Friday, January 2, 2009

Anthropologists Check Out Ladybutts

At least, that's how they do it in Utah. Seriously. do you spend a lot of time worrying about a lady's waist-to-hip ratio? Because anthropologists in Utah do. But they're a little hung up on reality versus fantasy.

First, they state that men prefer a hip-to-waist ratio of 0.7 when selecting a mate (which "makes perfect sense, according to evolutionary psychologists"). Then they note that the average waist-to-hip ratio for women is higher than 0.8. Dedicated couch potato that I am, this is the part where I'd say "Men want what they can't have, end of story."

But the anthropologists at the University of Utah wouldn't let it rest there. Instead, they've released this study declaring that the larger-than-desired ratios are actually desired in some parts of the world. According to them, narrow waists and wide hips show a predominance of estrogen, making for more dependent women who need to be provided for. Wider waists are associated with an increased level of androgens, meaning that the women are more assertive, dominant, and willing to take initiative. Then they go on to say that in cultures that value submissive women (like Greece, Japan, and Portugal), men prefer their women to have narrow waists (and so they try to make themselves that way), but some cultures value women who can fend for themselves and their women are correspondingly wide of waist.

Honestly, does anyone really work that way? I mean, aside from sitcoms where the guy's mother makes some crack about his girlfriend's "child-bearing hips," are there people out there who are evaluating the waist-to-hip ratio of women and basing their decision to get involved in a relationship with them solely on that information?

In completely unrelated news, check back this afternoon! I'm rolling out an entirely new series for this site, and I'm very excited about it. The first installment goes up later today.

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The header image is adapted from a photo taken by Bill McChesney and used under a creative commons license.
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