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Another scientific experiment demonstrates that beauty is not in the eye of the beholder. Or, in this case, not even in the blind eye of the beholder. Fat feminists weep bitter tears. Naomi Wolf tosses her useless credentials in the garbage. Beauty is, as I’ve been saying since day 1 on this blog, universal and objective. Men pretty much desire the same shape and weight of women around the world.
The NY0.98WHRTimes has an article about a Dutch psychologist who drove around the country in a van with two female mannequins with adjustable waist to hip ratios. (Hat tip: Cannon’s Canon.) He stopped at the residences of blind men and had them fondle the mannequins with their hands (no walking sticks allowed).
The headless mannequins, which Karremans bought, he told me recently, “on the Dutch version of Craigslist,” have adjustable waists and hips, and the researchers set each body differently, so that one had a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.7 and the other of 0.84. Based on a range of studies of male preferences done by other scientists, Karremans chose the lower ratio as an ideal, a slim yet curvy paragon, at least among Western populations. The higher ratio, by contrast, doesn’t represent obesity, just a fullness that falls close to the average woman’s shape.
The study involved men who had been sightless from birth. The idea was that the bombardment of visual media — of models on billboards and actresses on television and porn stars online — which may be so powerful and even dominant in molding desire, couldn’t have had any direct effect on these men, who emerged from the womb into a congenital dark. Would their tastes in women’s bodies match those of men who could see? How would their preferences reflect on the roles of nature and nurture, on the influence of evolution and the impact of experience, in forming our psyches?
[…] Karremans sent his mannequins around the Netherlands. The blind stood before them; they were told to touch the women, to focus their hands on the waists and hips. The breasts on both figures were the same, in case the men reached too high. The men extended their arms; they ran their hands over the region. Then they scored the attractiveness of the bodies. Karremans had a hunch, he told me, that their ratings wouldn’t match those of the sighted men he used as controls, half of them blindfolded so that they, too, would be judging by feel. It seemed likely, he said, that visual culture would play an overwhelming part in creating the outlines of lust. And though the blind had almost surely grown up hearing attractiveness described, perhaps even in terms of hourglass shapes, it was improbable, he writes in his forthcoming journal paper, that they had heard descriptions amounting to, “The more hourglass shaped, the more attractive,” which would be necessary to favor the curvier mannequin over the figure that was only somewhat less so.
[…] But, with some statistically insignificant variation, the scores of the blind matched those of the sighted. Both groups preferred the more pronounced sweep from waist to hip. One possible explanation emphasizes the sense of smell — though the mannequins wore no perfume. By this line of thinking, certain ratios of hormones and their metabolites in the female body are associated with biological advantage, as well as with particular pheromonal scents and low W.H.R.’s. The male begins life wired, through the influence of evolution, to favor these odors and then learns, mostly through unconscious experience, to connect the cues of smell to the proportions of waist and hip. He makes this connection through sight if he can see and by touch if he can’t.
The case against the “beauty is subjective and therefore perception of it by randy men is malleable; so rejoice!, hope remains that fat feminist craps and aging broads can find love just as easily as hot, slender 21 year old babes” just gets stronger with each experiment. But I’m sure the pretty lie platoon will find a way to dismiss this study. Maybe they’ll accuse men blind since birth of being influenced by patriarchal norms in Braille.
The author of the article throws the obligatory bone to the femdork crowd, but it’s a weak, brittle bone indeed:
The explanation may be more elusive than this simple logic. And the study’s implications about nature and nurture are far from straightforward. Karremans’s findings don’t rule out the sway of culture, not at all. If experience played no role in etching our preferences, there would be scarcely any diversity of lust; we would all be drawn to the same forms.
False inference. There could certainly continue to be “diversity of lust” without experience playing any role. For instance, people may be genetically primed from birth to appreciate better the beauty of others of their own race. Or there may be a hardwired preference for hair color. If the last twenty years of psychosocial research shows us anything, it’s that you’d be on firmer ground biasing hypotheses in favor of the genetic cause of behavior instead of the cultural conditioning cause.
One nuance in the study’s data points to this complexity: sighted and blind men both strongly favored the mannequin with the lower W.H.R., but this slimmer-waisted body received especially high scores from the men with sight, maybe because a life spent amid cultural signals compounds the work of evolution. Still, the gropings of Karremans’s blind offer a glimpse into the ancestral depths of our desires.
Or it could be that touching an optimal 0.7 WHR woman combined with seeing a 0.7 WHR woman produces a positive feedback loop that jacks up the “OMG I’m so horny!” limbic system reflex in men. I like banging in the dark, but when the lights are on and I can see the pussy lips parting in response to my meaty intrusion, the pleasure is magnified. If I was handed a checklist during sex, I’d score my lover higher while under the visual influence of glistening, crimson labia.
It’s really amazing when you stop to think about it that blind men who have never once in their lives seen a female body still rate as most attractive the same 0.7 WHR female body type as do normally sighted men. The inborn biological basis of sexual desire is so fundamental — so resistant to cultural influence — that every sense is brought into play in ensuring that men make the right choice for the propagation of their genes; which, in nearly all cases, is going to result in men choosing the same slender babe archetype when such a choice is possible, no matter where in the world a man lives or how many times his mom embarrassed him in front of his friends when he was a teenager. I’ve no doubt that a blind and deaf man who has lost his hands will compensate with a bloodhound’s nose for sniffing out a 0.7 WHR from twelve parsecs.
This blog post brought to you by Tick Tock, Inc., in collaboration with generous funding from the What Part Of No Fat Chicks Don’t You Understand Foundation.