THE PATTERNS OF ATTRACTIVENESS OF WOMEN'S AND MEN'S BODIES. WAS EVOLUTION UNFAIR TO WOMEN?
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The comparisons between psychological well-being of men and women have pointed to poorer quality of lives of the latter. At the same time females seem to be more focused on their physical attractiveness and less satisfied with it than males. Some regularities described by evolutionary psychology suggest that the lower women's level of satisfaction with their looks and negative consequences it brings for their psychological well-being might stem from evolutionary determined differences in psychological mechanisms of evaluating physical attractiveness of each gender.The experiment was carried out to test the hypothesis that a single commonly shared pattern of the attractiveness of the female's figure exists in contemporary people's minds, whereas no such a common pattern can be identified for the man's figure. As a result, women's physical attractiveness was expected to be assessed more severely than men's one. Moreover, the most attractive female figure was expected to be evaluated more positively than the most attractive male figure. The subjects assessed the attractiveness of male and female figures shown in drawings. The male and female figures varied along three anatomical parameters: the chest-to-hip ratio, the waist-to-hip ratio and massiveness.The predictions were fully confirmed by the obtained results. It was found that 70% of the participants considered the same female figure to be the most attractive, whereas no more than 30% of the subjects agreed on the most attractive male figure; different male figures were pointed to be the most attractive by relatively small percentages (27-7%) of the subjects. None of the male figures received as high evaluations as the most attractive female figure. On the other hand fewer female figures were considered to be 'attractive' compared with the male ones, and more of the female figures were labelled as 'unattractive'.The identified difference in the mechanisms of evaluating men and women's physical attractiveness make it more difficult for an average woman to be perceived as attractive than for an average man, which might - even if only partly - explain the disparity between men's and women's psychological well-being.
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