JBBS  Vol.5 No.13 , December 2015
Changing Male Preferences for Female Body Type in the US: An Adaptive Response to a Changing Socioeconomic Climate
The debate over changing ideals of beauty in Western society remains unresolved more than 20 years after Singh’s (1993) seminal study [1] suggesting there was a universal male preference for a female body shape with a low waist to hip ratio (circa 0.7), which relates to maximum fecundity. Subsequent research has supported this universal preference while other studies have found that male preferences may be context dependent and capable of calibrating in response to the specific selection pressures of differing socio-ecologies. The current paper aims to help resolve this uncertainty with an analysis of body measurements of female models who were Playboy centrefolds from 1953-2014. Height is shown to increase significantly over time (beyond a level that could be attributed to a positive secular trend). Along with a significant increase in waist to hip ratio (WHR) (i.e. more tubular) and a significant decrease in Body Mass Index (BMI), these results represent a shift in male preferences away from signals of maximum fecundity, and towards a more androgenic female body shape. Contemporary research indicates that increasing height in women is positively associated with career orientation and negatively with reproduction ambition, thus the change in Western male preferences may be interpreted as an adaptive response to ecological conditions where a smaller family size and greater involvement of female partners in resource acquisition is adaptive.

Cite this paper
Deady, D. and Smith, M. (2015) Changing Male Preferences for Female Body Type in the US: An Adaptive Response to a Changing Socioeconomic Climate. Journal of Behavioral and Brain Science, 5, 570-577. doi: 10.4236/jbbs.2015.513054.
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