03 July 2010

I Have Had It With Evolutionary Psychology

So, this research is getting some press.  Apparently, some evolutionary psychologists (the study of generating evolutionary justification for the status quo) found out that men found the faces of women with smaller feet, narrower hips, etc relative to their height more attractive than their larger-boned counterparts.  And this obviously has something to do with our savannah ancestors and males spreading their seed rather than cultural constructs of femininity, even though clearly the first steps in making the argument that such a preference is evolved would be demonstrating that it is not dependent on culture, that we know what we think we do about, say, symmetry, evolutionary fitness and beauty, and also that their results are not some weird effect of averaging faces.  Which I'm pretty sure that testing fewer than 100 undergraduate males does not do adequately.  But who am I kidding?  This is probably way more thought than the researchers put into designing the study, which I'm pretty sure consisted of this:

"You know what I can't stand?  A big-footed woman."
"Me too, man.  Me too."
"Well, it must be evolutionary.  Otherwise we're just assholes."


Anonymous said...

My size 11 feet hate those bastards.

Auntie Maim said...

I know, mine too. I contend that it's all an elaborate sour-grapes response to being deeply unattractive themselves. My husband's comment was, "Did they consider how much more getting a *big* boot in the ass would hurt?"

Cari, aka size 9, bitches! said...

I don't know why you would doubt the veracity of a study in which women look at pictures of men with ghostly hairy outlines and guess which one is more interested in a long-term relationship. That seems totally valid to me.

(I'd like to point out, though, that the study says the women had "unusually" large or small feet. If you're 5'11", size 11 feet isn't unusually large. If you were my height, or shorter, your feet would be huge. As it is, they're proportionate to your frame... and your pretty face. Awwwww.)

Auntie Maim said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Auntie Maim said...

Aw, thanks!!! I do think you're right that to point out the proportionality aspect -- what they may be capturing is skeletal gracility, which reads visually as femininity, which may dominate a college-aged straight dude's snap decision of which of two images is more attractive. I mean, if you're a straight dude, the one you'd rather "mate with" is the one you're most confident is a lady, right?

I wondered if the results would be different if there were a slider for preference instead of (apparently) a binary choice. And also wondered whether the creepy effect of hair morphing skewed the results (the "less attractive" female morph shown in the article has a weird hair cloud going on a bit too).

Cari, aka Fertile and thus sexy, according to waist-hip ratio! said...

Someone in the comments of the article, which I read after I posted my previous comment, pointed out that the left-hand photo was always the more attractive one (in the examples we were shown) and it was always the better quality image.

I get the *idea* of ev psych, I see what they're trying to do, and yet all they're doing is fueling women's mag sales and giving people complexes. Whether some random college-age straight dude wants, on sight, to bang a girl with similar qualities to you should not affect your self-worth. And yet, every time I see one of those articles, I click on it, like, "Has science finally proved I'm attractive? Take that, people who've rejected me!"

Auntie Maim said...

Ha ha! Yeah, for all I scoff at it, I still keep reading the articles to find out whether I'm scientifically attractive or not. Damn you, Ev Psych!