There’s an interesting series of studies just released that found women are evolving to look more attractive. But that’s not the only interesting thing they found.
The studies conducted by the University of Helsinki focused on reproductive success and physical attractiveness. It’s worth noting that these studies took place in the U.S. following 1,244 women and 997 men over the course of 40 years.
Similar results have been found in studies done by evolutionary psychologist Satoshi Kanazawa at the London School of Economics as well as the U.S. government’s Longitudinal Study of Adolescent Health.
Attractive Women on the Rise
All this isn’t so surprising to me since I originally majored in anthropology – which of course makes me an expert on evolution. Procreating and spreading your seed is one of our strongest primal instincts. And just like many breeds of male birds, women are evolving to attract the opposite sex with a display of beautiful plumage.
Also not surprising is the finding that attractive women have more children than plain Janes. Kind of goes hand in hand with why women are are getting better looking. However, there was one finding that was quite surprising.
Attractive women, attractive couples really, are more likely to have females than males. No true 50/50 shot here. Additionally, these females in turn are more likely to carry the attractive genes than their male counterparts. It’s fairly significant considering good looking people are 26% less likely to have boys. Here’s how Kanazawa put it:
“Physical attractiveness is a highly heritable trait, which disproportionately increases the reproductive success of daughters much more than that of sons.
“If more attractive parents have more daughters and if physical attractiveness is heritable, it logically follows that women over many generations gradually become more physically attractive on average than men.”
Yeah, Guys Aren’t Getting Any More Attractive
Does this evolutionary divide mean women have lower standards when it comes to looks? In some cases yes, but as a whole it just means that we value other attributes above attractiveness unlike men. Research suggests women value a man who’s a good provider – real shocker there, huh.
It seems attractive women and successful men go hand-in-hand. Something we’ve been witnessing and taking note of for years without needing a formal 40 study to point it out.
What Does This Say About Us as a Society?
Remember these studies were analyzing Americans. Though it’s great ladies are looking better and better, it does put a spotlight on ideology that some say have been holding women back for generations. Namely, that women are valued more for their looks than their brains.
Case in point – Sarah Palin
Now it’s been scientifically proven. However, considering the great strides that women have made in recent years after gaining near equality, it will be interesting to see if the evolutionary trend continues. Now that more women are becoming the bread winners in their families will men start looking better?
More importantly, does this mean smart, attractive women are the epitome of evolution?