It might be a bit of a throwback compared to what we are told today, but the most desirable female body shape is one with a “low waist-to-hip ratio,” or what is termed an “hourglass figure.” That’s according to a new study recently published in the journal Evolution and Human Behavior. The study refutes Hollywood’s glamorising of a skinny frame with a big chest. According to the study, the hour-glass shape is more desirable because it’s a sign of “physical and sexual maturity in young women who have not been pregnant.”
William D. Lassek, the author of the study and a researcher for the Department of Anthropology at the University of California at Santa Barbara explains, “Because evolution depends entirely on individual success in reproducing, anything to do with reproduction, such as choosing a mate, should be optimised by natural selection.
Thus understanding the reasons why men find certain women attractive should help us better understand human evolution. The two elements which have been the subject of most research are women’s waist/hip ratios (WHRs) and body mass indices (BMIs).” Using data gleaned from studying more than 12,000 female participants in two National Health and Nutrition Examination Surveys, the study concluded that low WHRs have a greater likelihood of reproducing.
And it wasn’t just the looks; the study also found that women with lower WHRs also had higher levels of a nutrient that is crucial for pregnancy and breastfeeding—omega-3 docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). It will probably come as no surprise that men seem to prefer younger women, notes the study.
Another study out of the University of Texas attributes a woman’s attractiveness to a “theoretically optimal angle of the lumbar curvature” that creates a 45.5 degree curve. The study surmises that this curve allowed our ancient ancestors to better survive multiple pregnancies, thus passing the trait along to more generations. “This adds to a growing body of evidence that beauty is not entirely arbitrary, or ‘in the eyes of the beholder’ as many in mainstream social science believed, but rather has a coherent adaptive logic,” explains David Buss, the study’s co-author.
In other words, what both studies seem to say is that beauty is actually determined by how well we perceive a woman’s ability to propagate the species. It’s not about babes, it’s about babies.