Hmmm… We’ve thought this all along, but according to a new study conducted and featured in the August issue of Psychology Today, men prefer curves and instinctively “know” something about women’s bodies that we girls just don’t seem to get – curves are BETTER for everything. Read on…
Sculptors immortalize them. Poets regularly regale them. Even ordinary men pay tribute. American males, it has been calculated, spend some $3 billion a year to gaze at women with hourglass figures, those whose small waists blossom into sinuously curvy hips.
Men rate women as most attractive when they have a waist size that is 60 to 70 percent of their hip size, the late psychologist Devendra Singh found in a series of pioneering studies begun 20 years ago. And in more than a hundred other studies, men all over the world—including isolated groups unexposed to modern media—prefer a similar shape. Singh and cognitive neuroscientist Steven Platek found that viewing women with curvy figures stimulates a powerful internal reward system, lighting up the same pleasure centers in men’s brains that are targeted by cocaine and heroin.
That this kind of hourglass figure is not only typical of the women men pay to look at, such as Playboy Playmates and adult film stars, but is also a preference found in many different social groups and cultural settings, suggests it has been shaped over millennia by evolutionary forces, like our tastes for sugar and fat. The preferred women are remarkably alike, and the similarity of their measurements and men’s reactions to them further suggests that there is a specific template buried deep in men’s minds.
It is likely that men who preferred curvy hourglass figures in women had more children who carried their fathers’ preferences down to the present. Still, how could an hourglass figure relate to a woman’s success as a mother? The answer is not at all obvious. But over the past several years, we have been demonstrating that it has a lot to do with intelligence. And just as much to do with what people eat and where it comes from. The evidence also suggests why American women increasingly dislike their bodies and misjudge what men like in women. It may even explain why American children fare increasingly poorly academically compared with kids in the rest of the world.
What it comes down to, in a word, is fat. But not just any fat, curvy, sexy, fuller bodies… check out the complete story in Psychology Today on newsstands or online.