The shape your body takes when you live a healthy lifestyle is the real measure of feminine beauty—not the way a designer cuts clothes.
Girls, this post is for you. It’s from a man who wants his world to be full of healthy, beautiful, curvy women with intelligence and self-confidence—not bony, stringy, insecure girls.
Girls seem to either be complimenting and reassuring one another of their looks, or talking shit on each other. The praise women get from men for their beauty consists mostly of barely-masked statements of our willingness to mate with them. These sex drive-inspired remarks from men don’t seem to do much for women’s self-esteem (I have no idea why).
What is lacking is a genuine, heartfelt attempt from a man to help women feel better about themselves. I say “heartfelt” because it actually saddens me that girls feel fat for being feminine. If I can do a little bit to help women realign their self-image, I will do it.
The Asch Experiment
The Asch Experiment is a well-documented and massively-repeated experiment that demonstrates the power of group perception over our individual view.
The subject of the experiment is told that he is taking part in a “visual perception test.” What the subject doesn’t know is that all the other participants are actors. The test consists simply of deciding which of a set of lines on the right (A, B, or C) matches the length of the line on the left.
Then comes the sneaky part: the actors all choose an answer that is obviously wrong. When the subject is allowed to respond, he is more likely to give the same incorrect answer.
“…When surrounded by individuals all voicing an incorrect answer, participants provided incorrect responses on a high proportion of the questions (32%). Seventy-five percent of the participants gave an incorrect answer to at least one question.” [Wikipedia]
It may come from an evolutionary instinct to weigh the perceptions of others as evidence, or it may simply come from our emotional need to belong. Whatever the reason, it’s clear that our perceptions are attracted to and influenced by those of others.
It’s important to understand that the test subjects didn’t see that the group’s choice was wrong and then chose to conform to the incorrect answer; the group’s influence actually distorted the subject’s perception.
When the experiment was done with all-female groups, the effect was double what it was for men.
A 1996 analysis of Asch line-judgment experiments states:
The finding that the greater the percentage of female respondents, the higher the level of conformity was also consistent with the conclusion from earlier reviews, although it is striking that it had the largest impact of all the moderator variables included in this analysis. We investigated this further, first by comparing just those studies where the participants were all men with those where participants were all women. … These additional analyses indicate that the gender difference found overall is robust and does not appear to be spuriously inflated through confounding with other factors. [Bond, et al]
Aesthetics vs. biology
Attraction to the female body is subject to the same perceptual distortions as the lines in the Asch Experiment.
Girls, you don’t see yourselves the way men see you. When you see a woman with a nice pair of breasts, a lovely hourglass figure, or big shapely buttocks, do you get the urge to thrust part of yourself into her? Probably not.
I can’t perceive men the way women do. The presence of an attractive male cannot inspire the same drives in me that it does in a woman. A girl can tell me about all the things that attract her to a man, but only she understands because she can feel the attraction.
If men understood what was attractive about us, you wouldn’t see us screwing around with steroids and spray-on tans and ridiculous hairstyles and an immature, boyish, macho attitude in an attempt to be what we think women like. (The result is a deformed pseudo-manliness that only speaks to us being out of touch with true manhood).
It’s the same type of thing when women get it into their heads that it’s desirable to be rail-thin.
Our ideas about what we should look like are informed by aesthetics; our attraction to the other sex is informed by biology.
Biology is hard-wired, inescapable, and objective.
Aesthetics are arbitrary, subjective, cultural. They’re made up.
It’s easier for men to get over this than women; we have biology influencing us in the direction of thick chicks.
Although women may have some biological basis for understanding their own attractiveness, it is too primal or subconscious to override the overwhelming social pressures they face. Aesthetics overwhelm their judgment of the female attractiveness.
The part I left out
There’s a flip side to the Asch Experiment.
When even one person voices a dissenting opinion, if the subject hears just one person speak out against the group, the spell is broken and the conformity rate drops dramatically (down to 5-10%).
And the dissenting voice doesn’t even need to be right, it just has to have the courage to cast doubt on the authority of the group. One other person with the temerity to reject the majority’s opinion is all that a person needs to regain trust in their own perspective.
That’s why I’m writing this, and that’s why I think other men should voice their love for the plumper varieties of the female figure. You can find plenty of articles by women exalting their own curves and learning to love their bodies, but there’s a different power behind it when men confess their preference for voluptuous women. I’m not discouting women’s opinions, I’m just saying that an opinion about a body’s appeal is a bit more solid when it’s backed up by an urge to copulate.
The popular image of an attractive female body varies throughout history and across cultures because it is subjective. But the model of a healthy, fertile, feminine body from the point of view of biology is both more objective and more varied—a wider range of women’s bodies centered on a fuller figure.
Humans are still evolving, and this trend still continues. A study from Yale University foudn that, even in this “skinny culture” of ours, it’s the shorter, thicker girls who are out-competing the tall, skinny ones. [New Scientist]
The thicker female body has its own aesthetic appeal, too. Some of us have a taste for all things bold: strong beer, flavorful coffee, whole milk, loud music, rough sex—and plump women.
For the vast majority of human history, a female body advertised its health with a full butt and thighs, with feminine fat distribution. This primal desire for bigness in the right places still swims in the depths of men’s minds like a coelacanth, a primordial creature of our evolution that has seen the shallow and temporary animals of style and fashion come and go. In the end and at the bottom, we love plump girls.
- Apologies to homosexuals. If I tried to factor homosexuality ino this entry, it would have been way too damn long.
- I did oversimplify in a few places. Obviously, there are guys who naturally prefer skinny chicks. I couldn’t cover everything. It’s a blog post, not a book.
- Wikipedia: Asch conformity experiments
- Bond, R. and Smith, P. B. (1996.) Culture and Conformity: A Meta-Analysis of Studies Using Asch’s ( 1952b, 1956) Line Judgment Task. Psychological Bulletin, 119, 111-137.
- Image: Volume Height Index and Female Bodily Attractiveness
- New Scientist: Meet future woman: shorter, plumper, more fertile