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Women are better-looking than men, fortunately or unfortunately....

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I was quite impressed with the pages I read on your website, and what was often your flawless logic and common sense, until I came to your "Men are ugly. Women are poor" page, and found it to be the biggest bunch of crap I've read in a long time.

The idea that women are better looking than men is just silly. Our particular society views women as being more attractive than men, partly because men are still running the society in many ways and express their viewpoint more fully than women do, partly because women put much more effort into trying to look attractive than men do. Men in our society certainly do strongly find women to be more attractive than men, and put this viewpoint forth constantly, and they're the ones writing and directing all the movies, tv shows, controlling media in general, and so we have a society where we're constantly bombarded with this viewpoint.

Your article began with, "Why is it that guys always seem to go for looks, no matter what a girl's personality might be like, whereas chicks go for a guy with money, or a nice car or something like that."

I think you just need to look at it from the viewpoint of evolutionary psychology to answer this one. Men are attracted more to looks because having sex with attractive women has been a good reproductive strategy for some hundreds of thousands of years now. An attractive woman is one who is young, physically healthy, able to bear children, and if she will have sex with the man, great, he gets to pass on his DNA.

Women are not so attracted to looks because having sex with a random attractive man is a TERRIBLE reproductive strategy for her. Alright, being attractive at least means he is probably healthy and has decent genes... which will do her no good when he takes off and leaves her to raise the child alone and she runs out of food and the kids starve. She needs to find a man who will stick around and help her raise that child, and to figure out if he will do that, she needs to look to personality characteristics. Also, she needs to look to the male's status within society, to see if he will have the resources to help her raise the child, which is why today women are attracted to men with money.

Women only have one workable reproductive strategy, which is Find a Good Mate. Men have two: Find a Good Mate, and Have Sex with Any Fertile Woman You Can. The second strategy is great, if the guy can pull it off, he could theoretically go about having hundreds of children, and probably the women would manage to raise many of them even if he abandoned them completely. The second strategy requires only that the man find a sexual partner who is a fertile woman, which he can identify solely by looking to her body, which explains the major attraction to women's bodies. Since women usually won't go along with this strategy, men also have the first one.

The first strategy, Find a Good Mate, is not the same for men as it is for women, because even there men are still looking for attractiveness more than women are. A woman can have a child with a man who is 20, 40, even 60 years old or older. A man must find a woman who is young enough to still have children. Nature has to see to it that even the most dimwitted ignorant caveman can successfully spot a fertile woman, and it does so by focusing his interest once again on women's bodies. Attractive = young = fertile = good mate. In addition, a man can pretty much count on the fact that his potential mate is going to stick around and try to raise her own children, since all women are following their own Find a Good Mate strategy, so he doesn't have to worry quite so much about her personality characteristics.

In our society, men are so fixated on women's looks and communicate so strongly their own viewpoint of the incredible attractiveness of women's bodies that women themselves have accepted the male viewpoint that women are attractive and men are not. There have been other societies in the past, and I'm thinking of ancient greek and roman societies, where men were considered more attractive than women.

Any thoughts on this?

Of course I have thoughts! I have thoughts on everything! Just about. And so we'll address these vitally important topics relating to the ever-popular sexes men and women by means of a) first spewing out some random thoughts in a gentle yet charming manner; and then b) talking about sex, mating strategies, evolution, men and women, and also sex. That will be lots of fun! Let's get started.

Random Thought #1: That was an unusually coherent rant for a reader of Are you sure you're okay? Perhaps you're not surfing the web enough. Sufficient exposure to the World Wide Web (as we like to call it here) usually results in enough brain damage to make composing complete sentences seem like a ridiculously difficult waste of time! If you are surfing the web regularly and yet your brain is still not this damaged, may I suggest you combine web-surfing with the intake of large quantities of alcohol. That should solve your coherence problem in no time!

Random Thought #2: I didn't think I'd get away with 'men ugly, women poor' forever and lo and behold I didn't! I composed that answer for the primary purpose of cracking myself the hell up and in that endeavor I succeeded admirably. But I suspected that some alert reader would take issue with it eventually. And now you have.

All right, that's enough introductory random thoughts. Let's dive into the meat of your comments.

Your Comments #1 and My Random Thoughts #3 before Devoting this Page Wholeheartedly to Just Talking About the Sexual Strategies of Humans:

"The idea that women are better looking than men is just silly."

It isn't really. And in spite of the fact that a great many jokes are devoted to the subject of women, beauty, ugliness, and other hilarious shit, underneath it all, nobody's laughing because it's serious business. I haven't read a great deal of research on this subject, but I have devotedly perused what I have found and it appears that -- normal people think women are better looking than men. By normal people in this case we mean people who are a) alive; b) have eyesight; and c) live somewhere on the globe.

This includes rich people and poor people, people with education and people who have never even heard of education, people in modern fast-paced cultures with lots of cell phones and people who live on remote islands who refer to the 'evil spirits of the sea' and shit like that. In fact, not only do people everywhere, in every culture, seem to think that young women are better to look at than just about any human thing except their own children, but they also think that men get significantly better-looking the more they look like women!

This has to do with things like eye size. Women have proportionally larger eyes than men (hence eye shadow, mascara and other cues that women use to let men know - hey I have big eyes! I'm a woman, you doofus!). Men who have larger eyes than your average Joe are judged as more attractive and handsome by people everywhere who can see. This is why a fair number of you guys out there should be wearing eye liner (not all of you), and it is in no way my fault that most of you aren't and probably aren't going to. I'm dispensing this handy handsome-enhancing advice for free and most of you aren't following it.

There are other differences between men and women in the relative proportions of the face and in skin texture and so on. Men who look more like women in these proportions look better than guys who don't! The standards of beauty at this point appear to be universal (and perhaps hard-wired), not cultural, although the standards of fashion are obviously another story altogether. You don't have to be sexually attracted to a beautiful person to recognize that they are one; in fact, you may very well not be. Hetereosexual men are not particularly sexually attracted to good-looking guys but they recognize them. Heterosexual women are not particularly attracted to good-looking women but they can recognize them.

Even men recognize that men who look too much like men don't look good. Some researchers theorize that this is because a feminized male face gives onlookers the impression that the person who has it is less likely to be suddenly overcome by an excessively testosterone-fueled desire to beat the living shit out of them until they're dead and then take all the stuff they had managed to accumulate before they got the living shit beat out of them and died. This is an important consideration in choosing one's companions!

Now does this actually have an effect on human life? Maybe. People of both sexes around the world judge the looks of potential mates before they judge anything else. This is not hard to understand since hey! it's easy to do. As you note, it doesn't take a college degree to see whether or not someone is good-looking, your brain apparently knows it automatically. Women often devote a great deal of discussion to men's looks when discussing attraction among themselves and most definitely consider it a favorable characteristic. One of the words women use to describe a good-looking man, particularly a young one is 'cute'. 'Cute' is a diabolical code word for 'looks like he would not inflict harm.' Really it is. So in real life, and casual conversation, women do actually devote a fair amount of time to analyzing a man's facial features to determine whether or not he looks scary or dangerous, scouting the face of the man in question for potential clues that he is not interested in beating the fuck out of them.

Male features that swing heavily towards the male end of the Facial Proportion Scale (such as a very heavy brow ridge and so on) seemingly tend to be associated in onlookers' minds with things like 'aggression' and 'stupidity'. The aggression/stupidity combo makes everyone wary. This is the 'You look like a fucking Neanderthal for chrissakes, at least fucking shave and get a haircut or something' Effect.

People don't necessarily do this on purpose of course - almost no one gets out a ruler and measures the facial proportions of the people they meet or see in photographs. And they don't necessarily know they are doing it either. But they do know they are doing it. People around the world make up myths like Beauty and the Beast & Frankenstein because it's the Universal Story Of That Poor Ugly Guy Who Looked Like A Fucking Aggressive And Stupid Neanderthal But It Turns Out Inside He Wasn't Really, At Least Not Totally. People know that facial proportions and heavily male facial characteristics are not always necessarily proof that you should be wary, suspicious, & uncomfortable around such a person even if you are secretly convinced the person who has them is aggressive and stupid - but they are anyway. Ugliness isn't really fair - and people know this - but they're scared of it anyway.

Women whose facial proportions are more like those of men - judged unattractive. Women who look an awful lot like women - more attractive. The vote is in - worldwide - women are better-looking than men! The reason this isn't silly is because it has a big impact on people's lives and everyone knows this. I'll repeat the obvious (again) - rich and good-looking is more fun than poor and ugly!

If you want a scientifically accurate rendering of a good-looking man, study a picture of Johnny Depp. In fact, in the name of Serious Scientific Research, I think I'll do that right now!

Okay, yup, close observation confirms it. This particular man's facial proportions come close to the feminine ideal. This means that this individual can scowl, sneer, spit, or wear eyeliner and he will still be good-looking! It's in the proportions. (Won't we all be surprised when he beats the living shit out of us and takes our stuff anyway? Hah, hah, joke's on us.) Now you can hate Mr. Depp for this if you like. I suspect he hates himself for it. You can be furious at human nature for this if you like. Some people are. Knock yourself out. But that's the way it is. People who look like women look better.

Which bring us, accidentally, to the Greeks. I'm not qualified to comment on the Romans, thank goodness, which means I don't have to. I'm not really qualified to comment on the ancient Greeks, either, but what the hell. The artwork I've seen from that era (statues and vases and shit like that) indicate that the ancient Greeks used the same basic system.

Men who looked like women were immortalized in stone (look at the pictures, mon), had praises sung to their name, and apparently had the advantage (if you choose to look at it that way) of being fucked by old ugly guys who could afford to pay for it. In other words, the cultural practice of honoring homosexual sex between ugly old guys (many of them bald from the other artwork I've seen) and young men who looked a lot like women had an effect on who had artwork and squirrely myths dedicated to them. The default setting for sexual attractivenes is feminine and if you are going to have sex with men, it's the feminized ones who do the attracting.

It's possible, I suppose, that the general ancient Greek population of men was better-looking than average, and the general population of ancient Greek women was uglier than average. It's possible. I'm not going to rule it out. Maybe the men looked like women and the women looked like men. I suspect however, that ugly old rich elite guys culled the good-looking male people from the male population and left the average ugly ones alone. Most people, most of the time, probably went with the basic default setting of hey, you're a woman, I'm a man, let's reproduce! And they did this under the radar of the whole 'Narcisssus, you are such a good-looking man I could fall in love with you!' cultural tradition.

Greeks certainly understood that women could be beautiful since the face that launched a thousand ships was female. And horny God of all horny Gods, Zeus, was more than willing to get it on with just about every female he spotted, apparently under the impression that they were damn good-looking if the myths are to be believed. And the Greek goddess of beauty, Aphrodite, was a goddess. And the Roman goddess of beauty, Venus, was a goddess also. Apparently the Greeks were just willing to scout out female beauty in men also! Chalk it up to broad-mindedness, an over-concern with how people looked, utter gayness, or to whatever the hell else you want to chalk it up to.

Now...all that said...are the researchers really right? Is the underlying fear of Neanderthals at least partly to blame for the apparently universal human preference for feminized facial proportions? Do they have their own cultural biases? Did they skew the results by slipping in some pictures of Heidi Klum amongst the photos and computer-generated renderings of regular people they were forcing poor Maori test subjects to look at while giving biased social cues such 'hey, she's sure hot, isn't she? Whaddaya think?' thereby hopelessly compromising the objectivity of their research?

Well, sure, probably, at least to a certain extent. It's probably wise not to take this kind of shit at face value (hah! hah! face value, get it? Get it? Oh all right, I'll settle down now.) But on the other hand, it's really not fair, or even wise, to chalk this up entirely to pernicious social and cultural programming. Our old friend, evolution, probably is at work here. People probably do make unconscious judgments on the basis of facial proportions. (I know I do! It's fun!) The question isn't really whether women are better-looking than men (in the eyes of humans anyway) - they just are. The question is how did evolution convince them to get that way?


So what has evolution been doing to make women so damn physically attractive....


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