Solely In Black and White: Boy, she is Beautiful… Umm… What was I Saying…?

Monday, August 16, 2010

Boy, she is Beautiful… Umm… What was I Saying…?

While digging through the recesses of my brain, filled under archives perhaps, I found some articles of interest. The first article of note was written by Jonathan Leake in The Sunday Times and is titled, Women are getting more beautiful. This article, as it is aptly named, goes on to describe scientifically why women are getting more beautiful as time progresses:

Scientists have found that evolution is driving women to become ever more beautiful, while men remain as aesthetically unappealing as their caveman ancestors.
The researchers have found beautiful women have more children than their plainer counterparts and that a higher proportion of those children are female. Those daughters, once adult, also tend to be attractive and so repeat the pattern.
Over generations, the scientists argue, this has led to women becoming steadily more aesthetically pleasing, a “beauty race” that is still on. The findings have emerged from a series of studies of physical attractiveness and its links to reproductive success in humans.
In a study released last week, Markus Jokela, a researcher at the University of Helsinki, found beautiful women had up to 16% more children than their plainer counterparts. He used data gathered in America, in which 1,244 women and 997 men were followed through four decades of life. Their attractiveness was assessed from photographs taken during the study, which also collected data on the number of children they had.
In men, by contrast, good looks appear to count for little, with handsome men being no more successful than others in terms of numbers of children. This means there has been little pressure for men’s appearance to evolve.
click here for the full article

Accordingly, one would think that this dramatic evolutionary process would be good for men, or perhaps men would evolve in some way during the period in question. Then again, who really knows...? From a sociological perspective, perhaps this research is propelling the supposed "shidduch crisis" further, as boys currently on the market believe "younger" girls will be more attractive based on the logical conclusion drawn according the research material presented above. Well... probably not… However it is interesting to note that according to an article in The Telegraph by Pat Hagan, titled “Men lose their minds speaking to pretty women,” it would appear that attractive women are not good for mens' brain. Compounded with the first article, that the sheer number of attractive women is only increasing, we have a very interesting, and potentially disastrous situation on our hands:

Researchers who carried out the study, published in the Journal of Experimental and Social Psychology, think the reason may be that men use up so much of their brain function or 'cognitive resources' trying to impress beautiful women, they have little left for other tasks. 
Women, however, were not affected by chatting to a handsome man.
Psychologists at Radboud University in The Netherlands carried out the study after one of them was so struck on impressing an attractive woman he had never met before, that he could not remember his address when she asked him where he lived. 
Researchers said it was as if he was so keen to make an impression he 'temporarily absorbed most of his cognitive resources.' 
click here for the full article

Call me a skeptic, but I think the research might be a tad off. I mean come on, maybe when one begins dating, or if one were an anti-social reclusive researcher who had never spoken to a girl before, sort of like an extreme version of the current day yeshiva guy, there might be some noticeable cognitive decline in the presence of a striking female the very first time the two came into contact, but constantly and forever thereafter? I think not. Consequently, if this research were true, I would imagine there’d be so many more great, or more appropriately coined, hilarious dating stories! Although, I have to say, this has got to be the ultimate dating excuse. If a guy ever says anything wrong on a date, he can plead cognitive deficiency due to preexisting, albeit beautiful, circumstances. ;-) What could go wrong with that? :-)

Now what was I talking about about...? :-/ Oh right.... :-P


  1. LOL! oooh the power of women. I do think though that women feel more pressure to BE beautiful not necesarily that that they are becoming more beautiful! As evidenced by the article, beautiful women are more succesful at finding a mate and reproducing....while men can look however they want to- and still be succesful. It's remarkably unfair! This is ESPECIALLY true in the shidduch world. Unattractive girls have SUCH a hard time- whereas an unattractive guy can get by. Also, there's a broader range considered acceptable for a man to be attractive- while for a woman to be attractive- it's a much narrower range of possible features....

  2. Have you lost your mind? ;-)

  3. @ShmeichalyMaidel:
    I hear that. Accordingly, I could very well be that women wear more makeup nowadays as well, although that is a topic I am thankfully not well versed in. ;-) As far as dresses go, I know for a fact that throughout history women have adorned themselves in quite fashionable attire. Don’t you agree? :-)

    Overall I think it’s hard to come to a conclusion, mostly because I don’t know enough about either history or the actual research to accept or dispel either conclusion. But yes, I completely agree that unattractive girls, unfairly, have a harder time with regards to dating than boys.

    But the question I have for you is this: According to your argument that women aren’t actually becoming more beautiful, do you think that the second article still holds true? Or more specifically, do you think men lose their minds nowadays, especially considering the dynamics of the shidduch scene?

    Totally. That’s what happens when you get engaged. ;-) I assume its par for the course. :-) I’ve already been accused of turning into a chossenzilla so who knows…. :-p

  4. Well, I gotta say that was quite an interesting choice of topic to discuss on your blog...
    but my favorite line was:
    "Although, I have to say, this has got to be the ultimate dating excuse. If a guy ever says anything wrong on a date, he can plead cognitive deficiency due to preexisting, albeit beautiful, circumstances. " :) haha

  5. Aidell: I don't know what to tell you, Mrs. Shadchan. He barely knew how to string a sentence together, let alone make eye contact. Why would I say yes to another date?

    Mrs. Shadchan: Look, I'll let you know what her told me. He said he was so astounded by your radiant beauty that he just lost his head. In fact, he told me you are the most beautiful girl he has ever seen in his entire life.

    Aidel: Wow, well in that case...

    Mrs.Shadchan: He'll see you in the lobby of the Marriot Marquis this Thursday night at 7.

    Yup, I can see that happening; not in most cases but it is definitely a possibility. It's a bit of a dramatization,but not by much. One of a woman's integral needs is to feel beautiful.

    Very interesting post!

  6. @tembow:
    I think this post is less shocking now that I am engaged. Just imagine if I had posted it while I was still single?! That would be interesting. ;-)

    I think I know that guy! :-) Are you implying that men are preying on women’s integral needs just to shield our ignorance? That sounds like a conspiracy theory… oh wait a second… :-p

  7. I'd like to note that the latter study had students chatting up woman they'd never met before.

    Perhaps it is a temporary phenomenon. Or maybe when we are trying to impress someone there are all sorts of other factors (anxiety, preoccupation with the effort being exerted, concern about how the other person is perceiving us) that takes up our mental energy. The difference between men and women may simply have had to do with "trying to impress" and for men that comes into play more with a woman's looks (or the women used were more beautiful than the men in the study).

    In fact, I realized that when I'm trying less, I'm a lot more relaxed, open and perceptive as opposed to being concerned with how I'm coming across. I get noticed more when I'm not thinking about impressing others and just being myself.


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