Wednesday, November 12, 2014

What is a "perfect body" for a woman?

The MailOnline (UK) ran an article about some women pushing back against a Victoria's Secret ad that glorifies anorexic looking girls

This is what "real" people look like.

The Madison Avenue, junk culture idea of female perfection.
Anthropologists tell us that two factors combine to form each culture's image of the "ideal woman".  Those factors include optimum fertility and wealth markers.

Some markers of fertility transcend cultures.  There is a sweet-spot for the ratios of various hormones.  That "presents" as ratio of hip-to-waist and the presence of bosoms.  Goddesses never look like prepubescent boys.

Some some markers vary by environment.  There are places in the world that are subject to famines, or where intestinal parasites are ubiquitous or where people are commonly exposed to the stresses of cold and or wetness.  The "ideal woman" in those cultures carry additional body fat.  Those rail-skinny girls in the Victoria's Secret ad would become skeletons during the next dry spell, or they have worms or will die of exposure, thereby making them unfit to be a stewards of your genetic legacy.

Markers of wealth can include no suntan (does not have to work in the field), or very short feet, or the facial features and hair of the dominant (wealthiest) segment of the culture.  Historically, wealth was static.  Farm fields stayed within the family.  Tribes defended every oasis.  Only family was trusted to guard the flocks or herds as animals are vulnerable to both theft and predation.

Marrying into a family with resources ensured that your children had a better chance of surviving into adulthood and would be able to take care of you in your old age.

Things are more chaotic today.

A person with exceptionally low levels of body fat might be an athlete, or that might be their genetic fate....or they might be extremely neurotic. 

Most guys want a healthy partner.  That includes both mentally and physically healthy.  A healthy partner is more likely to conceive babies, if that is on the agenda (and often, it is not).  A healthy person can give back to the relationship.  A healthy partner and can carry more than their fair share during those inevitable times when stuff-happens.

Yeah, most young guys are competitive and their girl friend is more about impressing their buddies than about the human being on the other side of the pretty face.  Most of us grow out of that phase.  We want a balanced woman, not a coat hanger.

One final observation:  

Most people add weight as they age.  Before the age of "Super-size me" low body fat was a reliable marker of a human who had finished growing their frame (bones) but had yet to finish growing their muscles and adipose tissues.

At one time it may have made biological sense to marry a fourteen year old girl.  Lives were short.  Infant and maternal mortality was brutal.  And as discussed earlier, "beauty" is what makes biological sense given the culture and the environment. 

So the standard of women with hip bones so sharp that they will cut you may have morphed from the archaic, vestigial  standard of the ideal, fourteen year old, virgin bride.  In other words, a form of pedophilia fantasy

Gratuitous picture of a healthy woman

Water color by artist Steven Hanks

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