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August 13, 2003

Youngish looking

Dienekes posts on neoteny. Sticky subject, props to him for tangling with it, though good luck in getting 10 people to agree on attractiveness and what makes baby look like a baby.

Godless comments:

Dienekes' post is full of assertions. I don't know which ones are true and which ones are not as he provides no sources for his generalizations. Very anecdotal...

Razib updates: He's at it again, talking about blondness. I joked that his position is that blondes are oogly....

Posted by razib at 01:08 AM




It is well known what makes a baby look like a baby as opposed to an adult. Any pediatrician knows this stuff. For example, babies have short chubby legs that are unable to hold the weight of their big trunk, and short hands with tiny chubby fingers, "baby fat" in the face, etc. All these features make them "cute" and likable, but obviously not all of them are attractive when preserved into adulthood.

Posted by: Dienekes at August 13, 2003 02:41 AM


I agree with Godless. For example, lots of women don't like hairy men, quite contrary to Dienekes assertion. If not, what are all those male models doing with shaven bodies?

Posted by: Jason Soon at August 13, 2003 07:15 AM


Its kind of funny, b/c DP has always been egalitarian about intelligence and abilities, but he's ready to fight and offend with this beauty stuff :D. i can't tell if he's just trying to be provocative with his 'blondeness evolved to hide the faces of ugly northern european women' thesis, but it gave me a smile none-the-less.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at August 13, 2003 08:14 AM


By the way, what's up with the Neoteny site on the h-bd links? I found it a long time ago too, but it seemed pretty crankish.

eg. " . . .In other words we evolved because of females picking the most talented people at communicating tribal, physical and yet self-transcending love; a consciousness that both exists in the individual and transcends the individual. "

Is this really far from Gaia, the earth mother, stuff?

Posted by: Jason Malloy at August 13, 2003 08:20 AM


>> I'm speaking more about the factual assertions you make about short limbs and the like in
populations,

The long-limbedness of Negroids and short-limbedness of Mongoloids is well known in physical anthropology. Read up on it.

>> about how X group finds Y feature unattractive, and about how much neoteny is prized.

Read the post on the Perfect Face on my blog, to see the empirical findings of the German study. The fact that large eyes, big lips and the like are prized in women is well-known. As for long limbs, you just need to take a look at all successful models/actresses.

>> Some kind of statistical or survey data would be useful. As it stands your piece has no references or links whatsoever. Probably some of that data is out there, but I'm too lazy to hunt for it, and if your piece is to be informative (rather than simply a set of assertions) it should have some empiricism...

Laziness is a vice.

Posted by: Dienekes at August 13, 2003 11:01 AM


>> For example, lots of women don't like hairy men, quite contrary to Dienekes assertion. If not, what are all those male models doing with shaven bodies?

I have recently posted about hirsuteness in men as a sign of attractiveness. Clearly, the empirical data is there. There is extensive study of the effects of beards on attractiveness, search in PsycInfo for tons of studies.

Posted by: Dienekes at August 13, 2003 11:02 AM


>> i can't tell if he's just trying to be provocative with his 'blondeness evolved to hide the faces of ugly northern european women' thesis, but it gave me a smile none-the-less.

I'm very serious about my theory. Of course I'm in no position to test it, so I have to make do with my personal impressions for empirical support. In terms of internal consistency the theory stands quite well, I believe, certainly on a par with the "shiny predator target" hypothesis.

Posted by: Dienekes at August 13, 2003 11:05 AM


By the way, what's up with the Neoteny site on the h-bd links? I found it a long time ago too, but it seemed pretty crankish.

the underlying theory is REALLY crankish, but a lot of the undrelying data seems OK, he just reinterprets in a fucked up way.

Posted by: razib at August 13, 2003 11:06 AM


I have recently posted about hirsuteness in men as a sign of attractiveness.

That wasn't a cross-cultural study, so its conclusions can't fairly be applied cross-culturally, esp. to populations that aren't very hairy. In fact I think I've come across information indicating that Asians find European levels of body hair fairly repulsive.

Posted by: Jason Malloy at August 13, 2003 05:51 PM


>> I rest my case.

You don't have a case. Your case can be summed up to the following: [sarcasm]"I have not read Carleton Coon's Racial Adaptations, or Living Races of Man, or Renato Biasutti's Le Razze ei popoli della terra, or any physical anthropological work that discusses such well-known matters as limb ratios, body types, hirsuteness, etc.. However, even though I don't know anything about physical anthropology, I will make continuous posts repeating endlessly that Mongoloid women are more beautiful on average than Caucasoid women and mixed Eurasian women are more beautiful than both, basing this assertion on a few random selection of models from the Internet and my personal impression of their relative representation in the porn industry."[/sarcasm]

Posted by: Dienekes at August 14, 2003 03:52 AM


>> That wasn't a cross-cultural study, so its conclusions can't fairly be applied cross-culturally, esp. to populations that aren't very hairy.

That is precisely what I wrote in my post "On Blondness". That while some traits (e.g., hairlessness) are paedomorphic, they do not necessarily confer an advantage across racial boundaries. So, e.g., the paedomorphic Mongoloid/Negroid noses don't look "cute" to Caucasoids who prefer narrow noses.

Posted by: Dienekes at August 14, 2003 03:59 AM


"If not, what are all those male models doing with shaven bodies?"

I agree, not all women like hairy men, but all those male models are shaven to ATTRACT hairy Papa bears.

As for blonds, I have noticed that a high number of natural blonds have thickish hausfrau facial features. It`s also true that a nothing-special face can be turned into a mildly attractive girl with a blond dye job. But most pretty brunettes outside of California and Texas decide, after a playful experiment, the it`s not worth the trouble.

Posted by: duende at August 14, 2003 04:55 AM


"That while some traits (e.g., hairlessness) are paedomorphic, they do not necessarily confer an advantage across racial boundaries. "

Oh, I get it. So what you meant was:

"Mongoloids have absence of hair (both facial and in the body). This is neotenous for all races, but it is not admired by all; indeed, it is not [statistically] very attractive in males [to Caucasoid women]"

So, do you believe that races have different innate aesthetic tastes?

Posted by: Jason Malloy at August 14, 2003 07:42 AM


In my family (Americans of mostly mixed northwest European ancestry), it's pretty common for small children to have light-colored hair that gets darker as they grow up. E.g., one of my grandsons was apparently blond, but right now at 3 years old his hair is looking more like light brown. I wouldn't be surprised his hair is dark brown as an adult. So if neoteny is attractive, maybe it explains all the bleached hair in European women. Or maybe it just explains why it's hard to take blonds seriously. (Especially Brad Pitt.)

OTOH, if blondness is sexually attractive because it reminds men of children, ewwww! I suspect that actually blonds are especially attractive when they are a rarity just because they are rare. Now there's a whole big cultural thing grown up around bleached hair, so in America a woman with natural dark brown hair is probably a woman that doesn't consider it worthwhile to try to be "sexy". Maybe you'll marry her, but you'd rather date one that's amping up the sex appeal.

As for my own tastes - now, Sandra Bullock is my ideal woman. But when I was in high school, blonds would make me lose the power of speech.

Posted by: markm at August 16, 2003 08:13 PM