    Elizabeth Hurley, who in the above quote called Marilyn Monroe “fat”, actually has around the same dimensions: 34-24-34, though is about 5 inches taller than Monroe was.

  11. The Sage,
    Rubens tells us nothing about what men liked looking at. This was public art and as such, was not for titilation. Churches would clamp down on obscene work, such as Goya’s nude, that looks more like a centrefold today.

    S2,
    I’ve always heard this said about different cultures, but what’s the evidence? As far as I can tell, rich Chinese, Russians, South Americans and Africans seem to trade in big older wives, for thin, young ones.

  12. Bear in mind that classical artists may have been deliberately not aiming for a sexual optimum; they could get away with painting nudity, but wouldn’t want to be accused of sinfulness, so if some Renaissance chap was secretly thinking “boobs bigger than her head”, he’s still going to paint small ones to avoid being too sexualised, and so on. Even I tend to desexualise drawings when I’m trying to pretend to be a bit arty or something. I think the male figure/nude classically was more honest regarding preferences than the female one.

    I am inclined to think- this may be a bit speculative or cranky, but what the hey- that this is really the first time in history that artists have been free enough to depict what they and the audience really want to see and more generally the ideals being portrayed both in real life and art are genuine revealed preferences. That’s not to mean they aren’t subject to fashion, but overall they only vary within parameters.

    Hence, if the future turns out as I, Criswell predict, and within the near future we get the technologies to be both immortal and disease free, and to look exactly how we want due to control at the cellular level (imagine every cell addressable), to the horror of the Lindys, both women and men will choose to look like the progressivist-despised stereotypes. People 100 years from now will look like a Frazetta painting.

    It’s going to be grand.

  13. Following Ian Reid’s linked article, that reminded me of a trawl around the “swingers” sites a short while ago looking at those profiles with photos available (due to a discussion here I think) and my conclusion was that most of the couples who are swinging on the internet ought to have profiles that say “underweight man and obese woman seeking more attractive people to have sex with”.

  14. Lindy is getting married. Good luck to him I say.

    Well, as she herself says in her ‘piece’:

    ” I recently sustained a pulsing gash to the palm”

    Old habits die hard, so good luck to him indeed.

  15. SMFS,

    > As for culture to culture, sure some cultures like slightly fatter girls – the Mediterranean has a thing about bigger ar$es. Some like thinner girls – East Asia for instance. Africans seem to like really fat women. Speaking in gross generalities But what makes you think that is not an evolutionary difference?

    It could well be an evolutionary difference. But it could not be one explained by the news that Tim is reporting here.

  16. I’m not convinced that men are programmed by evolution to prefer “healthy” weight women to overweight or obese women. Until, say 5,000 years ago, there can’t have been any overweight women, let alone obese women, to avoid.

  17. Ian Reid’s Guardian link is very interesting.

    The standfirst is:

    “Why I can’t wait to be a fat bride
    I grew up assuming I would never get married, because marriage was for thin women. What I needed to hear was that that you can be fat and happy and in love”

    That pretended need to ‘hear’ (or be told) stuff, and the bullshit about ‘growing up’ ‘assuming’ things, just about sums up the weird interface that these people exist in, between adolescent thinking and the belief that there is some sort of right way to think or act that you can absorb if only someone just tells you it.

    Hence she writes a column to educate us all.

    Meanwhile, in the real world, most women are getting on with their lives, and meeting someone or not.

  18. > Elizabeth Hurley, who in the above quote called Marilyn Monroe “fat”, actually has around the same dimensions: 34-24-34, though is about 5 inches taller than Monroe was.

    Do we really need to state the exceedingly bloody obvious that, if she’s 5 inches taller, she doesn’t have the same dimensions?

    People don’t think Monroe was bigger than today’s stars because they simply look at waist width and nothing else and are too stupid to realise hers was thin. They think — correctly — that Monroe was bigger than today’s stars because people judge size using a variety of measures, and height is one of them.

    I, for instance, have a 36″ waist and am generally regarded as skinny, because I’m 6’5″.

  19. SMFS, Squander-

    As for culture to culture, sure some cultures like slightly fatter girls – the Mediterranean has a thing about bigger ar$es. Some like thinner girls – East Asia for instance. Africans seem to like really fat women. Speaking in gross generalities But what makes you think that is not an evolutionary difference?

    It could well be an evolutionary difference. But it could not be one explained by the news that Tim is reporting here.

    Just to get my racism badge for today, one could argue that there’s a rough gradient there from least derived (African) homo to the most derived (East Asian) homo in fat preference. That is, the further you are from homo erectus, the thinner the women. Africans like fat all over, Europeans like curvy, Orientals like skinny all over.

    If those preference are really valid. West Africans tend to be plump and lumpy people, but Saharan Africans are tall and slender. I don’t think there are many Lindys in the Masai, while the Khoi-San are rather Asian looking anyway. Orientals are highly derived apparently as a cold adaption, with the flat faces and small jaws as a consequence, and an even layer of subcutaneous fat which allows them to be sufficiently insulated all over against the cold. And Western Europeans… um… like big norks. Dunno why, but it’s a wonderful thing.

  20. > If those preference are really valid.

    Well, quite. They aren’t. People who’ve started websites based on business plans that bet against people really having the preferences that everyone keeps telling us we have have generally made money.

    My own theory, based on observation and experience, is that men who prefer skinny women are louder and more obnoxious about it, whilst men who prefer larger women shut up.

  21. > liberals who pretend that looks don’t count, because, sexist, the patriarchy.

    Or there’s always the possibility that the women in question are, you know, nice. Possibly not in Lanker’s case, but even then, people who are politically mental are often quite good company socially. As long as you agree with them.

    Looks matter, but they’re an ice-breaker, not a decider. People tend not to try to punch above their weight when choosing who to approach. But, once you’ve made that approach, it is usually personality that matters. It is a trivial observation that couples tend to be approximately as good-looking as each other, but this ignores the fact that each of them will usually have a long trail behind them of other prospective partners also approximately as good-looking, all of whom they left because they didn’t like them. The personality is the thing that their chosen mate has that the others didn’t.

    The Internet is changing how people meet, lowering the importance of looks. And besides, there have always been a few people who twig to this early and realise they can up their chances of finding love by ignoring looks. Plus, of course, some men do actually like large women. It’s really not that unusual.

    There is a double standard here, too. There is outrage when people see a woman they consider ugly with a man they consider handsome. But look up pictures of Cate Blanchett’s husband. Every man I know sees him and says “Oh, well, done. He’s an inspiration to us all.”

  22. There is outrage when people see a woman they consider ugly with a man they consider handsome. But look up pictures of Cate Blanchett’s husband. Every man I know sees him and says “Oh, well, done. He’s an inspiration to us all.”

    Okay, firstly women do exactly the same when they see a woman do well; Hugh Jackman’s wife, for instance. Secondly, Cate Blanchett? Each to their own. Does nothing for me, personally.

    Personality matters. But people choose on physical looks first in most cases, and then from the subset of them who have reasonable pesonalities. Looks continue to matter in a relationship. They are not just an icebreaker. Which is why women in particular fret about holding onto a husband as their looks start to fade.

    That some people like people who are not stereotypically attractive indicates the diversity of human psychology, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a general preference. I of course cannot prove this prediction, but I repeat it nonetheless; once we all have the chance to choose how we look, a lot of body and facial types will go the way of the dodo.

  23. > women do exactly the same when they see a woman do well

    You think? That’s not what I’ve seen. There tends to be a lot of “What the hell is he doing with her?”

    > Cate Blanchett? Each to their own. Does nothing for me, personally.

    OK, this is actually the least sane thing you’ve ever said.

  24. Del,

    > Have you ever heard the sort of things Cate Blanchett says?

    If it’s not written by a screenwriter, couldn’t care less. All actors are Joey Tribiani.

    Dave,

    > She had a BMI of 19.1 which may be fat compared to Kate Moss but is still thin.

    Since Kate Moss is now apparently the ideal size (which baffles me, but hey), that is just proof that tastes have changed in half a century, which would be far too small a timescale to be evolutionary.

  25. I’m sorry, I’m still wrestling with this. Have I misunderstood? Squander, were you presenting Cate Blanchett as an example of a (highly) desirable woman? If so, I just can’t get my head around it.

  26. I remember back in the dim and distant past watching a documentary* about some lost tribe in New Guinea or somewhere where the chief locked all his wives in cages and fed them up till they were right porkers before hauling them off to the marriage bed.

    Obviously not many metabolism researchers around.

    Thinking about it, it might have been a Carry On film.

  27. So Much for Subtlety

    Kevin B – “Thinking about it, it might have been a Carry On film.”

    I would guess that would be more accurate than most modern anthropology. At least since Edward Evans-Pritchard died.

  28. So Much for Subtlety

    Squander Two – “Since Kate Moss is now apparently the ideal size (which baffles me, but hey), that is just proof that tastes have changed in half a century, which would be far too small a timescale to be evolutionary.”

    Kate Moss is the ideal size to appear in a women’s magazine. Kelly Brook, Katie Price, Sam Fox if you remember that far back. They are the ideal size to appear in men’s magazines.

    I doubt any of the three come close to a BMI of 25.

  29. So Much for Subtlety

    Ian Reid – “Lindy is getting married. Good luck to him I say.”

    Ms Dworkin was married for a long time. It happens. I guess some Gay men are just into really serious BDSM.

    Ian B – “Following Ian Reid’s linked article, that reminded me of a trawl around the “swingers” sites a short while ago looking at those profiles with photos available (due to a discussion here I think) and my conclusion was that most of the couples who are swinging on the internet ought to have profiles that say “underweight man and obese woman seeking more attractive people to have sex with”.”

    My limited exposure to polyamorists as well is that they are largely deeply unattractive people – usually a very fat woman with some rather fat man. I assume it is because of the reluctance of women to join such groups. After all, looks do not matter that much to women. Lesbians make an effort not to look good. But they matter to Gay men a lot. So the only people who would be willing to be unusual in this respect are those that can’t get or keep a man any other way. I think the tragedy of Dworkin’s life was that she wanted to be attractive to men but wasn’t.

    Squander Two – “It could well be an evolutionary difference. But it could not be one explained by the news that Tim is reporting here.”

    I don’t see why not. He is reporting a finding about really obese women. The sort of women that have not existed historically speaking. And from one specific population – White British people. I am not sure that it is the obesity that is causing the problem as obesity tends to go with a lot of other things but it is not implausible and it does not say much about Africans.

    Luke – “I’m not convinced that men are programmed by evolution to prefer “healthy” weight women to overweight or obese women.”

    And yet the sexual response in males is largely involuntary and triggered by the most absurd things. Horny teenage boys sometimes find the crudest sketches of women work. It can hardly be less likely to be anything other than an evolutionary response.

    Interested – “That pretended need to ‘hear’ (or be told) stuff, and the bullshit about ‘growing up’ ‘assuming’ things, just about sums up the weird interface that these people exist in, between adolescent thinking and the belief that there is some sort of right way to think or act that you can absorb if only someone just tells you it.”

    +1. It is the childish belief that she is miserable because other people did not take the responsibility to make her feel better about herself. Instead of admitting that her problems are her own and she needs to toughen the f**k up, loose some weight and work on being a nicer person.

    Ian B – “Orientals are highly derived apparently as a cold adaption, with the flat faces and small jaws as a consequence, and an even layer of subcutaneous fat which allows them to be sufficiently insulated all over against the cold.”

    Although their biology is probably telling them they should be round like Eskimos. But their diet is telling them they are going to look like 12 year old boys all their lives.

    Sexual preference may be a little more Freudian – we learn to like what our Mothers looked like. That could explain the strange fact of African American preferences. The modern descendants of slaves could hardly be more exposed to Western preferences or more stripped of their own culture. But in Britain and America those descendants have a very decided preference for fat girls. Just as they do in Africa. Which would suggest genetic causation. Or perhaps they acquired it in childhood.

    “And Western Europeans… um… like big norks. Dunno why, but it’s a wonderful thing.”

    Not sure that is just a Western European thing. East Asian porn has discovered breast implants.

    Squander Two – “Well, quite. They aren’t. People who’ve started websites based on business plans that bet against people really having the preferences that everyone keeps telling us we have have generally made money.”

    OK Cupid is interesting because they do a lot of number crunching. And they have shown, comprehensively, that all the liberals tell us about attraction is lies and all that the sexist pigs said is true. It is what people actually do. Bet against what the Guardian says and you may make money. Bet against what any pub bore can tell you and you won’t.

    “My own theory, based on observation and experience, is that men who prefer skinny women are louder and more obnoxious about it, whilst men who prefer larger women shut up.”

    I agree there has been a general shaming of men with that particular preference.

    Squander Two – “Or there’s always the possibility that the women in question are, you know, nice.”

    Blood flow to the penis does not care about nice.

    “Looks matter, but they’re an ice-breaker, not a decider.”

    For men or for women?

    “People tend not to try to punch above their weight when choosing who to approach. But, once you’ve made that approach, it is usually personality that matters.”

    For men.

    “The Internet is changing how people meet, lowering the importance of looks.”

    I am sorry but that is insane. No it does not. It puts more pressure on women because men have an alternative – on line porn. So women have to compete in a tougher market place.

    “There is a double standard here, too. There is outrage when people see a woman they consider ugly with a man they consider handsome.”

    It is not a double standard. Men and women offer different things. An ugly man can still offer protection and comfort. An ugly woman cannot offer good sex and healthy children. Thus an ugly woman with a handsome man is wrong – and causes persistent rumours about Hugh Jackman being Gay for instance. Appearing in so many musicals does not help. But Donald Trump marrying another idiot from Eastern Europe does not surprise anyone.

    Lord T – “Yet another reason to like fat birds. New Reason : They are less likely to get up the duff.”

    Isn’t the old reason still good enough? You know, that they give blow jobs on the first date?

  30. >If it’s not written by a screenwriter, couldn’t care less. All actors are Joey Tribiani.

    But S2, you were the one saying that it’s all about personality in the end, which I thought was a good point. And the idiotic, pretentious things that Cate Blanchett constantly says totally put me off her. Her not-bad looks don’t make up for that (well, maybe for a one-nighter, but not beyond that).

    Of course there will be plenty of left-wing men around, such as I presume her husband is, who will think she is source of profound wisdom.

  31. Nowhere in the article does it actually say that the fatter women where less fertile than than their thinner counterparts. It only offers speculation that this might be the case, based on differences in the speed of blastocyst development. No other evidence is offered. The research was done at a IVF clinic so none of the women involved were very fertile, whatever their weight.

  32. bloke (not) in spain

    Given this is a study has come up with the oh so surprising, (yes another one!) result, being above the health-professionally preferred weight range is medically damaging,( oh yes, tut-tut) I’d treat it with all the serious attention………I’d devote to a time-share sales pitch.

  33. Why I don’t like being married to a porker.
    Because after a hard day of chasing aurochs on the savannah when I come home hungry There’s No Fucking Food Left In The Fridge!

  34. Del,

    > But S2, you were the one saying that it’s all about personality in the end

    Well, it would be if I were to meet Cate Blanchett at a party and she and I had both been divorced and I could try to start a relationship with her. As it is, I generally just see her act in films.

    Mind you, if that ever does happen, it’ll be good not to have competition from Ian, the fool.

    SMFS,

    > I am sorry but that is insane. No it does not. It puts more pressure on women because men have an alternative – on line porn. So women have to compete in a tougher market place.

    Online porn is an alternative to marriage? That’s insane.

    > For men.

    You know, if you really do base decisions about who to marry on nothing more than looks, you have my sympathies for the profoundly shallow life you must be leading. I very much doubt that’s true, though. I suspect you would have a conversation with a woman before proposing to her, and might decide against it if it turned out her opinions made you want to pull your own eyes out.

    > OK Cupid is interesting because they do a lot of number crunching. And they have shown, comprehensively, that all the liberals tell us about attraction is lies and all that the sexist pigs said is true. It is what people actually do. Bet against what the Guardian says and you may make money. Bet against what any pub bore can tell you and you won’t.

    Fascinating. I was tempted to find a link and post it here, but I think that would count as abuse of Tim’s blog. Look, it’ll take anyone about three seconds to find a big long list of websites run by people who are (a) betting that there are lots and lots of men out there who like large or fat or frankly giant women, and (b) making pots of money.

    > An ugly woman cannot offer good sex and healthy children.

    The sex is always going to be a matter of personal taste — and, since we’re talking about weight here, there are men who have a lot of fun in bed with large women — but, seriously? Ugly women can’t have healthy children? Did you type that with your forehead?

  35. “The Internet is changing how people meet, lowering the importance of looks.”

    I am sorry but that is insane. No it does not. It puts more pressure on women because men have an alternative – on line porn. So women have to compete in a tougher market place.

    I think the first claim is nonsense, but the second doesn’t answer it.

    Firstly, looks are always important. Humans are visual creatures and use looks as a first guide. We select generally from those who are visually desirable, then from them the subset with other characteristsic we like such as personality. Some relationships are pure meetings of minds, but they are not the pattern. It is very hard to argue that the internet reduces this visual importance. It may have done in the early usenet type text-focussed days, but bear in mind that most early adopters were from less visually impressive nerdy demographics anyway. Nowadays, it’s all photo and video. We don’t see those stories about a fat dishevelled man from New Jersey marrying a fat dishevelled woman from Liverpool who met on alt.politics.liberal any more.

    More generally, it’s not about “porn” though. The problem with a mass media is that it is going to naturally raise standards of what counts as beautiful, because it provides access to ubiquitous images of the very top percentiles, and this has been an increasing factor for a hundred years. For most of history, for most people, the most beautiful woman you’d be aware of would be the best looker in your village, one of a small number of women (or men) of an appropriate age. In a village of 200 people, you might be looking at the prettiest girl out of only 20 or 30 possibilities. Hence, the “village beauty” by modern standards was probably rather average. Nowadays, you’re aware of the prettiest girl out of millions. That naturally raises the perceived standard. It’s notable how plain even “great beauties” of the Victorian and Edwardian eras normally look to modern eyes.

    Evelyn Nesbit floats my boat mind, but even she’d probably look a bit average by today’s standards.

    Beauty is to some degree cardinal and some degree ordinal. A wizened crone will not be a great beauty in any situation even if she is all there is. But people set standards compared the sample in general, so the availability of imagery of outliers- particularly rarities like the slender woman with unusually large breasts- does create a visual pressure on everyone else. This has been going on since the media extended the sample from “people you actually know” to “those of particular beauty selected from the entire population”. One of my mum’s little boasts was that as a young woman her legs had the same dimensions as Betty Grable’s- the (supposed) measurements of which she had read in one of those Hollywood Picture Show type magazines of her youth. It’s not porn, it’s “glamour”.

  36. Sexual preference may be a little more Freudian – we learn to like what our Mothers looked like. That could explain the strange fact of African American preferences. The modern descendants of slaves could hardly be more exposed to Western preferences or more stripped of their own culture. But in Britain and America those descendants have a very decided preference for fat girls. Just as they do in Africa. Which would suggest genetic causation. Or perhaps they acquired it in childhood.

    It is interesting. The particular thing that strikes me at the moment is the persistence of a preference for large bottomed, pear shaped women through hundreds of years of slavery, Christianisation, subjugation to white European culture and media, etc. Interesting now because via that media the “ass” fetish has spread to white culture, hence the bizarre celebrity of Kim Kardashian’s rear end, etc as whites increasingly copy black culture. This either suggests a genetic preference or that culture has very deep persistence. It’s also of course understandable why white women would be keen to adopt this ideal, since a pear-shaped fat arsed figure is easier to achieve than an hourglass, let alone top-heavy. Just hit the cake shop, kind of thing.

  37. > Nowadays, it’s all photo and video.

    On dating sites, yes. But that’s not everything. My point was merely that it is now quite commonplace for people to meet and get to know each other without seeing each other, which I know does sometimes turn into a relationship. That undoubtedly lowers the importance of looks. There are certainly other factors which increase the importance of looks, and you’re right about mass media. But it rather depends on what you’re trying to explain here. If you’re trying to explain broad trends across society, then yeah, looks have probably increased in importance overall. But if you’re looking at individual cases that seem inexplicable according to your society-wide theories (which was what started this particular segment of the argument), it makes sense to look at the factors which might be affecting some people but not everyone — such as that, in some number of cases, looks have become less important.

    I mean, really, a thin man has a fat wife, and some here feel the need to come up with what are frankly insane political conspiracy theories about why he might be with her. I suggest that she might just be nice. This is hardly controversial stuff.

    > We don’t see those stories about a fat dishevelled man from New Jersey marrying a fat dishevelled woman from Liverpool who met on alt.politics.liberal any more.

    Because it became a dog-bites-man story, not because it stopped happening.

    > Interesting now because via that media the “ass” fetish has spread to white culture, hence the bizarre celebrity of Kim Kardashian’s rear end, etc as whites increasingly copy black culture. This either suggests a genetic preference or that culture has very deep persistence.

    I think Occam’s Razor suggests a far simpler explanation. Evolutionary biologists tell us that the arse was always the primary attractor in female humans and that large breasts evolved to emulate it. We’ve just come out of a very long period in the West where women were forced to hide their arses in public, hence the breasts were more important. Suddenly, it’s socially acceptable to walk the streets wearing hotpants or to run around clad in Lycra. This isn’t copying “black” culture; it’s just regression to the norm.

    Incidentally, that also explains why large breasts became so popular in Western Europe: we’re the culture that covered up arses.

  38. So Much for Subtlety

    Squander Two – “Online porn is an alternative to marriage? That’s insane.”

    No it isn’t. Increasingly men are not marrying or marrying later. What do you think they are doing? Increasingly married women are reporting a lack of sex in their marriages due to on line porn. It is not a good alternative but there you are.

    “You know, if you really do base decisions about who to marry on nothing more than looks, you have my sympathies for the profoundly shallow life you must be leading.”

    Thank you. Look, I have lived a long time. I have seen a lot of relations come and go. The nice girl only gets the guy in Hollywood movies. Time and time again men will go for the unpleasant harpy who looks like a model rather than the nice girl who is plain. It is just the way we are. Don’t blame me for pointing it out.

    “Look, it’ll take anyone about three seconds to find a big long list of websites run by people who are (a) betting that there are lots and lots of men out there who like large or fat or frankly giant women, and (b) making pots of money.”

    Websites cost next to nothing to run and I am sure there are some men who like fat women. Like there are men who like dressing up as Concentration Camp survivors and being beaten by prostitutes dressed as SS guards. Hello to any member of the Mosely family who may be reading this.

    A niche market proves nothing.

    “Ugly women can’t have healthy children? Did you type that with your forehead?”

    I keep trying but I find my toes work better. It does appear that health is related to symmetry and beauty.

    Ian B – “I think the first claim is nonsense, but the second doesn’t answer it.”

    Why is it nonsense? In just my lifetime we have gone from a situation where girls could be plain and smart to one where even smart girls are expected to be dolly birds. The media, of all sorts, is clearly to blame.

    “We select generally from those who are visually desirable, then from them the subset with other characteristsic we like such as personality.”

    Or we lust for the top of the market, but fall to something we can realistically achieve and then rationalise it.

    “More generally, it’s not about “porn” though.”

    There is plenty of evidence that porn is changing behaviour.

    Ian B – “Interesting now because via that media the “ass” fetish has spread to white culture, hence the bizarre celebrity of Kim Kardashian’s rear end, etc as whites increasingly copy black culture.”

    And Hispanic. I am not sure they are copying it. After all, the Kardashians seem more popular among Black men. They tend to marry them. I think that Whites are fascinated by the celebrity, not the ar$e. After all, I think that sexual preferences are incredibly hard to change.

    Squander Two – “My point was merely that it is now quite commonplace for people to meet and get to know each other without seeing each other, which I know does sometimes turn into a relationship.”

    Like the Crying Game? It is a commonplace that people meet on the internet, get to know each other, like each other a lot, meet up and never speak to each other again.

    “We’ve just come out of a very long period in the West where women were forced to hide their arses in public, hence the breasts were more important.”

    Ummm, have you ever seen a picture of a Victorian lady? Hiding her backside she was not. That was the point of those absurd dresses – to make her backside look even bigger.

  39. Increasingly married women are reporting a lack of sex in their marriages due to on line porn.

    I’d like to see the data on this. The null hypothesis would be that use of online porn is a consequence of lack of sex in marriages (due to wifely reluctance) so I want some convincing that it’s the other way around.

  40. Squander-

    My point was merely that it is now quite commonplace for people to meet and get to know each other without seeing each other, which I know does sometimes turn into a relationship.

    Not without the nervewracking photo exchange moment they don’t.

  41. >It’s notable how plain even “great beauties” of the Victorian and Edwardian eras normally look to modern eyes.

    Definitely. Even many of the supposed great beauties of the 30’s and 40’s look astonishingly plain to me.

  42. Not without the nervewracking photo exchange moment they don’t.

    Oh absolutely. I think you may be misinterpreting my claim as a lot stronger than it is. There used to be one way of meeting a mate: face to face. (Let’s ignore arranged marriages, as they don’t tell us anything about the preferences of the arrangees.) Now there are others, which enable us to get to know someone very well indeed before knowing what they look like. Looks have therefore become less important than they were. I haven’t claimed (as SMFS seems to think) that they have become completely unimportant.

    > The null hypothesis would be that use of online porn is a consequence of lack of sex in marriages (due to wifely reluctance)

    Agreed. One might also suggest that, when faced with such reluctance, online porn is providing men an alternative to extramarital affairs.

    SMFS,

    > A niche market proves nothing.

    On the contrary. A niche market proves exactly the claim I made:

    > People who’ve started websites based on business plans that bet against people really having the preferences that everyone keeps telling us we have have generally made money.

    I agree that it doesn’t prove the other claims you’re wrongly ascribing to me due to your inabaility to comprehend exceptions to rules and your usual insistence that everyone must be exactly the same.

    > Increasingly men are not marrying or marrying later. What do you think they are doing?

    I think men who would rather look at porn than get married never really wanted marriage in the first place and have settled for it as a crappy compromise in past centuries. Men who actually want a loving relationship and fatherhood aren’t turning to porn instead. Obviously. Porn doesn’t have kids.

    > Time and time again men will go for the unpleasant harpy who looks like a model rather than the nice girl who is plain. It is just the way we are. Don’t blame me for pointing it out.

    Again, and as ever, you seem to have difficulty distinguishing between claims about averages across the whole species and claims about individuals. I am well aware that there are plenty of men who are interested in nothing but looks and are willing to marry some utter shits in order to get those looks (though it is noteworthy that one of your earlier examples, Katie Price, is so impressively obnoxious that she can’t keep a man). That doesn’t make it a universal truth of everyone. It is still perfectly reasonable to claim that a man might have married a woman you think is beneath him because he likes her, just as it is reasonable to suggest that he might disagree with your taste in physical characteristics.

    If you want to be cynically biological about it, there’s always conditioning. All this stuff about purely physical attraction and beauty applies to teenagers. Once we’ve been around the block a few times, we come to associate physical characteristics with experiences. People end up with completely bizarre fetishes this way, for gas masks and rabbit costumes and amputees and all sorts. It’s hardly fantastic to point out that a man who has been treated like shite by twenty tall blondes might go off tall blondes.

    > It does appear that health is related to symmetry and beauty.

    No, it appears that symmetry and beauty are things humans look for in mates, and it appears to be evolutionary. Firstly, evolution comes from sexual selection as well as natural selection, so preferences can simply be self-reinforcing and are not necessarily indicative of underlying genetic utility. Secondly, even if symmetry is indicative of health, the point of evolution is not that bad genes don’t get passed on; it is that good genes are more likely to be passed on more than bad genes and that, over extremely long timescales, even very small differences result in the better genes dominating the population. To extrapolate from that to “Ugly women can’t have healthy children” is bollocks on stilts.

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