While beauty is a subjective concept, evolutionarily, we remain slaves to the biology of our ancestors. Those that had the most adaptable characteristics survived more and, therefore, reproduced more, lasting these traits of success in their offspring.
This scheme, which is the basis of the theory of Darwinian evolution, sometimes encounters pitfalls. A surprise that we did not expect is the conclusion reached by a study prepared by the Institute of Neuroscience and Psychology of the University of Galsgow, which states that, precisely, the most masculine features are not the ones that attract women the most. At least, for a long-term relationship.
Although we may think that typically masculine features, with a prominent jaw, marked superciliary arch and protruding cheekbones, are the most attractive, the fact is that the softer and softer profiles are more attractive for women when choosing a partner with the one to commit.
The primary objective of the study was to analyze how sex hormones influence women’s preferences for the faces of men. So far, it is the largest study that has dealt with this issue, collecting 50 photos of young Caucasian men. During the experiment, the scientists produced two versions of each of these photographs: one adjusting the most typically feminine traits and the other, accentuating typical masculine traits.
The scientists asked nearly 600 heterosexual women to look at these photos and rate the attractiveness of men for two types of relationships: an adventure and a long-term relationship. The women also provided saliva samples, which the researchers analyzed to detect sex hormones such as estradiol and testosterone.
In the test of attractiveness for a long-term relationship, women were told the following: “You are looking for the kind of man that would be attractive for a long-term relationship, for example, someone to move with, a partner with the one to live, and someone with whom, in a given moment, to marry or to commit”.
At the same time, in the test of attractiveness for a short-term relationship, the women had the following instructions: “You are looking for the kind of attractive man for a sexual adventure, which may not last very long. Limited time or a single night”.
Surprisingly, the traits evaluated as more attractive for long-term relationships were the most feminine; instead, the typically male ones were mostly chosen for a sporadic adventure.
In addition, hormone levels were not significantly related to women’s preference for manly faces for a long-term relationship.
The researchers also found no evidence that women who use the contraceptive pill prefer more feminine faces, as had been suggested at the beginning of the study.
The research can be read in a publication prior to the official publication, in the absence of peer review, a step before publication in a scientific journal.
Reproduction, yes. Attachment, no.
Women did prefer typically male faces, but only for a sexual adventure or short-term relationship.
This could be because manly features, such as a large jaw and protruding cheekbones, indicate good hereditary characteristics, such as a strong immune system. Desirable characteristics for sexual reproduction, although not so much to establish an attachment relationship with which to raise possible offspring.
What’s more, typically male traits have been linked to people who are less willing to invest time in personal relationships, as scientists claim.