January 03, 2005
Do Men Want Dumber Women As Mates Or Are Smart Women Too Choosy?

Social scientists at the universities of Aberdeen, Bristol, Edinburgh and Glasgow in Britain tested the IQs of 900 boys and girls at the age of 11 and then checked on their rates of marriage 40 years later. They found that higher IQ increases the chances a man will marry but high IQ causes an even greater decrease in the chances that a woman will marry. (same article here)

“The finding that IQ in early life appears to be associated with the likelihood to marry is important because factors in childhood may determine a person’s marital status in adulthood, which may in turn influence future health and mortality,” says the study, to appear in the Journal of Personality and Individual Differences.

For boys, there is a 35% increase in the likelihood of marriage for each 16-point rise in IQ. For girls, there is a 40% drop for each 16-point increase.

One possible cause of this result is that many smarter women find it beneath them to be wives. Or perhaps they are too choosy in wanting higher status men whereas the men are not as choosy about status of females and hence can find a suitable mate from a much larger pool of women. Men are more driven to seek physical beauty and youth as a result of selective pressures to seek fertile mates. Whereas natural selection favored a female preference for higher status men as better providers.

For the lower status and less intelligent women the smart successful men (and smart men are more successful on average) look like great catches that allow the women to move up in status and in creature comforts. They might also see smarter men as likely to treat them more thoughtfully (at least on average - though there are smart and callous men of course).

Another possible cause in the reduction in marriage rates for higher IQ women is that they spend more time in school than lower IQ women and therefore delay marriage past the point of their maximum attractiveness and maximum fertility. This is certainly consistent with a study on the Australian Twins Registry found that higher education reduces reproductive fitness of women. It would be interesting to look at the women in the most recent study to see if higher IQ still lowered marriage rates once educational attainment was adjusted for.

Go back and read the comments of my previous post Men Prefer Subordinate Women For Long Term Relationships. Note that some people really took issue when I advanced the argument that smarter women are at a disadvantage in finding a mate. Here is social science data that really proves the common intuition. Anyone still want to dispute this argument?

Here is what I want to know: Are genes for higher IQ being selected against? If smarter men are marrying more are they having more kids to compensate for the fact that smarter women are having fewer kids? My guess is that there is a net dysgenic effect. However, in America there is one higher IQ group that has a higher fertility rate: Higher income Republicans have more children than lower income Republicans and various groups of Democrats. So the selective pressures on genes for IQ are hard to tease out. We need cheap DNA sequencing which will probably come along in 5 to 10 years and settle this question.

Share |      Randall Parker, 2005 January 03 02:18 PM  Human Mating

Mr. Econotarian said at January 3, 2005 3:22 PM:

Regardless of whether high-IQ is being selected against, IQ (on average) continues to rise in developed countries, most probably due to increased nutrition, health, and early mental stimulation.

Marvin said at January 3, 2005 5:19 PM:

It is likely that many high IQ women choose the career path--they make the choice for themselves. If they are at a disadvantage, perhaps they place themselves at a disadvantage by:

1. Only being willing to "marry up" in income and social status.
2. Pursue a career during the child-bearing years, then try to play "catch-up" after it's too late.
3. High IQ women may be more likely to adopt the concept of hyper-independence for women, which makes it more difficult to learn the sort of accomodation often necessary for a successful marriage.
4. There is a universal disrespect and disdain toward men among feminists. Many high-IQ women are drawn toward the feminist doctrine while in universities. By the time they grow out of it, their child bearing years are over.
5. Many high IQ women that I have dated needed to be taught how to be intimate. Perhaps they come to intimacy later than most women, but such discomfort in intimacy is often reflected in clumsiness in dealing with "approach" type behavior, or flirting. They may unintentionally turn off many men.

p said at January 3, 2005 6:03 PM:

Here we go again. The stats on men as well as women married at the top and at the bottom are not meaningfully different. I also would like to see that stats. The 35% increase chance per 16 points is likely not meaningfull to extrapolate upon. The range in IQ for humans, even for Brits, cannot support much more variability than a couple of points. While the Times article has nice stories, I'm not sure what we can infer from this study.

Randall Parker said at January 3, 2005 6:42 PM:


How can you say "The 35% increase chance per 16 points is likely not meaningfull to extrapolate upon.". That is a huge increase in chance from just 16 IQ points difference.

1 standard deviation in IQ below the mean is at the 16th percentile and 1 SD above the mean is at the 84th percentile. So how many IQ points difference is there between 1 SD above or below the mean and the mean itself? About 15. So the IQ gap between the 16 and 84th percentile is 30 IQ points. So the report that a 16 point IQ difference is enough to produce a 35% to 40% difference in marriage rates means that, yes, out in the general population there are huge differences in marriage rates due to commonly occurring differences in measured IQs.

catzmeow said at January 4, 2005 10:53 AM:

I think that there are two issues that might play into this. First, I think a certain percentage of men are threatened by smart women and likely wouldn't marry one. Second, I think that smart women have a greater range of options outside of marriage and can afford to be choosier in selecting a spouse.


Alessandra said at January 4, 2005 1:37 PM:

“IQ measurements are frightfully judgmental, but it is true that men do not want women more intelligent than themselves. It bolsters their position if their partner is not too challenging.”

How many out of your 10 most intelligent male friends fall into the above category? (you can include yourself in the question if you want). It doesnīt take a study to show that this is true of most men, although itīs good that they have done the study. There are a minority of men who make great partners to women who are more intelligent than them, and these men are not the reverse of the dumb blonde type, they are also intelligent, but they are still a minority.

Men are still very socialized in the cave man/patriarchal model, although it keeps morphing into different variations.

Alessandra said at January 4, 2005 1:48 PM:

"Men are more driven to seek physical beauty and youth as a result of selective pressures to seek fertile mates."

As a result of a lot of sexism is a more accurate explanation. If the fanaticism with a neurotic stereotype of youth beauty for women were related to a fertility quest, a huge number of divorced men aged 50 and up who donīt want to have any more kids wouldnīt look for much younger women as mates.

On a related note, Iīve been wanting to do research on menīs mentalities regarding the age of women for relationships.
For example, take many guys who are 35, ask them what changes relationship-wise if he is with a woman who is 25, 30, 35, 40, 45.

Alessandra said at January 4, 2005 2:15 PM:

"In conversations brighter women may do better at raising the interest of men. They can be funnier and do a better job of picking up on cues about interests."

Re this other remark you made, I disagree. A lot of very intelligent people are not funny (that goes for both sexes). The ability to "pick up cues about interests" has little to do with IQ, itīs in the emotional intelligence arena.

I think nowadays, only men who are intelligent AND very supportive of womenīs advancement, will consider a very intelligent woman as a partner. A not very intelligent guy will never want a more intelligent woman for a partner, because, although he may not have a high IQ, he will not put up with the subordination that less intelligent women gladly are conditioned into accepting in the reverse picture.

Also, there is a lot of paternalism built in how many men relate to women but not the reverse. For example, if a not very intelligent woman, who is a nice kind of person, shows she has some very stupid views on a subject, the more intelligent man may think, "Well, she is still cute and nice, so I am satisfied." An intelligent woman in the reverse picture, would probably think, "What a stupid guy, I get no satisfaction from this."

Also, I havenīt seen any studies, but from life experience I have observed that men are much, much more intollerant at being shown that they are wrong on any subject than women, in a mating context. A conversation between an intelligent woman with a not very intelligent man will undoubtedly run into several of these situations quickly and will usually ruin any chances for any developments.

Randall Parker said at January 4, 2005 3:00 PM:


You say about my comment about how men are attracted to women who are young and pretty:

As a result of a lot of sexism is a more accurate explanation.

No, you are completely wrong. Do not believe the Leftists who deny that human nature is a product of Darwinian natural selection. Male desires are a product of evolution, not patriarchal manipulation by other males, not TV advertisement images, not parental upbringing, not silly teachings in school. It is ideological nuttiness to deny this, it is so obvious.

There is no benefit to women from denying the truth. The problems that result from reality can not be better managed by denying their causes. Human nature as a product of evolution has got to be accepted in order to be able to understand and deal with the consequences. Sexuality is too important in reproduction to be anything other than a product of our genes,

Men are socialized into a caveman patriarchal model? By who? Their mothers?

Look, men want to dominate. More masculine men want to do so more strongly. You can find less masculine men who have less a drive to do so. But your problem with men is a result of what they innately are wired up to be like. They want young women. They are attracted to signs of female fertility such as oily skin, big breasts, curves, youthful hair and the like. Telling them that they have been socialized into it just annoys them and deceives yourself. Most won't tell you that. Why should they? You are just going to give them abuse in response. A chorus of voices that agree with you might make you feel less alone. It might make a lot of men to silent on the subject or give totally insincere agreement. But it is not changing men to make the more like you want them to be. Feminists are fantasizing if they believe otherwise.

Shannon Love said at January 4, 2005 3:03 PM:

I think that IQ is just a proxy for status in this case.

It has long been observed that rising status increases the pool of potential mates for males but shrinks it for females. Males seek out mates of equal or lesser social status whereas females seek out mates of equal or greater status. Social status is a powerful factor in a females assessment of male attractiveness.

I recall reading a study back in college that correlated a woman's income from inheritance with her likelihood to marry. The more money she inherited, the less likely she was to marry. Other studies have measured how woman gauge the attractiveness of males as potential mates and found that women find men of perceived equal or higher status as the woman herself more attractive than those of perceived lesser status.

p said at January 4, 2005 7:41 PM:


First, your comment: Note that some people really took issue when I advanced the argument that smarter women are at a disadvantage in finding a mate. Here is social science data that really proves the common intuition. Anyone still want to dispute this argument?

This inference is simply false. The correct inference is that high IQ women do not marry at the same rate as high IQ men (if you beleiev the data is generalizable). Finding a mate is another question. You are confounding finding a mate with desire to marry. You are also employing a social construct as a definition for mating. That sounds like a “nurture” argument to me.

Next, I am not saying that the 16 points is not significant. It clearly is Very significant effect. What I am saying it is too large to justify a simple linear extrapolation (In my opinion, the sample size of 900 limits inferences beyond the 1st sd which is just - assuming Probale Error distrubution logic). I also have reservations about the relationship (extroplation range) given that it appears that the dependent variable is binary (M vs NM) and there is a "continuous" independent variable (IQ). The 35% to 16 point logic can be technically correct but bound in interpretation. In addition, the snippet in the article ("They found 88% of 40-year-old men in the top socioeconomic class were married, compared with 80% in the lowest class. Among women aged 40 the trend is reversed. The researchers found that 82% of the top class were wed, compared with 86% in the lowest class.") raises a real question over the range of valid extrapolation. There is a less than 10% difference in marriages both across and between (one positive and the other negative).

A more significant problem is that we have not explained the cause (at best a we have identified a relationship between IQ and marriage). All the conjecture in the Time article as well as the thread do not speak to the data or experiment. The comments that one can rule out "nurture" explanations is completely false. As a matter of fact the best explanation once we view differences in attitudes contained in the survey may be "nurture".

Randall Parker said at January 5, 2005 1:40 AM:

As for "finding a mate": I'm using common parlance for finding someone to marry and have kids. Of course not all people who marry have kids or vice versa. But the correlation between the two behaviors is farily high among whites in most Western countries still. White women (and these British were probably close to all white given the start of the study) are far less likely to have children if they are not married.

A desire to marry: A lot of women do not think they can find a suitable man (and suitable includes expectations about status) to marry to have kids with. That, to them, is finding a mate. There are lots (millions) of desperate women in their 30s who hear their biological clocks ticking and who can't find a willing man who they deem minimally acceptable for marriage.

Nature versus nurture and the desire to marry: Well certainly a woman's desire for the man to stick around and help raise the kids is typically both genetic and social. A woman can intellectually understand the advantage of having the man stick around while at the same time have instinctive urges to find a man who wants to stick around. She can want marriage for long term love to feel more emotionally satisfied. So it can seem like a consciously arrived at goal. But the wiring of the mind that makes the desire for the emotional bond is something that was put in place by natural selection.

Differences in attitudes: Men and women have different reproductive strategies. The causes of those strategies are obvious and those differences in strategies are seen in many other species which do not have methods of nurturing or cognitive capacities that would allow passing down complex social beliefs.

Has anything been absolutely proved by this latest study by itself? No. But if you look at it and at what else we know about human nature at this point I think some conclusions can be drawn with a high degree of confidence. I'm looking at this from the standpoint of natural selection. Surely being a high IQ woman in today's society makes a woman less reproductively fit while the opposite might be the case with men.

Alessandra said at January 5, 2005 1:54 AM:

"Men are socialized into a caveman patriarchal model? By who? Their mothers?"

Usually mothers play a big part (just as fathers and others that make up the most important socializing figures) in a personīs socialization and conditioning history. Who does socialize children? Who socialized you in such a cave man type mentality? :-)

This is too funny...

"patriarchal manipulation by other males, not TV advertisement images, not parental upbringing, not silly teachings in school."

By the way, these are all examples of socializing actors in society. If advertising had no effect on peopleīs brains and behavior and it wouldnīt be a multi-million dollar industry, because it would have failed a long time ago to change attitudes and behavior one way or another. I suggest an intro to psychology course would be good for you to discover how parents affect their childrenīs development, attitudes and behaviors differently. And please read up on the history of education and how different shool systems affect thinking and behavior in human beings diferently. A course in anthropology showing how humans turn out very differently depending on how they are socialized would also be a suggestion. Patriarchy is just too complicated a subject to make snippy comments here to summarize everything.

I didnīt know men like you who want to see their entire sexist attitudes and behaviors be blamed on biology still existed. In case you have not noticed, there are other men in the world who have been socialized differently than you or have outgrown some of the nonsense they were socialized in and have evolved a bit more regarding theirs attitudes and behaviors towards women.

Alessandra said at January 5, 2005 2:17 AM:


What was your childhood family enviroment that you were socialized in like? (I am presuming you had a family, obviously).
Was it, by any chance, a dominant father and a submissive mother? Do you have the same attitudes your father does about women?

rob said at January 5, 2005 10:31 AM:

Men don't socialize other men to want hot young women with no previous kids. If I could trick (socialize) other dudes, I'd socialize them to be homosexuals. More hot girls for me.

Advertising serves to attach desires we already have (tasty food, hot girls, healthy kids, status, etc) to things we don't naturally have a desire for (cars, iPods, y'know) McDonald's tries to influence your behavoir, but they don't say the food tastes like dog feces, and no car company will do well with ads that convince you their car will make everyone think your a loser and that you'll get lots of old ugly women. If you can find me successful ad campaigns that link a product to something people don't want, maybe you have a point.

Randall Parker said at January 5, 2005 1:02 PM:


I didnīt know men like you who want to see their entire sexist attitudes and behaviors be blamed on biology still existed. In case you have not noticed, there are other men in the world who have been socialized differently than you or have outgrown some of the nonsense they were socialized in and have evolved a bit more regarding theirs attitudes and behaviors towards women.

I am quite aware that millions of people like yourself who deny the biological basis of the sexes exist. I am quite aware that there are millions who believe the tripe you are spouting. But it is nuts. It is intellectually inexcusable to still believe the nonsense. The weight of evidence against it has gotten so enormous that the belief that males and females do not have innately different sexual desires and attractions is not intellectually defensible.

You ought to start to read what has been discovered about human nature. A good place to start is Steven Pinker's The Blank Slate, the Modern Denial of Human Nature. You suffer from this denial and you need to treat your mind to the empirical evidence.

Oh, and picture me rolling my eyes at your questions about my parents. Why not read scientific results rather than trying to cherry pick anecdotes that support our irrational beliefs. I'm talking about group average differences. You can always find effeminate or submissive men and more aggressive and dominating women. But there are large innate group average differences between men and women.

Also, as Rob states, the ads for products sold with sexy women wouldn't work if men were not attracted to sexy women in the first place. Ditto for ads for food with salt, meat, and fat in them. Humans are wired up to like certain kinds of things and advertisements are designed to tap into deeply seated innate desires. No advert can convince the vast majority of men that fat women or old women are attractive. No advert is going to convince people that broccoli tastes as good as a hamburger.

p said at January 5, 2005 6:05 PM:


The inferences that you are making are just not substantiated by the facts.

The study relates marriage and IQ. Not reproduction and IQ. Also note that while there is a correlation between reproduction and marriage, the number of out of wedlock births in the US is very high (Britain also has a high number of out of wedlock births). Thus your evolutionary-like theory that you have espoused is not really substantiated by anything more than your use of anecdotes. The same ones you have taken others to task for invoking (and rightfully so).

Thus we get back to the real issue that I have with this study and the last one that you posted - the causal explanations are not substantiated from the study. They rely upon anecdotes to explain the phenomena. At best this study gives us a fact to ponder. For a theory to be meaningful it must be cast in a series of variables that can be mapped back to the theory via a set of hypotheses. That is, we theory test through variable-based hypotheses.

Here we have IQ = Intelligence, and Marriage = (?, reproduction, happiness, etc.). What is the theory that connects the variable to variable relationship when one articulates the H: High IQ men -> High Married; and H: High IQ female -> Low Married? The conclusion that men prefer X versus women prefer Y is not in the logic. To infer that intelligence may not be selected for is no where in the data. This are nothing more than wild speculation.

Your continued insistence to include other correlated variables that you find acceptable but you appear only to accept those correlations that support your world view. The Correlation between IQ and Income is material and you are dismissing it. The percent differences in income and marriage is quite a bit smaller than the IQ relationship (in this study). This calls into question the magnitude of the effect.

In summary, I see this a pop psych that's used to feed the masses.

jaimito said at January 5, 2005 10:08 PM:

So intelligence in women is selected against, while in men, it is strongly favoured. Our descendants will have to live in a society where the men are intelligent, competent in abstract thinking and complex machines, dominating the professions and management, and the women are those cute little dumb things typing the letters, serving the tea, caring for the babies. I wonder, future is already here and now?

jaimito said at January 5, 2005 10:21 PM:

The above (the our descendants thing) does not refer to Alessandra and other intelligent, educated women. They will not replace themselves (2.2 babies) or have zero children, so their kind will be absent or few in populations of the future.

Patri Friedman said at January 6, 2005 1:12 AM:

This seems obvious and unremarkable. Women can basically do two things with their lives: have a family, or do something else (ie have a career). If IQ makes the latter more attractive, but not the former, then of course increased IQ will shift the likelihood that the latter is chosen and decrease the proportion of the former.

I didn't like this phrasing: "many smarter women find it beneath them to be wives". Why use the loaded term "beneath them" instead of just saying that they are choosing other options?

Also, I think its foolishly pessimistic about genetic engineering technology to find this alarming in any way. It's like worrying that a commercial program is getting a little buggier when its going to be open-sourced any day now. Evolution takes a long time, and whatever miniscule effects demographic trends like this have (even much larger trends like: high IQ is correlated with high income, high income is correlated with low birth rates) will be dwarfed by genetic manipulation.

Patri Friedman said at January 6, 2005 1:14 AM:

Randall wrote: "No advert can convince the vast majority of men that fat women or old women are attractive"

I dunno what EvBio you read, but the stuff I read is quite clear that liking thin women is *not* evolutionarily programmed. Rather, we tend to like thin or fat women depending on whether the culture has too much food or too little. Now, it may be programmed early enough that advertisements can't change it in adults, but it *is* set by culture.

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2005 2:42 AM:


I think culture plays a small role in determining what is attractive (leaving aside jewelry and clothes and other ornaments), especially once societies industrialize. In some primitive society they might argue that someone ought to marry some really fat woman so that she'll survive famines. But once those survival issues become less important I think obesity becomes less desirable. Some points:

First of all, the genetic component of what is attractive to men is probably not constant across all populations in the world. It makes sense that in different regions selective pressures exerted different forces in terms of what will be found to be attractive. So examples of what is attractive in other regions have to be considered in light of genetic differences in preferences.

Second, the correct typology is not between fat and skinny women. It is probably between skinny, curvaceous, and fat women (where the fat women are further broken down into scaled up skinny women and scaled up curvaceous women). In America women's fashion mags and ads aimed at women push far more skinniness and flatness in women than men like in women. Men like curves that are the product of the action of female sex hormones. BTW, Curvaceous women are more fertile than very skinny flat-chested women.

Large-breasted, narrow-waisted women have the highest reproductive potential, according to a new study, suggesting western men's penchant for women with an hourglass shape may have some biological justification.

Women with a relatively low waist-to-hip ratio and large breasts had about 30 per cent higher levels of the female reproductive hormone estradiol than women with other combinations of body shapes, found Grazyna Jasienska, at Jagiellonian University in Krakow, Poland and colleagues.

Two of the team, Peter Ellison and Susan Lipson at Harvard University in the US, have previously shown that higher levels of estradiol are indeed related to higher fertility in women trying to get pregnant.

The male preference for that sort of curviness is incredibly unsurprising. Though I wonder whether the same result would be found in Japan for instance. What level of curviness in Japanese women would achieve maximum fertility?

Third, men, on average, like bigger breasts in spite of flat models and lots of elite verbiage about how we shouldn't be attracted to big breasts. This preference is not getting into us from advertisements.

Fourth, I note that you push back on me about skinniness. But you didn't push back at me on age. So then do you accept that men are innately physically more attracted to women who are younger?

Fifth, Attractive Men Have Healthier Sperm. Obviously the innate programming of women for attraction is attuned to detecting which men would be good breeding material.

Sixth, Part of what humans find attractive is based on body symmetry. Higher body symmetry increases physical attractiveness. This is not surprising because symmetry is also a sign of healthier embryonic development and signals a better chance of healthy offspring from mating with such a person.

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2005 2:47 AM:


I have known women who definitely saw marriage as beneath them. I had a female neighbor who had a seriously hostile attitude toward marriage and saw it as akin to a kind of slavery.

Genetic engineering technology for boosting offspring IQ: Yes, eventually. But when? 10 years? 20 years? 30 years?

In the mean time natural selective forces are still acting on humans. Also, contrary to popular belief natural selection can and sometimes does cause large changes in allele frequencies in a small number of generations.

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2005 2:52 AM:

Oh, and those women who have curvy shapes and high estradiol levels are about 3 times as likely in any menstrual cycle to become pregnant.

In that of 17-b-estrodiol, those with narrow waists and large breasts had elevated levels - and that level was particularly high at the time of ovulation.

Indeed, it was so high that Dr. Jasienska estimates such women are three times as likely as the others to become pregnant on any given occasion. In evolutionary terms that makes them very desirable mates indeed.

No wonder Western men like curvy women.

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2005 2:54 AM:

And I just found my original post on the hour glass women and fertility: Women With Hourglass Bodies Have More Reproductive Hormones.

Magda said at January 6, 2005 9:07 AM:

P - i love you !

And for the res tof you, do you even know what IQ tests are for, they were developed to test learning disabilities and not for testing intelligence, thus they are not suited and not good methods of coming to conclusions about intelligence.

Anyways... the comment, "women with high iq would think it is beneath them to marry"
assuming you are saying iq is intelligence then your comment is completely biased in terms of marriage. With that statement you are saying that anyone who is smart will think getting married is a low form of being. I think it is so much more than that, but I do hope you never marry since you think it's such a low form of institutionalized love.


Rob said at January 6, 2005 1:35 PM:

IQ tests are pretty good at measuring intelligence. They are not perfect, and if anyone has better methods, I'm sure the psychological community would welcome it.
They weren't created to measure learning disabilities, unless by learning disability you mean stupidity, and they were made to diagnose dumb.
Just because something was created for one purpose does not mean it is worthless for all other purposes. Thermometers can measure air temperature, do you think they can measure body or water temperature too?

On fat vs thin women, has the preference ever been for more than pleasantly plump? A fat hunter-gatherer is not morbidly obese.

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2005 2:17 PM:


You are wrong when you state there is only a single purpose for intelligence testing. IQ measurements of groups have been found be predictive of a whole host of group average differences in behaviors and achievements. I would suggest you read Herrnstein and Murray's The Bell Curve and Arthur Jensen's "g" Factor for more thorough treatments.

I am talking about average differences in behavior. I'm not arguing that every single smart woman thinks marriage is beneath them. Though I certainly have met smart career women who vociferously feel that way.

You are also missing the point that I'm describing the attitudes of others, not of myself. I've met people who have the attitudes I describe. So I know such attitudes exist.

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2005 2:19 PM:

Shannon Love,

I agree that in many cases IQ is a proxy for status. Yes, higher IQ people gain more status on average. Higher IQ men are more attractive to most women more for status than for high IQ. Though sometimes it is the combination of the two that is attractive to women.

Randall Parker said at January 6, 2005 2:21 PM:


Do think that American or British women who do not get married are as likely to have kids as women who do get married? Do you think that smart women who get married have no more kids than smart women who do not get married? Or that smart men who get married have no more kids than smart women who do not get married? Of course the higher rate of marriage is going to translate into higher rates of reproduction.

Yes, I can't prove every link in my argument. But something is happening out there. My interpretation is more likely to be right than wrong.

p said at January 6, 2005 7:41 PM:


The problem here is that the relationship you are seeking to establish (men prefer dummer women) has a causal or if-chain a mile long.

That something is happening out there is indeed an excellent point. I am glad that you affirm reality.

The question is what is happening (out there), and how we trying to characterize the phenomena. Are we trying to develop a theory on human intelligence over time based upon an evolutionary logic? If so, we need to first define the broader context or nomological network that we believe relates the various constructs (and variables). Even if I accepted the conclusions that you assert are material, I would not conclude that one cohort of Men and Women expressing a relationship between IQ and Marriage is sufficient to drive evolution of the population. There are simply too many factors that are significant in driving human intelligence as a population (What about general increases in intelligence?).

Again, therelationship between IQ and marriage is not clearly meaningful to me for several reasons. First, as I have said before, if IQ to reproduction is the desired link (in this long casual chain) and can and should be measured. Why not measure it directly? They had the opportunity in the survey. This study shows a link between IQ and Marriage (The Status -> Marriage relationship between versus the two groups does not show anywhere the same gap). I believe you are asserting that men prefer dummer women. Second, natural selection occurs at the individual level but is meaningful at the population level. We see need the population for natural selection to work its magic (according to some). Third, as far as I know, intelligence is not simply a trait expressed like Tall is expressed in green beans (I.e., Tall plus Tall assures TALL). Thus, we do not know if the population or offspring actually benefit from the mating scheme in question. Forth, IQ is one measure of intelligence. Psychologists have greatly expanded the definition of intelligence beyond simply IQ (Gardner). Thus we cannot conclude that the fitness is increasing by this combination. Fifth, the reason for high IQ women not to get married is legion. High IQ Women may prefer not to be married. To say that they are selected against by innate human characteristics is simply not warranted unless one defines everything as innate. This reduces the theory to the point of nonfalsifiablity.

Don't get me wrong, the study you posted is interesting and worthy of thought. My issue remains that the forces at work here have not been fully captured in the study (as presented) and their relative importance ascertained. I think that while the IQ relationship to Marriage relation is stat significant, I remain unwilling to conclude it means anything as stated.

jaimito said at January 6, 2005 9:43 PM:

P, I fail to get your point. You state that one generation where brighter women do not reproduce does not drive evolution. But the lower fertility of higher classes was noted already by Galton, and if we explore further down in history, by the Romans (proletarium - the trash that has children) and the Ancient Greeks. It seems to be a permanent human feature. A strong selective force can cause surprisingly fast changes in the composition of the population. BTW, in our nearest cousins, it is the female the brainier gender.

jaimito said at January 6, 2005 9:45 PM:

By cousins I mean chimps. Female chimps have higher EQ.

vladimir said at January 7, 2005 3:16 PM:

Assumption is that people are homogenious.
What if there are several stratas that have their own characteristics ?
A person with higher IQ just belongs to a different [smaller] strata
where his fertility is adequate for the needs of that strata.

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 11:55 AM:

rob:"Men don't socialize other men to want hot young women with no previous kids."

You must live in a cave then. Men always socialize other people. So do women, so do parents.
Incidentally, outside your cave, there are a bunch of other societies where beauty or attractive standards are completely different than the only one you have been socialized to think itīs biological. There are cultures where very fat women are the equivalent of what you call "hot young women." Why do men in those societies have the same reactions for those obese women as you do for the "hot young women?" Because they were socialized to think/feel that way. And the socialization process was similar to yours, theyīve been getting messages from people around them, which includes their parents and other men, about who/whatīs "hot."

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 12:01 PM:

"I am quite aware that millions of people like yourself who deny the biological basis of the sexes exist."

hello? where did I say there is no biological differences between men and women? Nowhere.

What these differences are is where you are mistaken. Men can be socialized into being submissive, and women can socialized into being dominant. All result of socialization, not biology. What I did say is that you can socialize a baby into different personalities and gender attitudes, which can vary according to how dominant or submissive they are.
also, people can be socialized into neither being dominant, nor submissive, a more mentally healthy middle of the road too.

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 12:04 PM:

"Oh, and picture me rolling my eyes at your questions about my parents. Why not read scientific results rather than trying to cherry pick anecdotes that support our irrational beliefs."

Yes, but just for the sake of anecdotal evidence, do you not have the same attitudes towards women your father does?
Is your mother the submissive type? Is that the model you had while growing up?

Rob said at January 8, 2005 12:21 PM:

Alessandra, since you are outside the cave, please give me references to ethnographic accounts of societies where morbidly obese women are actually considered attractive by most men (fetishists are everywhere), where women actually commit more violent crimes than men (besides towards children, where there probably are tons)

Were you socialized to all your preferences? If you were socialized differently, could you enjoy being sexually assaulted, being chronically sleep deprived? Being a slave? No, people are not so easily fooled, the same reasons why I can't socialize girls into thinking pudgy, introverted, balding guys are attractive, it just doesn't work.

Alessandra, where you raised by a single mother? Or did boys give you very little attention as a teenager?
Please, describe how you were so optimally socialized.

Oh yeah, is there anything that patriarchy doesn't explain? How did patriarchs allow women to become feminists, why weren't they socialized to never leave the submissive role?

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 2:00 PM:

"Alessandra, since you are outside the cave, please give me references to ethnographic accounts of societies where morbidly obese women are actually considered attractive by most men (fetishists are everywhere),"

I am even tempted to do this work of listing it all here for you, but if you (ahem) lift your little fingers off the keyboard, go to your college library, and type in the right searches, and look them up, the books will surely be there. (actually I donīt think I should do other peopleīs homework, thatīs why I decline). There is not one example, but a variety, in the Middle East, in Asia Pacific, etc. Even from memory, I think one of them became famous through Margaret Mead. I am sure you never heard of Mead, she is something called an anthropologist, they study all these different societies you have yet to discover exist! I donīt think you will do this reading, but if you ever do, I would be interested to then know what you think, if you find your theories still fit and how.

You also ask some really good questions - Iīll take one: Can you be socialized into being a slave?

Of course!!! Man! where are your history books?

All in all, though, I see a serious problem creeping and lurching in this discussion, which is: have you noticed no one has defined what each participant think is meant by socialization/to socialize/to be socialized?

Are you sure we are using the words meaning the same thing? I am getting the feeling we are definitely not.

Over to you.

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 2:03 PM:

have you noticed no one has defined what each participant thinkS is meant by socialization/to socialize/to be socialized?
(an "S" was missing)

Garson Poole said at January 8, 2005 3:05 PM:

[FuturePundit had to edit down this post because he suspects the size of the excerpted article may violate copyright law. Please limit your quoting of copyrighted text and supply a URL to the original text in the future.]

Perceptions of female beauty and desirability can differ between societies (time periods, and social classes). Consider the article excerpted below that appeared in the Wall Street Journal on December 29th:

New Obesity Boom In Arab Countries Has Old Ancestry

NOUAKCHOTT, Mauritania -- Jidat Mint Ethmane grew up in a nomad family in this impoverished nation in the western Sahara. When she was 8, she says, her mother began to force-feed her. Ms. Ethmane says she was required to consume a gallon of milk in the morning, plus couscous. She ate milk and porridge for lunch. She was awoken at midnight and given several more pints of milk, followed by a pre-breakfast feeding at 6 a.m.

If she threw up, she says, her mother forced her to eat the vomit. Stretch marks appeared on her body and the skin on her upper arms and thighs tore under the pressure. If she balked at the feedings, her mother would squeeze her toes between two wooden sticks until the pain was unbearable. "I would devour as much as possible," says Ms. Ethmane. "I resembled a mattress."

Today, Ms. Ethmane, 38 years old, is slender because her family ran out of money to continue the force-feeding technique, known as gavage. The term stems from the French word for the process used to force-feed geese to make foie gras. Yet in a recent interview in her family's one-room house, Ms. Ethmane says she still believes in the practice. "Beauty is more important than health," she says. Her husband, Brahim, agrees: "It is thin women who are not healthy."

The belief that rotund women are more desirable as wives helps explain why much of the Arab world -- which stretches from the Persian Gulf in the east to Mauritania in North Africa -- is experiencing an explosion of obesity. About half of women in the Middle East are overweight or obese, according to the United Nations' World Health Organization. In some communities, many of which were nomadic until a few decades ago, oil wealth has dramatically improved living standards. The resulting urbanization has introduced some Western habits: high consumption of sugar, fat and processed foods and more sedentary lifestyles. ...

Mauritania is the only nation today where force-feeding of girls is systematically practiced, mostly in rural areas. Efforts by women's groups and the government to stamp it out have largely been ignored. In a land that suffers from a constant shortage of food, plump women are assumed to be both wealthy and more likely to bear healthy children. "It has long been totally acceptable for women to be not just rotund, but voluminous," says Philip James, chairman of the International Obesity Task Force. ...


Charlotte Abaka, a Ghanaian advocate for women's rights in Africa, says gavage also encourages women to marry young because their rapid weight gain makes them appear older.

End excerpt

Consider the term "Rubenesque" with the following definition: of, relating to, or suggestive of the painter Reubens or his works; especially: plump or rounded usually in a pleasing or attractive way. e.g., a Rubenesque figure. Reuben’s paintings are sometimes cited as evidence that the female "beauty ideal" has shifted over time in some western countries. Of course, it is an oversimplification to assume homogeneity in perceptions of beauty even with within a single society. The term BBW refers to “big beautiful women” and is used as a compliment by individuals attracted to larger body shapes.

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 3:16 PM:

Thanks, Garson. And on the same lines, the "classic" example of foot binding in China, jeez.. completely did not even think about that.

Randall Parker said at January 8, 2005 3:47 PM:


Men can be socialized into being submissive, and women can socialized into being dominant. All result of socialization, not biology. What I did say is that you can socialize a baby into different personalities and gender attitudes, which can vary according to how dominant or submissive they are.

No, aggressive males can not be socialized into submissiveness. No, most shy and meek females can not be socialized into being outgoing and dominant. Males are, on average, innately more aggressive and dominating.

Sociallizing into personalities: No, that is completely wrong. The empirical evidence shows that the biggest cause of personality type is genetic. Another cause appears to be random noise in the development process. Judith Rich Harris argues in her book The NURTURE ASSUMPTION: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do that parents have very little influence on a child's development and that their peers have more influence than parents. But environment can not overcome strong genetic leanings.

Environment has more influence on people who have a mix of alleles that do not push them clearly in any one direction. But studies of twins reared apart show that environment's impact is limited by genetic factors.

BTW, Margaret Mead's work reporting on the Samoans was found after she died to have been fabricated. She's been discredited. See by Derek Freeman: The Fateful Hoaxing of Margaret Mead: A Historical Analysis of Her Samoan Research and Margaret Mead and the Heretic: The Making and Unmaking of an Anthropological Myth.

You are missing Rob's point about slavery: Can you be socialized into enjoying slavery?

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 5:08 PM:

Randall, you didnīt even read the links you posted! this blog is like a study on cognitive selection!

Because Meadīs work has been challenged, does it mean there are no Samoa islands? :-))) does it mean the islands donīt exist? Certain aspects of her work were challenged, apparently, it has nothing to do with body weight.

Nowhere in the links you posted do these other anthropologists say women there are skinny. You donīt like to read, do you? :-) And how do you explain the women in Garsonīs post? And the men?

I also found this:
Neville Rigby - http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/asia-pacific/1681297.stm

Pacific islanders, especially women, are the fattest people in the world, according to latest figures published by the International Obesity Taskforce.

"The Pacific is the world's capital of obesity," said the taskforce's director for public affairs, Neville Rigby said.
The figures show that 55% of Tongan women, 74% percent of Samoan women and 77% of men and women living in Nauru are obese. " (please note 74%!!!)

"The prevention and treatment of obesity in the Pacific is also made difficult by the traditional cultural notion that 'bigness' is a sign of wealth and power," the report said. (please note **cultural notion**)

There are better examples, like the one Garson posted, and they are many more than one. But I guess you like not knowing about other cultures, more than knowing about them.

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 5:13 PM:

"You are missing Rob's point about slavery: Can you be socialized into enjoying slavery?"

What definition of "be socialized" are you using here? and why do you ask about enjoyment, since that was not his question?

Garson Poole said at January 8, 2005 5:13 PM:

Below is a link to the Wall Street Journal article entitled "New Obesity Boom In Arab Countries Has Old Ancestry" by Gautam Naik that is excerpted above. I suspect that it will not work for individuals without subscription access, but it might work for electronic subscribers. Click here to read it. I quoted large sections of the article because I thought it was relevant and because I suspected it was inaccessible to most blog readers. In the future I will attempt to adhere to the blog owner's preferences regarding limiting quotes.

On the topic of copyrights on the web: Interestingly, when Scientific American magazine ran a "hatchet-job" article about molecular nanotechnology in 1996 the researcher Ralph C. Merkle responded by quoting the entire article and interleaving it with a point-by-point rebuttal. The lawyers for Scientific American told Merkle to remove the article but he refused to comply. The material is still available here. (Of course, the excerpted material from the Wall Street Journal article given above did not contain extensive interleaved commentary so I am not claiming that it would withstand a copyright challenge. The legal area is in flux)

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 5:26 PM:

" The NURTURE ASSUMPTION: Why Children Turn Out the Way They Do that parents have very little influence on a child's development "

HOw do you explain foot binding in China, since it was carried out primarily by the mothers?

p said at January 8, 2005 5:46 PM:

Wow! We have a lot of wild speculation flying around without facts.

I want to make a couple of things clear.
- The study does not permit one to infer that men prefer dumber women. It supports the inference that females with high IQ marry at lower rates than Men with High IQ. The result is significant. We do not have info from the data provided to infer cause and effect.
- The vast amount of criticism directed at genetic disposition of males and females is not substantiated by data. Randall is absolutely correct in insisting that men on average are more aggressive than females based upon biological factors. The fact that men and women can be socialized to manage their behaviors up to a point is also true. And yes there are aggressive women and passive men. This does not mean there is a contradiction in the logic only that there is a distribution of the traits of aggressiveness in the population.
- Randall is correct in stating that Mead manipulated her findings concerning Somoan behavior. While all of Mead's work is not to be discounted, the thesis that humans are "nurture" products is completely FALSE. She lied to humanity in order to substantiate her ideological bent (very sad).
- Traits can in the short run and in certain societies be manipulated to signal desirable traits. The obesity example presented is one of many that we could find in the world. This does NOT mean that all traits are mutable. Again we have a distribution of traits with varying degrees of malleability.
- Science employs logic but cannot be reduced to logic. While in the world of logic we can negate a Universal by negation, the same is not always true in science. In science we have empirical observations that we must explain. That is, science seeks to explain patterns not single data points. Thus, in the nature-nurture debate that is now raging in this thread, we must list traits and then assign them to cells Nature vs Nurture). It is clear that both cells will contain examples. The secret is to let the facts fall in the correct place and not let ideology drive the facts.

Randall Parker said at January 8, 2005 5:47 PM:


Mead: You are telling someone to go read her to learn about anthropology. But her work presents an extremely misleading view of another culture. You are doing a disservice to anyone who you recommend to go read her.

A large percentage of American women are obese. Does this mean that most men find them sexually attractive? Even in poor countries where hunger is a problem obesity is more a mark of affluence and the ability to survive than it is a mark of sexiness.

As for bigness as a cultural notion: Why assume it is cultural? Different groups in the world due to genetic variations vary radically from each other in appearances, in average height, average width and thickness of bones, and in the genetic tendency to obesity. Given all these genetically variations in physical dimensions it would not be at all surprising that they differed genetically in what they found attractive.

Foot-binding: The women wanted their daughters to be suitably handicapped to be appealing to dominating upper class men who did not want their wives to go running around. Such was the difficulty of getting suitable husbands that the mothers were willing to cripple their daughters.

Socialized and slavery: Oh come on, the question is obvious enough. But the correct answer undermines your argument. You can't raise people to love to be slaves. Or do you think you could?

Do you think you could raise boys to find 60 year old women a greater sexual turn on than 17 and 18 year old girls? I don't think you could. Do you think you could?

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 8:21 PM:

Youīve never read a single book on any other culture than your own (at least I hope you have read a few books :-). But itīs clear you certainly have never read a single book on any culture where obesity was the beauty and sexual standard. Discussion without knowledge is funny for 5 minutes, then itīs just like the looney house.

"A large percentage of American women are obese. Does this mean that most men find them sexually attractive? "
My point. Ignorance is bliss, is it not? Is Samoa in Ohio? Oh, you mean Samoa is on a different side of the global map?
Did you know there are other countries besides the US in the world?
And Samoa has a completely different culture than the American one? Gasp! Is it news to you, too?

Yes, men do find obese women in some other cultures sexually attractive. The culture mentioned in Garsonīs post is one. In Samoa is another. (see, my memory was right, even it Mead wrote stuff about other aspects of their culture that was off). But if you are completely ignorant about every other single culture in the world, how would you know what the men think is sexy or not? You just make up any claim you want about any culture and put that forward as an argument. No basis in reality or any study.

I could say martians like women who are fat, too. It would have the same reality base as your statements about other cultures. Martians even like green fat women, how about that? ;-) Not your type, I gather. And if you asked me how I knew martians liked fat women, I would say just like you, "I assume, therefore it is. Reality does not matter, it matters that I am always right."

Randall, I am glad, with all her problems, that it was Mead that went to the Samoans and not you. I can picture your brilliant anthropology Samoan report: 95% of women are just fat slobs, they donīt even diet (can you believe it? I have found no evidence of a Samoan Weight Watchers). Even though the men kill to marry them, and they live very happy as a couple afterwards, itīs all because they have yet to see a Britney Spears music video. In short, I am profoundly inclined to think that Samoan men have an advanced type of myopia because only that can explain why they do not see women as I do. They are legally blind.

Brilliant, I would say!

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 8:31 PM:

"Mead: You are telling someone to go read her to learn about anthropology. But her work presents an extremely misleading view of another culture. You are doing a disservice to anyone who you recommend to go read her."

Actually, no. You should read Mead, and then you should read her critics. And then you should a bunch other anthropologists. That will teach you more than if you donīt read her in the first place. Ah, but I forget, you simply donīt read... my bad... :-)

Bob Badour said at January 8, 2005 9:03 PM:

Alessandra, if you honestly believe Randall doesn't read, you are an idiot.

Randall Parker said at January 8, 2005 9:34 PM:


You have no idea what I've read. Your own reading recommendation is for an anthropologist who promoted one of the biggest hoaxes in the history of social science. You really ought to read Steven Pinker's Blank Slate so that you can begin to unlearn the wrong things you have apparently been taught. Pinker's book is a great starting point for those who are still so heavily invested in an excessive belief in the power of social environment in the development of the mind.

Sexual attraction and obesity: No, you do not know what you are claiming. A woman can be preferred as a mate without her being sexually more attractive. Ditto for a man. More most of history in many cultures sexual attraction between two people was not the only or main factor that determined who mated with who. Just as there were dynastic marriages among European royalty that were made based on other consideration so there were matchmakers and parents who chose who their children would mate with. These people were making decisions based on considerations other than sexual attraction.

There are methods of measuring sexual attraction objectively. For instance sensor devices are used to measure arousal in response to images. These devices have been used to study male and female sexual orientation. Would cultures that prize obesity show measures of sexual attraction by their 16 year old males with raging hormones that had 100 lb overweight women as more attractive than non-obese women? I'm open to being convinced on this point. Perhaps there are genetic variations that cause that response that are present in some groups. But I doubt that physical attraction that departs far from a healthy body shape can be learned. So, for example, I don't think attraction to prefer asymmetric bodies can be learned.

You seem wholly ignorant of (or in denial of?) a large body of research literature about the biological basis for human nature. I'm pointing you at it and you are telling me I do not read. Why don't you go thru the category archives of my web logs and see just how much I read. For example, read my Brain Development archives. You'd learn a lot in the process.

Bob Badour said at January 8, 2005 9:36 PM:

P.S. When you write "other cultures", I read "evolutionarily isolated groups with some measure of inbreeding." You claim culture as cause for what genes could just as easily cause.

Do european men or chinese men raised in the genetically isolated community of Somoa prefer morbidly obese women? What has anyone done to rule out genes?

Do you believe the difference between bonobos and chimpanzees is strictly cultural?

Your intellectual prejudice reminds me of the idea of the self-evident truth that the average male preference for women who resemble their mothers is due entirely to socialization or imprinting. The fact that every man's father picked a woman who resembles his mother and that at least one maternal grandparent did the same could not possibly have an influence as far as some folks are concerned. As time progresses, I see more and more psychological and sociological orthodoxy disproved at the same time as I see more and more evidence for strong genetic influence over behaviour--including my own.

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 9:42 PM:

Bob, sorry, what books did he read on Samoan culture? He didnīt mention any and I saw no evidence he had read anything on Samoan culture. Neither on Mead. Neither on any other anthropologist. I take it youīve read even more books than he did on the subject? Which books did you read on Samoa that prove with the fact that women there are skinny? Or that Samoan women are fat, but that men think they are all horribly un-sexy that way?

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 9:51 PM:

"Sexual attraction and obesity: No, you do not know what you are claiming. A woman can be preferred as a mate without her being sexually more attractive."

How do you know what men in other cultures think is attractive sexually if you donīt know these men, you donīt read about them, you donīt study anything about them? You are dreaming about them. The basis for your claim is total ignorance of these other societies. You canīt claim men in Samoa think fat or skinny is sexually attractive if you have no knowledge about their culture. No reality basis. Just speculation. Day dreaming.

Alessandra said at January 8, 2005 9:54 PM:

But itīs clear you certainly have never read a single book on any culture where obesity was the beauty and sexual standard

You have no idea what I've read.

Which book have you read that talks about a culture where obesity was/is the beauty and sexual standard?

Rob said at January 9, 2005 3:42 AM:

You'd get a kick out of reading alessandra's blog. She hates homos.
Alessandra, could you se socialized into lesbianism? Who socialized you into all your opinions? I don't doubt that Samoans are grossly obese. I don't doubt that Samoa exists. A trait can be very common and still be considered unattractive. Whether Samoan men think fatter is sexier with no limit, or a very high limit, that's an empirical question, that's worth learning.

On not reading anthro-fic, I did read Gulliver's Travels, that should make up for not reading Coming of Age in Samoa.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 4:51 AM:

"No advert is going to convince people that broccoli tastes as good as a hamburger."

Given that youīve never taken a walk outside your block, this reminded me about a country outside the US where this is the case. It has about gazillions of people, and there are huge regions where people love broccoli and would rather starve than kill a cow for a hamburger. Actually they hate the food you love, and love the food you hate. (why do you hate broccoli, btw? veggies are so good)

Discussing universalism with people who have no knowledge about any other culture is interesting because the arguments are so in the surreal zone. Reality is completely shunned everytime it contradicts dogma.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:03 AM:

"You'd get a kick out of reading alessandra's blog. She hates homos. "

If you would read the blog, maybe one thing you could learn is that people who are anti-homosexual, anti-pedophilia, anti-prostitution, anti-p0rnography, have nothing to do with hate. But then, it seems reality is not something you want to have anything to do with. People who oppose all these sexuality problems are able to think about issues that donīt fit in your mind. Saying they "hate" is just a way to stifle discussion, you donīt have arguments, so there flies the ad hominen attack. Pro-homosexuals are too stupid to be able to argue or think about problems in sexuality. They can only call people names, trying to cover up for how stupid they are.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:16 AM:

"I don't doubt that Samoans are grossly obese. I don't doubt that Samoa exists. A trait can be very common and still be considered unattractive. Whether Samoan men think fatter is sexier with no limit, or a very high limit, that's an empirical question, that's worth learning."

... thatīs worth learning...

Apparently, that is the only thing we agree on. If you donīt know anything about another culture, making affirmations about it, without any knowledge or learning, is senseless. BTW, the reason I suggested for you to read books on anthropology, given how interested you all are in culture and biology, is that long before you were born, people wanted to know about cultural similarities and differences. And they have been going to study other cultures for eons and written thousand of books.

Now, given what I noticed about the discussion here, I would not be surprised if "reading on Samoa" for some participants here means:
a) there are 50 books on Samoa in the library
b) guy opens first book. Has no mention if Samoan men thought fat women were sexy. Conclusion: see, that means they probably thought skinny women were sexy.
c) opens seconds book: it says Samoan men thought fat women were sexy. Conclusion: this anthropologist doesnīt know what he is talking about.
d) opens third book: it says Samoan men thought fat women were sexy. Conclusion: this anthropologist must be a disgruntled feminist. Canīt be true.
e) opens 4th-49th book: it says Samoan men thought fat women were sexy. Conclusion: Anthropologists in general donīt know a thing.
f) opens 50th book: it says Samoan men thought brooms made with this yellow mesh were sexy. Conclusion: See, thatīs really their primeval yearning for Britney Spears. I was right.

Randall Parker said at January 9, 2005 2:04 PM:


India and cows: You want to bet that Indians who are given meat that is not religiously proscribed on average do not like it as much as they like vegetables? Humans do not need to be taught that meat tastes good. To most humans without conditioning meat tastes good. So does fat. So does sugar. You can look around and find cultures that place limits on what can be eaten. But the underlying biology of tastebuds can not be overridden to the point that most people are going to find fatty and sweet tastes to be revolting. The brain is wired up in such a way as to make us eat calories with lots of nutrients.

You continue to proclaim the supremacy of culture over biology and tell me if I just read enough books I will see the error of my ways. I keep pointing you toward more objective ways to study human brains and the evidence that has been found from those studies. But you will have none of that. You have your prejudices and are not interested in what biological science has to say about human nature.

As for anthropologists as disgruntled feminists: It is a real problem. Look at what Mead's ideological zeal did to corrupt her work. Marxists and others who want to remake humanity into forms incompatible with human nature have similarly helped to corrupt anthropology and sociology. Luckily the biological sciences are advancing and gradually undermining the arguments of the ideologues. Some ideologues seem to be unaware that their position is crumbling though. If you would trouble yourself to read The Blank Slate you'd begin to get an idea of just how far you are going to have to eventually retreat from your untenable positions about human nature.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:07 PM:

Some sociology concepts - since we are talking about socialization:

Social Structure is basically the preexisting patterns of social reality that influence each of us on a daily basis. This structure is in place before we come into the world and has influenced generations before us. In essence, social structure is that framework of society that dictates to us appropriate behaviors and attitudes depending on our particular status (or position) within the overall structure of society. Social Institutions are those organized entities that are established to meet specific needs for the overall society. There are several social institutions that influence us all in unique ways. The five most obvious of these are (arguably all of equal importance): The Economy, which provides society with a monetary base and the means to produce and distribute goods; Politics, which is responsible for providing leadership and laws governing behavior; The
Family, which provides the means to reproduce and to socialize children; Education Systems, which provide
the means to teach members of society how to be productive and intelligent members, and Religion, which provides guidance for many issues, the most basic being the meaning of life and death.

One's social class is his/her relative position within the overall social structure and this, too, influences individual behaviors and attitudes. Social class consists of one's education level, occupational prestige, income, wealth, and may also include other factors such as race and gender. Research continues to demonstrate that individuals are greatly influenced by one's social class in many ways. For example, depending on one's social class there are distinct differences in attitudes and behaviors regarding work, religion, racial, and gender issues. Finally, social groups and social interaction are of interest to sociologists
as both influences individual behaviors. Within groups (two or more people sharing common interests who interact with one another on a regular basis), there is interaction (verbal and nonverbal communications) and the overall groups' structure as well as the interaction itself greatly influences the attitudes and behaviors of individuals within groups.

Randall Parker said at January 9, 2005 5:08 PM:


I made the title of this post into a question. The outcome that is being measured is probably the result of both male and female mating strategies.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:22 PM:

questions on socialization:

# What is meant by the social construction of reality? How, precisely, is "reality" socially constructed?
# How is culture transmitted from one generation to the next? What are the agents of socialization, and how do they differ - in terms of what kinds of things they socialize, and when they socialize them?
# What is acculturation? What is resocialization and how is it similar to acculturation?

Social Structure as a Negotiated Order.

* Structure arises out of the interactions of people who are operating from both a shared sense of reality (culture and socialization) as well as a individual and group oriented biography which produces particular definitions and interpretations.
* We attempt to make sense out of situations for "all practical purposes."
* We bargain, compromise, redefine and produce an emerging sense of order as a stable reality.
* Some situations allow for little negotiation, others more.

Culture forms the foundation of Social Structure:

* Some sort of shared reality: Language, Norms and Values.
* Out of this basis we attribute meaning and significance to others in terms of where they are placed in relation to ourselves and others.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:28 PM:

I wanted to find a definition of socialization quickly and easy, but found this instead. still looking...


This is a course which investigates the relationship between one's place in the social structure and one's own, individual personal growth. We will seek to gain some understanding of the impact of society on the individual. Recognizing that the development of the self is an ongoing dynamic process that does not stop with the onset of adulthood, we will be investigating the social aspects of individual growth and change throughout the life cycle.

The basic premise of this course is that people must learn how to be members of society. In that vein, one of society's major functions is to facilitate the assimilation of its constituents. Successful assimilation serves two goals: it encourages the maintenance and growth of the social system, and it gives each person a sense of his or her location within the social structure. In consequence, it is to the advantage of both society and the individual that the latter comes to adopt an understanding of the social system and one's place in it that is shared by all its members; this understanding not only includes a sense of personal identity, but also an appreciation of the roles one will take as a participating member of society. Part of our analysis will focus on this socialization process.

Beneath this grand design, however is a gnawing awareness that is disquieting: something is basically wrong. As people experience the life course, they realize (even if they do not admit to others) that they have neither a strong sense of personal identity nor a feeling of involvement in their social roles. Although society seems to be progressing in its development, it appears to do so only at the expense of the well-being of many of its members. The remainder of our analysis will examine the proposition that there is something inherent in the structure of our society that causes pain and alienation in people's everyday lives.

We will begin by examining some of the theories of personal growth developed by sociologists, including those pertaining to early socialization in childhood. Next, we will examine the development of the individual from infancy through adulthood, concentrating on the impact of family, school, occupation, and social class on personal growth and social opportunities for advancement. Finally, we will study the social antecedents to alienation.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:36 PM:

nice example of socialization of babies:

Even seemingly insignificant actions of parents can have major impacts on the socialization of their children. For instance, what would you do if your baby cried continuously but was not ill, hungry, or in need of a diaper change? Would you hold your baby, rock back and forth, walk around, or sing gently until the crying stopped, even if it took hours. The answer that you give very likely depends on your culture. The traditional Navaho click this icon to hear the preceding term pronounced Indian response usually was to remove the baby from social contact until the crying stopped. After making sure that the baby was not ill or in physical distress, he or she would be taken outside of the small single room house and left in a safe place until the crying stopped. Then the baby would be brought indoors again to join the family. Perhaps as a result, Navaho babies raised in this way are usually very quiet. They learn early that making noise causes them to be removed from social contact. In most North American families today, we would hold our baby in this situation until the crying stopped. The lesson that we inadvertently may be giving is that crying results in social contact. Is this wrong? Not necessarily, but it is a different socialization technique.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:39 PM:

socialization - good simple definition

Human infants are born without any culture. They must be transformed by their parents, teachers, and others into social and cultural animals. The general process of acquiring culture is referred to as socialization . During socialization, we learn the language of the culture we are born into as well as the roles we are to play in life. For instance, girls learn how to be daughters, sisters, friends, wives, and mothers. In addition, they learn about the occupational roles that their society allows them. We also learn and usually adopt our culture's norms through the socialization process. Norms are the conceptions of appropriate and expected behavior that are held by most members of the society. While socialization refers to the general process of acquiring culture, anthropologists use the term enculturation for the process of being socialized to a particular culture. You were enculturated to your specific culture by your parents and the other people who raised you.

Socialization is important in the process of personality formation.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 5:55 PM:

Successful socialization can result in uniformity within a society. If all children receive the same socialization, it is likely that they will share the same beliefs and expectations. This fact has been a strong motivation for national governments around the world to standardize education and make it compulsive. Deciding what things will be taught and how they are taught is a powerful political tool for controlling people. Those who internalize the norms of society are not likely to break the law or want radical social changes. In all societies, however, there are individuals who do not conform to culturally defined standards of normalcy because they were "abnormally" socialized, which is to say that they have not internalized the norms of society.

Alessandra said at January 9, 2005 6:08 PM:

Now back to Robīs questions:

"Were you socialized to all your preferences? If you were socialized differently, could you enjoy being sexually assaulted, being chronically sleep deprived? Being a slave? No, people are not so easily fooled, the same reasons why I can't socialize girls into thinking pudgy, introverted, balding guys are attractive, it just doesn't work."

part of sociolization: We also learn and usually adopt our culture's norms through the socialization process. and also the values. So, to take the easiest question first, could you socialize girls into thinking that the male standard of beauty was fat, bald, introverted guys? Sure. If they were born into a culture where men like these were idolized, were considered "the catch", they would learn and internalize that beauty ideal.

Now the question, were you socialized to all your preferences? Thatīs why I wanted to get the definition of socialization. Socialization does not take away all human agency. the result of socialization will vary according to each individual. So, I was socialized according to the established preferences of my culture, and along with that I developed my individual set of preferences. the result is a mix. And this goes for all other humans socialized as well.

Re the violence questions, we canīt forget that people have a body and a psychological structure that demands care, survival. So the question is even better put like this, can you inflict so much violence on a person, that they develop a mental illness where they can no longer determine what is good or what is healthy pleasure? In many ways you can (unfortunately). Can you socialize (and condition) a person to enjoy slavery? Of course! every system of slavery tries to do exactly that. How much it succeeds, in part depends on how much violence it applies to achieve it (and Iīm talking of psychological violence as well). So when a baby is born in this slavery category, they are going to be told thatīs a natural state (no way out, shouldnīt be any different anyways), and that the masters/slavery are right. Obviously, since slavery is a violent system, you are asking how do human beings resist violence, which is a complex question, too. Aside from being a great question.

jaimito said at January 15, 2005 4:42 AM:

Alessandra, we have never met, how can you know? ("pudgy, introverted, balding guys are unattractive, it just doesn't work"). On the other hand, I am not my usual potent self with assertive, aggressive, dominant feminists.

Alessandra said at January 15, 2005 11:32 AM:

"Alessandra, we have never met, how can you know? ("pudgy, introverted, balding guys are unattractive, it just doesn't work")."

Hello Jaimito, I didnīt understand your comment. Can you clarify?

J.D> said at January 19, 2005 5:23 AM:

Hi, sorry to barge on such a long conversation. I've read it all, but would like to point just one thing. In the first part of this debate someone mentioned the fact that, if stupid women breed more, and smart women don't, and that if men choose as mates stupid women, we'd soon be a society divided in intelligent males, and cute stupid females.

I'd like to say to that person that he, probably, has absolutely no education of basic genetics or biology.

When a new baby is formed, the genes are mixed from both parents and chosen randomly, 50-50.
That's the same for baby girls and baby boys. This gene mixing is one great leveler and insures gene stability.

Another person here wanted to advocate that, Samoans may like fat women because they are an evolutionary inbred group. What a completely uninformed thing to say! Have you heard the oft-quoted conclusion of human gene study - The hole gene variability of the hole world (and that includes women and men) could be preserved with a hundred people group of the indigenous people of Australia.

Randall Parker said at January 19, 2005 11:10 AM:


You repeat a common misconception. No, 100 Australian indegenes do not have all the genetic variations in the world. There are plenty of genetic variations that are specific to particuilar ethnic groups. There are politically correct lefties who would have you believe otherwise. But, no, that is incorrect.

As for smart men and dumb women breeding and mixing their genes: Yes, that happens and yes that makes their sons and daughters turn out to be on average somewhere between the parents in intelligence. But there surely are genetic variations that have different effects on men and women and those variations would be selected for in an environment in which smart men and dumb women preferentially bred with each other.

Mark Amerman said at January 24, 2005 3:13 AM:


I think you went a bit overboard in your criticism of the idea:

"...if stupid women breed more, and smart women don't, and that
if men choose as mates stupid women, we'd soon be a society
divided in intelligent males, and cute stupid females."

When I read that I had something the same thought, the suspicion
drifted through my mind that the person making it didn't understand
genetics; but there is a way the statement might be true.

Genetically men and women are identical, except that men have
a Y chromosome and women don't, and women have two X chromosomes
and men only one. If there's a gene on chromosome 13 with different
alleles and one of the alleles tends to result in greater
intelligence than the other and if women who do not have this
allele are more reproductively successful than those that do,
then the net effect will not only be dumber women but also
dumber men.

Likewise if this same allele enhances the chances of a man's
reproductive success then that male selection would make both men
and women smarter.

In fact this must be this situation with most genes: each sex
shares the gains (and losses) from natural selection acting on
the other sex.

On the other hand men do have that Y chromosome, which women lack.
It's possible there's a gene there that impacts intelligence. If
there is such then we'd expect to see different average intelligences
for men and women.

Some people might interject at this point that this is plainly
not the case since the average intelligence of men is the
same as the average intelligence of women, as inferred from
IQ tests. Yes, this a great argument except that as I recently
discovered male and female average IQ scores are the same by
definition. That is many IQ tests select their questions
to give this result.

Still though, even the fact that it is possible to select questions
to give the same result suggest that average male and female IQs
have to be very close as otherwise it wouldn't be possible to do that.
Close enough that one might suspect differences to be the result
of socialization and not genetics.

There is one other situation, other than a gene on the Y chromosome,
where I can imagine differential male/female intelligence. That is
if we imagine a set of male/female genes on the non-sexual
chromosomes which are activated or deactivated by the Y chromosome.

This the same as assuming that every male carries a silent genetic
female; one that can only be expressed in his descendents; and
likewise every female carries a silent genetic male; one that
can only see light in her descendents. If this were the case then
the Y chromosome would in a sense be larger than it appears and
in addition there would be an embedded female chromosome-like entity
not yet identified or named.

If such is the case then we would expect the crossover that
occurs in the paired chromosomes to occasionally scramble the
sexual identities and the more genes involved the more likely
the scrambling. Such a situation might explain homosexuality
which seems so genetically implausible.

It can be argued back and forth what is more likely to be the real
situation. We won't really know till we go and look.

Emily said at February 18, 2005 7:46 AM:

Well I AM a high IQ woman. Thing is, I am actually GOOD at attracting interest from men during conversation (for instance in bars, etc). Thing is, I somehow manage to do this when I am not trying to. I am asexual in terms of my sexual orientation, and find sexual interest a bit offputting. Therefore it comes as abit of a shock when the person (or people) I am having a nice conversation with suddenly start hitting on me. I actually find it at bit nervous and bothersome.

Emily said at February 18, 2005 7:51 AM:

Also I resent the implication that if (assuming that) fewer high IQ women get married this means that either they don't quite measure up in terms of attractiveness to men, or that there is something wrong with them (they are stuck up, etc).

Marriage is not the be-all and end-all of a woman's existence.

I think that a high IQ woman, may simply have more options AND have the independant mindset that allows her to choose her own path rather than follow the life script like the rest of the good sheeple.

Catherine said at July 5, 2005 10:50 PM:

I think smart women are too smart to marry. While her dumber sister is marrying and getting divorced, the smart woman is smart enough to stay clear and able to predict what is going to work and what is not.

Another thing is it is very hard for a smart women to be in a relationship because of the way most men relate to women. They don't want her to be the dominant one. Of corse she can always go out and get a lobotomy. I heard one smart women comment that you needed a lobotomy just to live with a man

Very smart people are also weird. They look at life in a way we don't understand.

Angie said at August 21, 2005 11:50 PM:

Catherine said that she thought that smart women were too smart to marry. I agree with that completely, but just wanted to add that some women do not want children, and so the need to think about marriage isn't as great for them.

But from the knowledge smart women glean from the field of evolutionary psych, it is no wonder that so many choose to pass on marriage.

Catherine wrote: "Very smart people are also weird. They look at life in a way we don't understand."

Very smart people have a cognitive process that cuts through reality like a Ginsu and gets to the deeper layers of reality that others aren't privvy to. They have keener insights and perceptions. To the less intellectually endowed, this is viewed as "weird." The proper term is actually....gifted.

Angie again said at August 21, 2005 11:55 PM:

"In the first part of this debate someone mentioned the fact that, if stupid women breed more, and smart women don't, and that if men choose as mates stupid women, we'd soon be a society divided in intelligent males, and cute stupid females."

Males would love to have smart and cute women as mates who stayed perpetually young and were stupid enough to marry them (hee hee hee).

Jamie said at November 3, 2005 5:55 PM:

Well, ever wonder why there are more smart women every decade? Why are more women going to college than men? Why do women want all of this.. simple, independence. Why would a woman want to be independent.. Simple.. they want to be valued not for their looks only, but their minds, their brain, etc. This is "naturally" happening in our society. More women are head of household than in the past. As women become more financially independent, the less they need men. They are more selective and self-condident. They don't need a man to make them complete. In fact, they might just be looking for a booty call, not kids and a family. In a good way and a bad way, they are becoming more like men..

I would consider myself intelligent. I hold an MA and a BA, and I am very attractive. My partner is extremely intelligent and would be bored to tears with "stupid" woman. I think insecure men are attracted to stupid women... very sad, but true. And, if men want women who can have children, yet they can't stand the thought of little junior walking around.. there goes that theory.

Sonya B said at November 17, 2005 12:56 PM:

This is a stupid debate. As an intelligent, financially secure woman and mother who has managed quite easily to find a very loving husband who prizes my intelligence and financial security and does not find it intimidating, I am insulted. To insinuate women need to dumb down and go back to the kitchen is dehumanizing. Women have made great strides towards financial and emotional independence despite men's foot on their heads pushing them down the whole way and our countries (U.S. and Britain) are the better for it. To insinuate all men are so intellectually and emotionally insecure they need a woman to be submissive and intellectually inferior to feel like a man is equally insulting to men.

It works both ways boys, women have a choice in the matter too. I would not date an insecure man who couldn't handle my intelligence and wanted me to be submissive. Women need to stop molding themselves to meet men's needs. Grow up boys if you want nurturing, go back to your mommy!

Julie said at December 7, 2005 9:50 AM:

I am a high IQ woman. I have experienced instances of all the suggested causes for the statistic that the higher the IQ, the less likely a woman will marry. Yes, men who are of low intelligence generally do not like me unless I deliberately play a dumb fox, and highly intelligent men are attracted to me because of conversation and wit. I have never had a problem with attracting men. Staying in a relationship is a whole different problem. I would have to say that because I have a lot of choices due to the ability to do anything (med school, phd, law school), I am therefore gun-shy of anything that will tie me down and cause me to miss out on an amazing opportunity. Yes, the idea of marriage is somewhat boring to me though I certainly understand the pros. Since I have options other than marriage, it will take a special man to convince me to get married.

Jamie said at January 11, 2006 4:40 PM:

Considering that High-IQ women have a High-IQ wouldn't it be safe to assume that if they truely wanted to be married they would find a way? Some High-IQ (wo)men, heck some lucky people in general, are just content with what they have, as well as what they don't.

People with High-IQ are often pushed in a certain direction and raised with a certain mindset (education=money=success=contentment) by their parents, teachers, etc. from the time the test results come back. And instead of working on themselves as a whole, body, mind, and soul/emotions, they are pushed to keep strengthining their mind.

Also, people with High-IQ are often lacking in Emotional IQ, (whether they are desensitized to emotions, totally oblivious, or unable to process emotions because their mind runs on logic, reason and book-smarts and emotions are often times illogical and without sound reason,) and if they do not learn what they need emotionally or learn how to provide emotionally for their partner chances are they won't be in a relationship long enough to logically and rationally consider marriage.

I have not struggled with emotional fulfillment, friendships, or finding a significant other. I grew up with the realization and understanding that I am an emotional person as well as an intelligent one and sucked up all the knowledge and understanding I could about what I needed to be fulfilled and happy and wanted to provide emotionally. Unlike another poster, I do/did not "dumb myself down" to establish long term relationships with men. I have found that hiding that aspect of me is virtually impossible, and that in doing so, in turn leads to a relationship built on a fallacious foundation which is not stable at all. If a man is intimidated by a High-IQ woman he wasn't the one for me and I moved on.

If someone, whether they have a High-IQ is not, feels like they are constantly failing in some aspect of their life (love-life perhaps?) they should step back and take a look at how they reflect themselves onto others and ask if how they are acting or reacting to others is helping or hurting them.

rosalind said at January 18, 2006 11:02 AM:

Yikes. Are we really still giving house room to evolutionary psychology? I know there is an awful lot of it about but it's got all the scientific validity of phrenology - ah, the never-ending list of specious "ologies"...
Why do I condemn it? Because it neither understands genetics nor epigentic factors, it's dull, it's dim,it's entirely post-hoc but it's oh, so very comforting for people who don't like to venture outside their own emotional and intellectual comfort zones.

rosalind said at January 18, 2006 11:06 AM:

BTW - this isn't a reply to Jamie's comments, but to the arguments defending sexism on grounds of essentialism. - For those quicker to write than read; essentialism here is the argument made (from effect to cause, heh, heh) that sexism, amongst other unappealling behaviours, is biologically innate to men & the poor, dear, little creatures just can't help themselves.

vanessa said at February 20, 2006 1:32 PM:

I must be one of those cute stupid females
I gave birth to three children
divorced their dad and married a more intelligent man and had another child and rised his daughter.

I'm not that stupid I run a successful wedding photography business
I hope you all find love and when you do contact me at www.photoness.co.uk

Luigi said at April 17, 2006 3:16 AM:

Ok ok ok...lol...After all has been said, I gotta say that it all boils down to this, human sexual nature. It seems like most women who are attracted to men(this excludes lesbians)are naturally attracted to ''confidence''''smart men''''bright men''''power''power could be many things, money, good looks that can attract women, the ''power'' or ability some men can have to date young beautiful women,muscles, physical strenght,popularity etc...On top of that women on general prefer to date men that are older...and the truth is, men are are the opposite!,men are attracted to youth, beauty, innocence, softness, tenderness, femeninity, delicacy, a certain ''cuteness'' in shyness,men fal in love for all those traits. It boils down to this, men want someone who they could be in control of, someone younger, someone weaker. Women are the opposite, it's always been that way, there are exceptions to this rule, but but this all goes back to the subconcious psychological mind and what attracts the opposite sex. It has to do with some level of domination and submission, which is sexual,the ying and the yang, and the differences of the sexes...it's a very complex subject, but it has to do with human nature and human instincts.

Maria said at September 25, 2006 2:31 PM:

As a PHD and an attractive, funny, straight female in a good relationship, & who has a great family & group of friends, I strongly encourage you to read the article in this link. Remember Mark Twain's saying: There are lies, damn lies and statistics ;)


Connie said at February 22, 2007 9:09 PM:

Randall Parker,

i understand that you feel the need to defend the pleasantly plump women of the world, i do too. im a petite 22 yr old femme. i consider myself very intelligent and it scares me to death. it hurts my feelings that im not considered desireable as a mother to be. i wish so much to have a home of my own one day and because of "scientific data" like such, im constantly struggling on how might i dumb myself down. im not fudgly but i have no boobs, and if i do gain weight it still doesn't go there..im scared and you guys suck! u talk about this like it's not afecting some of us. I feel the reason why smart women have trouble with men is because males constantly seek to challenge these women intellectually and not erotically...all women are women despite IQ levels. We wish for soemone to respect us and tell us we are beautiful and feel needed. Most men, in my experience, find it difficult to show respect without wanting women to jump hurdles that are set up to make them feel like "king". Smart women want 10% and give 100%..but many men don't put out.hehehehe..and so vice versa.

i love men. i want one and truly feel i need one. They're funny.hehe

Smart women might just need a reminder, a little ruffin up, so to speak, but it's not her fault, she's just trying to protect herself. sorry.k...thjkahf.ugh!

Melissa said at February 25, 2007 8:25 PM:

hi ladies and gents,

sorry i cant read all of the comments. i am a highly intelligent and successful woman and i am not married nor do i have children, so i guess i would be one of the statistics. the reason is feminism-but not what you think! i realize i dont need or want a relationship with one man, nor do i need kids to feel good about myself. i have incredible (safe) sex with many different men, and i dont think i could settle for one man in marriage! my life is sexually dynamic, exciting, romantic, rich... once i released the need for a relationship, i realized that i could really appreciate men, but my appetite for sexual variety in men became larger. if i choose to have a child, i have developed many wonderful friendships with men i am sexual with, and many have told me that because i am so amazing in bed, so appreciative of them, such an 'awesome' friend and cool girl, that they would marry me and father my children in a second. i think what makes our relationships so incredibly spectacular, is that there is no jealousy or suspicion, i encourage them to grow, i am not threatened by it since i have grown myself. i love my men for who they are, and not because they are going to offer me a diamond wedding ring. i am liberated from 'needing' men emotionally or financially. i love men, they fascinate me, i just can't settle for ONE right now.
you said:

"Men are more driven to seek physical beauty and youth as a result of selective pressures to seek fertile mates."

your use of language is slightly misleading: "select" and "fertile." men do not seek young/beautiful mates because of natural selection-this would suggest that it is genetic. men seek young/beautiful mates due to social conditioning, mainly because of monogamy and marriage (a younger wife means more children). BUT humans didnt evolve with monogamous sex! our genes are determined by millions of years of evolution, not by what happened 200 years ago, and through these millions of years of evolution, humans lived promiscously-and women selected sex partners, not men. in nature, males compete for the right to mate with females, ANY female they can get near, males do NOT select females, females select men, and as such, they would not be hardwired for a certain type of female. men certainly have preferences, but they are more likely due to conditioning than genetics or hardwiring.

if you don't believe that women were promiscous until very recently, you should google 'sperm competition.' you should also note that promiscous sexual behavior favors older females. this blows the top off of another common mistaken belief that men are hardwired to prefer younger (fertile) women--in nature, sex is often promiscous, no one knows where babies come from, and sex has many other functions: establishing social order, creating alliances, bonding, conflict resolution, pleasure, reproduction, etc. in fact, male chimps (who we share most of our genetic code with) prefer older females!! you dont have to believe me, google it!!

open your eyes, educate yourself! the world is full of knowledge. science is advancing at the speed of light and shattering so many old views.

Annie Sauter said at March 22, 2008 10:04 PM:

I am a woman with a fairly high IQ (135) and I have been married to the same guy who has a really high IQ of "in excess of 170". I would say that I am the dominant partner in most phases of the relationship. My husband is a potter and I am a writer. We have two kids. One is disabled. We had to spend more time raising her than raising our other daughter. I am now overweight. My husband is also kind of overweight. We have numerous friends in the same situation. So, the whole thing is ridiculous. Nature vs nurture crap. People have brains and know how to use them. Yes looks play a part, but less and less in what I see in my daughter's circle of friends. There are smart young women who are plump, fat, whatever marrying men who are smart and kind and love them very much. There are skinny women with no breast to speak of that young men find wildly attractive so, this all really means zip to any one but a drone. Oh and I am 57.

Thomas said at November 22, 2008 11:15 PM:

Jamie, Julie, Angie, Catherine, Emily, Connie, where are all the very smart, attractive, SINGLE women?

I'm a man, gifted, have always agreed with women's equality, and I would love to have had dates with very smart women, and had them as girlfriends, and marry one. But it's not fun living a life when none of you ever talk to me. You want men who are intelligent, respectful, emotionally available, and fun. Well, how fun do you think it is being virtually ignored my whole life?

I've had a handful of very attractive women smile at me, but you won't talk to me. If I'm a good man who agrees with women's equality, then how can it completely escape your minds that I'd like to be pursued, desired, and included too? Don't tell me you have no idea good men exist. How fun do you think it is to watch you sit on your asses, forcing the men to chase you (which will yield a pool of men with the highest percentage of jerks), seeing you get all the fun and all the power in controlling relationships, while I'm alone week after week, month after month, year after year?

Plenty of you women who say you're very smart find it easy to meet guys in bars. But I thought you don't like bars and clubs? Which bars and clubs are you going to? Every time I've gone to a bar over the years (not to mention other social venues), I'm bored stiff. I do my best to employ social skills to engage with people but it's so useless and I just feel empty afterwards. After years of this, I'm so used to being bored I don't even know if I know how to have or be fun. But you still demand that I be fun, don't you!?! It's so much administrative work just figuring out what's real and what's not, what you women want or don't want, where to go, what to do, I'm exhausted. Meanwhile, you women have no trouble having guys talk to you. It's fun to be ignored while you get all the attention, sure! Thanks women!

You're a smart women and have trouble finding men who respect you? If you're comparably attractive with me, come and talk to me! SF/Berkeley. And what bars do I go to to find you very smart women? I'd sure as hell like to know.

By the way, I agree that liking beautiful, young-ish women is evolutionarily innate. It's not all I value by a long shot, but beauty beats non-beauty. I like beautiful nature, beautiful architecture, beautiful design, and beautiful women, too. It's not due to socialization. Art (and its user, scumbag advertising) imitates life.

Kristen said at May 6, 2009 10:48 PM:

This is an interesting article. I was a psychology major, and have had many classes in Evolutionary Psychology, and have heard all of the arguments for Darwinian development of our personalities and attractions to one another. Personally, I think it is nonsense, and a great cop-out for guys who don't want to take responsibility for their own actions and boorish behavior (and women who are gold-diggers, for that matter). "Oh, it isn't my fault that I'm a womanizer -- it's in my genes!" Ridiculous. Let's use our minds and take some responsibility for ourselves. :)

morgkl6 said at February 24, 2010 9:51 PM:

I just wrote an article loosely related to this one. I wish I would have read this one first.


Anonymous said at March 5, 2010 11:04 PM:

I happen to be one of those people who like to devour knowledge like it's a drug. It is excruciatingly painful t for me to not have a partner that shares that same interest and inspires it. When I try to have relationships with people who aren't up to speed with me, I first try to catch them up but quickly find myself very discouraged and dissatisfied. I don't want to backpedal to go forward. I want someone who's got things a bit more figured out. There is an aspiration of growth that I look for in a partner something I also value in myself. I want an intellectual challenge. Have you're time, money, space, friends, and career but I can't settle for less intellectually because I start to suffer emotionally and cognitively.
I prefer my partner to be humanitarian, respectful, and egalitarian.
Having previously had relations with people who didn't share those same intellectual desires drained me from myself. I prefer mind-sex. Its not about a man running around with loads of dough or a huge house because I don't care about physical garbage that doesn't truly amount to anything in the end. I start to believe men are socially conditioned to throw away they're feminine qualities and in-turn lack personal fulfillment and try to make up for it my socially acceptable means of work and a career, wife and kids.

But I also happen to value monogamous relationships. I guess that's selfish but trying to be connected and satisfied with more than one person is very painful. I feel like a lot of men pursue polygamy more in pursuit of theory rather than reality. Because most men I talk to tend to prefer a committed relationship than one they attempt to remain detached from.

Maybe polygamy's great for some but for others monogamy works better and maybe that isn't lifelong monogamy but short runs of it. I think it is highly dependent on the person. A person's decisions to be monogamous or not is something to be looked at between themselves and their partner(s).

Lilith said at March 17, 2010 12:45 PM:

Whew! What to add to a 5 yr conversation? I have a high IQ. My mate has a high IQ. Both of our parents have high IQ's so I don't at all agree that males prefer the intellectually inferior/submissive female bit. Nor do I buy into the women prefer the older male as I am only 9 mos younger than my spouse and both of our parents ages are within 2 yrs of one another. It hasn't been my experience. Most men want a partner with an intellect that matches their own. Never once have I met a man who preferred dumb women. However, my circle consists of intellectually advantaged males so I concede that my view is perhaps skewed. In the male hierarchy, it is typically males with the least advantages that opt for the intellectually inferior or socially disadvantaged female. It's why you so many of the socially inept, physically and or mentally inferior men purchase women from the 3rd world under the ruse that feminism has destroyed all. It allows them to keep their dignity in tact& allows impoverished / disadvantaged women to improve an undesirable situation. So it works out for both partners - to each their own. That being said, what I HAVE noticed, is that men & women are selecting partners for specific traits that they want to pass along to their children - be it intellect, talent or physicality. I come from a highly musical family - maternally & paternally. I (as well as my siblings)am highly musical. My brother & I chose mates whose musical ability matched our own, thus producing musical children - even prodigies perhaps. We both dated wonderful people over the years but if they lacked in musical ability, it was a deal breaker for marriage. My sister however, married a non musical man and spawned three of the most tone deaf children ever to have burst through loins. She adores her children (as do we all) yet they are left out of the talent, honor and camaraderie that is our family through music. I had read that musical talent wasn't a dominant trait, warned my siblings of the fact & only my brother listened. Many of my friends chose their mates not for money or security since women support themselves(since we've moved from the farm to the city) but for traits they wish to pass along to their children. Most of all, intelligence. If the intelligent chose intelligent partners who in turn have a higher chance of producing intelligent children, the world will only be better for it.

Gypsy said at May 9, 2010 3:13 AM:

I was born in South Africa, grew up in New zealand, but still frequently visit my birth country. Iv'e found a huge difference on average with the cultures in terms of traditional male dominace and female more subbmisive roles. which has led me to do alot of research on the topic.Majority of Afrikaaners i meet, inquired about and were exposed to, regardless of how educated/itelligent they as individuals were (or their parents social status in relation to each other/the class system as a whole)didn't alter the fact that they shared in some traits of the dominating male role. It seemed to have been ingrained in the culture and when imigrating, still carried out, even if in the smallest of signs. On average the men i've meet in a romantic sense here in New zealand however seem to naturaly want to put their 'love' (woman) on a pedalstool over carrying out strong acts of dominace.this is not to say the overly dominating males (or subbmisive females don't still exist here, but i'm talking on average.)This ive discovered is due to the fact that South Africa for many years because of it's political situation were very much cut of from other 'western societies'. Even today they do not recieve as much bands visiting, certain media etc, Resulting in their cultural male/female roles being kept in the same traditional bubble. This theory also applies to those other middle Eastern/African countries discussed on the topic of just whats percieved as attractive. Today the more intelligent women is highly sought after in western societies because more woman ARE claiming themseleves as 'equal' to mans abiltiy and intelligence, due to being granted equal chance-Education & voice.
men & women alike are very VARIED in what they find attractive in countries and people whove been granted such perception & understanding of ALL THE VARIATIONS AVAILABLE! some liking thin, some curvy and some on the larger side. Male dominance or the biological/primal desire for curvier women isn't being lost in parterships AT ALL were the individuals desire for it remains at top value. Sexually, or otherwise on average this traditional role are still prefered. But Like physical attraction is measured by the eye of the beholder when the time comes when looking for a future partner. ofcorse today one huge reason for it being soo varried even within the same culture, is due to the wide perspective many of us today have been granteed and exposed to, due to technology, the media and offcorse countries acceptance to embrace being multi cultural.

dond said at November 19, 2010 11:58 AM:

Women want men that are gorgeous too. Beautiful full thick head of hair, smooth soft skin, strong jawline, large shoulders, tall, pretty eyes, nice smile. If he is smart and competent that is icing on the cake as men on average are not as intelligent as women. There are more men that are at a genius level of intelligence, but there are not that many men at that level. In the average arena women are more intelligent than the average male and have to choose amongst these men and the very unintelligent males.

Leslie said at February 9, 2011 10:14 PM:

May I throw in a few old bones to chew on?

We're still working it out.

People didn't live to be this old. Until very recently, women were pregnant ALL THE TIME! And they and the babies often died. Marriage is now a long-term investment.

Selecting a mate? Healthy for both. Wealthy for the male so that the female could stay home and protect the little ones from rats and poisonous, leaping spiders. (Of course women usually hate vermine, they can't have them around the babies. Life was not as safe from vermin as it is now. A woman that married a man that could not support the family ran the risk of a baby getting ill or injured if she worked outside the home and didn't have the people to substitute for her. ... and, she was pregnant ALL THE TIME. She needed him to have the ability to physically survive during hard times or at least provide enough if he didn't.

Selecting a lover? Both needed someone as healthy as possible and I'm still of a mind that at heart, men are still hunters and women are still gatherers (shoppers). In the 1920s women in the U.S. were to look like babies to be attractive. Chubby legs, round faces, flat chests, baby voices. That was called attractive. The hats of the flappers were round like a baby's head. Their dance was like a little child's. Men like youthful looking women? The flapper was really extreme, but there it was.

Women having choices is so new. My experience has been that the more formally educated the women, the few the kids. Having no children is more often the case than not where I live. They postpone marriage because they can. Many choose to go childless, because they can.

I read a study years ago about happiness and marriage. The happiest are married men. Then married women. Then unmarried women. And the most unhappy, unmarried men. A nice, healthy young lady to live as long as you. Vibrant, fresh faced. And those 1920s flappers. The theaters showed beautiful, baby-faced girls as the most desirable.

I'm abandoning this post before it becomes a novelette about what I think about women feeling inadequate because they didn't look like chubby babies.

Klayka said at April 27, 2012 11:49 PM:

No us intelligent guys love dumb women. It's incredibly easy to get their panties around their heads. And do the horizontal/vertical mumba till the dawn. And then leave with some typical dumb-a$$ excuse so they will leave us alone for an extended period before our next mating.

Smart women are just annoying. I don't wanna discuss Proust, I wanna $Ģ^&!

Shelley greenaway said at January 29, 2013 11:57 AM:

really, are these surveys meant for homo sapiens or Neanderthals?! WAKE UP! this is 2013 not the stone age! not all people followthe pre programmed course of life like robots! if a guy wants some hot, brainless bimbo, then he is in for a rude awakening, same with a woman if she wants a wealthy mr right, because *gasp* we are all different, not pre programmed stepford people who follow life's script! so go and find the guy or girl you love, now what society tells you to love!

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