January 14, 2008

Survival of the Hottest

In "The Theory of Dyevolution" in the eXile, Richard Bickerstaff riffs on the Cochranian theory of accelerating evolution to suggest that the horrific shortage of men in Russia after WWII led to sexual selection for good looks in women.

Is Natural Selection really over? I thought so, But show me a really attractive woman from a photograph before 1910. Being unable to find first-rate hotness in history always perplexed me. The only solution I could conceive was one of those pitiful sophomore "social-constructionist" arguments, which never comfortably rested with my libido. But research recently published in the Proceedings of the U.S. National Academy of Sciences asserts human evolution has sped up since the invention of agriculture. The authors claim human genetic change has been happening at 100 times the rate of any other period over the last 5,000 years. Since eXile-readers share an interest in hot Soviet-bloc girls and war, I'd like to present a related theory that the two are inextricably linked.

The estimate for Soviet War dead in World War 2 is 24 million (plus five million, if you count Poland). The Soviet casualties are split pretty evenly between military and civilian. The military casualties were men--young men, most without children. Civilian casualties are likely stacked 2-1, men to women. The battle-plan on the Eastern Front was basically Gary Brecher's genocidal "primitive warfare"; men were most worth butchering, whatever the situation, and the nearer to fighting (marrying) age, the better. While the Nazis wanted to exterminate whole Slavic populations for "living space," women were killed less promiscuously. Stalinist purges, likewise, focusing mainly on party-members, also targeted men.

This left Eastern Europe, postwar, with a serious demographic shortage of men of marrying age. [More]

I like this article, and I like Bickerstaff's style. Still, my impression is that the numbers generally don't work out on these kind of single-generation selection event theories. This reminds me of the old theory that Steve Levitt's Harvard economist buddy Roland Fryer is trying to revive that African-Americans have high blood pressure on average because of the high death rate on slave ships selected for salt retention.

Via email, Greg Cochran pointed out to Fryer:

The reason it wouldn't have an important effect is that you don't get a lot of genetic change in one generation unless you try _really_ hard. If they lost the bottom 15% of the people (in terms of salt retention) during the Middle Passage, a cutoff of about one std below average, the increase in salt retention would be about a tenth or so of a standard deviation, assuming a narrow-sense heritability of 50%. You'd never notice the difference. [And, of course, genetic differences in salt retention didn't cause all the deaths in the Middle Passage, so this estimate is optimistic.]

But Fryer wasn't interested in listening to Cochran. After all, what does Cochran know about evolution and genetics compared to a Harvard economist?

Still, the Soviet sex-ratio skew after WWII is a fascinating event that must have had a lot of impact on society, but I've seldom read much about it.

By the way, in Old Master paintings, most girls are a little funny-looking. One partial exception is Botticelli. For example, at Venice Beach in LA around 1980, somebody painted a large-scale mural version of Botticelli's Venus as a roller-skater girl.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer


Garland said...

It always seems so anachronistic in century-or-more-ago period movies when all the women are hot. Not because of the usual photogenic movie person thing, but on top of that.

Actually, I even find it a little suspect in periods more than a couple decades ago.

Matt Parrott said...

Does that hypothesis sound familiar to you, Steve?


I'm in agreement, though, that a single generation seems like an awfully short time for there to be a turnaround.

I'm curious about whether societies in this condition resorted to some form of informal polygyny? What did they do with all the maids? Can it be held as something approaching a law that societies that experience a profound gender imbalance will resort to polygamy?

Anonymous said...

How did they measure "hotness"? A pretty subjective quality to measure and one open to a lot of manipulation.

I've read a recent poll where Russia and Columbia were two of the top three countries for percent income spent for woman's beauty/health products. Other attractive countries like S. Korea and Brazil have some of the highest cosmetic surgery rates in the world.

I heard a Russian say their attitude was something like: there are no ulgy women, only lazy ones. Indeed, a lot of the Slavic features are not that great when you look closely, but man do they clean up nicely and put time into working it.

If there is a genetic explaination for slavic hotness, I would image it has to do with centuries of being a historical invasion battle ground with a lot subjugating and mixing. The resulting diversity should result in some really uggos as well as beauties with selection amplifying the latter (it a country with a long, brual history).

The other fact is selective memory. Only the most beautiful women are generally remembered. The most beautiful women today have cheek implants, breast implants, brow lifts, liposuction, personal trainers, the best of a very evolved fashion and beauty industry futher idealized by modern photography and airbrushing.

No way Miss 1900 is going to match that on her faded silver nitrate celluloid glass plate.

Grumpy Old Man said...

Another place to test this notion would be Paraguay. Something like half the males were killed in the Paraguay war in the 19th Century--Paraguay took on Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay. She lost.

If Paraguayan women are particularly foxy, it hasn't come to the attention of the media.

Anonymous said...

Could there be a genetic shift in what men find attractive as opposed to how women look? If you think that women have changed in attractiveness since say, 1900, you have to assume that most women are attractive today and most were not in 1900. This is just not true. The women that were photographed in 1900 looked different in general than women who get photographed (or painted) today. So it is men's tastes in women that have changed since then. A man from 1900 may look at a picture of Jessica Alba and wonder what all of the fuss is about.

Steve Sailer said...

However, pre-Raphaelite maidens from mid-Victorian British paintings are pretty spectacular.

Anonymous said...

Only recently has the stereotype of the super-hott Russian woman gotten much attention in America. Until a decade or so ago, Russian women were more commonly stereotyped as chunky babushka types.

My guess is that the growth of the mail-order bride industry, which draws heavily on Russian and Eastern European women, is somehow related to the "rehabilitation" of the Russian woman stereotype.

Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure it is only because of changing tastes. There seems to be a "cut-off" after which, for some reason, female attractiveness increased by modern standards. In other words, yes, the standards of the 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s, etc, changed and were not identical. Different looks were "in." However, looking at "attractive women" from, say, the 1940s - movie stars for example - one can observe something familiar. Looking at, as stated, "before 1910" and the situation changes. The "beautiful women" before that time look uniformly ugly at least to my eyes.

Why this is so, I'm not sure. Agreed that evolution of phenotype cannot be so quick, in general. Health and nutrition? Stress and aging rate?

Anonymous said...

The increase in Russian hotness is mostly due to nutrition and access to beauty products. I mean the same phenomenon can be observed in Italy - where are the hot Italian chicks in 1910? - and they didn't suffer war casualties to anywhere near the same extent. It's all peasant girls and dowdy old ladies. But today Italian women are often stunning. Also I've lived in Russia for years, and the mothers and grandmothers of todays hot dyevs are often butt ugly - presumably due to the ravages of a hard life. I think the majority of people can manage to make themselves look attractive if they put some effort into it.

The skewing of the Soviet sex ration did have a dramatic effect - it is likely one of the reasons ex-Soviet society is one of the most promiscuous on the planet. Some American (sorry can't recall the name) did a survey on infidelity, and Russia is off the charts in terms of acceptance of marital infidelity. Something like 50% of married Russians had sex with another partner over the previous year, compared to 3% in the US, 3% in France, and 5% in the UK. One cause may be that the pressure of the sex ratio gives men a lot more leeway to cheat, and the women are more willing to forgive. (But an alternative theory that I've been told by Russians is that the stifling boredom of Soviet society led many people to turn to sex as cheap available entertainment).

Anonymous said...

Many of the current Maxim 100 hottest women would have probably looked diseased to men pre-1900. When you think that Christina Aguilera and Nicole Richie had children by C-section may not have survived child birth pre-1900. Kiera Knightley would not have been considered good wife material in the Victorian Age since she would have had trouble having children and would have been as risk of not surviving many of the endemic diseases.

Unknown said...

Fun speculations. FWIW, I do find a lot of actresses from silent movies and early sound movies mighty hot, though the general hotness level certainly can't compare to what's around now. Orthodenture and dentistry generally seem to me to deserve a lot of the credit for that. Man oh man did people used to have mouthfuls of straggly teeth.

But so much that's non-genetic comes into play too. Hair dyes, for instance -- bleaches and dyes used to really fry women's hair, for instance. We take flowing, elegant hair for granted in popular culture, but back in the '20s the best most women could manage was coarse and frizzy.

Fabrics too. Everything these days is clingy, flowing, gorgeously cut, and has a beautiful sheen. There are some beautiful costumes in early film (Lubitsch often dressed his women wittily and slinkily), but the fabrics themselves are quite rough compared to what we have now.

Plus workouts and fitness, of course. Gals didn't used to take a lot of trouble to make sure their upper arms didn't fall apart, for instance.

Anonymous said...

I was in St. Petersburg a few months ago and can confirm that Russian women are quite good looking. Why? Who knows, but the effect is remarkable.

Anonymous said...

However, pre-Raphaelite maidens from mid-Victorian British paintings are pretty spectacular.

gainsborough, sargent, sir thomas lawrence all painting women who were quite attractive - rennaisance painters really didn't because they were painting patrons or madonnas ...but ...classical sculpture has attractive women , and there is the bust of Neferetti or however you spell it.

Anonymous said...

I don't see too many of what might really be considered (in today's terms) handsome men in old photos, either. I attribute a lot of this to the photographic methods of the time. Film, incl plates, was often very contrasty, lending a harsh "craggy" look to facial features, exaggerating imperfections. Same effect from the lighting, which was usually a nuke-like explosion of magnesium powder that revealed all flaws. I wonder what today's hot models would look like photographed under those circumstances? Also, it was not until well into the 20th century that it became fashionable to smile (say cheese,) and try to look "pretty" (or like a grinning idiot) for photos. Prior to that, the norm was to assume a serious, sober expression -- as you would if having your portrait painted. For a lot of people this resulted in an unnaturally grim, dour look, which doesn't convey attractiveness, either, particularly in women.

It's also interesting to observe the crowds of extras in old movies. Although particular "types" were requested for certain isolated shots, the big crowd scenes were usually mass calls randomly-picked from the vast files of the Central Casting Bureau. I have no problem picking out women in these crowds from 70+ years ago who would be considered attractive in today's world. (Indeed, many of the leading ladies of the day, keen on eliminating scene stealers, would routinely scan the crowds of extras and ask that the more obviously attractive women be pulled out & sent home.) By the way these old crowd scenes -- when compared to the herd at your local mall -- are *very* graphic evidence of the huge increase in obesity today, esp among women. So, if you attach some importance to body type when appraising attractiveness, you might conclude that a random sample of women of the 1920s and 1930s reveals that they were, in this respect at least, *more* attractive on the average than today.

SAVANT said...

This is fascinating and could explain the puzzle. In Ireland, approximately 10% of the population is from Easter Europe (up from almost zero 15 years ago). The women are generally gorgeous - tall, slim, with pale blue eyes.

Roll on WW IV, I say!

Anonymous said...

Ever wondered how many German children born in 1946 or so had a Russian or an Anglo-American Daddy?

Or how many French kiddies of the same or a little earlier vintage had a German or English speaking Pop?

Can't that there were any noticeable improvements in the French subspecies because of this hybridization, however.

Anonymous said...

The Germans in Berlin were quite amazed by the preference shown by Russian soldiers for plump (fat) women. This is very well documented.

So much for the survival of the hottest theory in postwar USSR.

Grumpy Old Man said...

I did some quick Internet checking. The War of the Triple Alliance (Paraguay War) killed half the Paraguyan population (or more) and as many as 90% of the men.

What the selective effect of this might be is anyone's guess. It would have favored the men motivated and able to avoid the fighting, and to the extent there wasn't polygyny after the war, more attractive women.

agnostic said...

Some Slavic countries have higher pathogen loads, which does correlate with a higher emphasis on good looks in choosing a mate, and so which probably accounts for some of the variance in looks in the area.

Poland and Bulgaria have pretty high loads, and indeed the Southern Slavic countries as a whole are on or near the Mediterranean, which has a higher disease burden. When Western men go trophy-shopping, they usually go to the Southern Slavic areas -- it's not hard to see why.

Re: change within two - three generations, probably better environmental conditions. Look at upper-caste South Asians who were raised in their native disease hellhole vs. the US or UK. Just think: what if those Bollywood bombshells had been raised in better conditions? They'd break the hotness scales, I think.

Joe said...

I too have puzzled about the lack of hotties in older photographs, but my explanation is rather boring. Old photographs are chiefly of ordinary people. If you look at modern photographs of ordinary people, the hottie level drops drastically. My theory is that the number of really attractive women in any given society is very small. Modern communication has allowed that small percentage to monetize their looks at vastly greater rates than in the past, chiefly through highly visible means.

An additional, even more boring explanation, is that older photographs simply weren't complimentary to looks. The nature of the process and lack of skill of most photographers made you look heavier, especially in the face.

Finally, there's the simple issue of fashion. I've seen racy postcards from WWI. At first glance the women weren't that attractive, but I realized that a big part of that was their poses and fashion, especially their hair and eye makeup.

Anonymous said...

First, didn't medieval/renaissance artists paint male bodies then feminize them to create their female figures?

Second, if evolution is selecting for "hotness" in women it must be selecting for Danny Devito in men. This being the case, the dorky will always be with us b/c there will be the unfortunate female children who inherit their father's looks rather than their mother's.

Anonymous said...

"But show me a really attractive woman from a photograph before 1910."

That's an overly simplistic statement, to put it kindly.

In the first place, standards of attractiveness have changed, particularly with reference to weight. It used to be considered attractive for a woman to be slightly plump. Even more recently, "hot" women - e.g. Hollywood sex symbols - were a little heavier than they are now. (I'm not just talking about Marilyn Monroe, who was robustly built even by the standards of her time.) Add to that the different hairstyles and clothes that seem laughable today, and women of earlier times have 2 strikes against them already.

Secondly, early photography did not bring out good looks in its subjects. Maybe this had to do with the need to sit for a longer time to expose the image ...? For whatever reason, people rarely smiled. A better way to get a sense of how people looked in the 18th and 19th centuries is to look at portraits. Even though the painters idealized their subjects in most cases (well, except Hogarth), you will find plenty of women who are beautiful. Their bodies may not be what is considered hot today because of changing fashions, but their faces can be gorgeous.

Going further back, however, I agree with Steve that women from pre-17th century paintings look odd - round faces with tiny, pinched features. Whether this was fashion or genetics, who knows? But they are an ugly bunch, by and large.

Anonymous said...

In addition to Anonymous' comments about plastic surgery and cosmetics, nutrition and modern health care and sanitation may also play a role in making girls today look hotter than 100 years ago without necessarily any genetic changes. Populations in first world countries receive much better nourishment and medical care today than they did 100 years ago. Consequently, they are much taller and this secular increase in stature has not just been an overall increase in size, but limb proportions have changed quite a bit. First world populations today have comparatively longer limbs in relation to their torso dimensions and as a result have much longer and more linear builds than their predecessors as long as they avoid become too fat from overnutrition. This combined with hair bleach means that there are many more "leggy blondes" today than in the past.

Also, since people suffer less environmental insults than in the past, they probably have less disturbances to growth and better facial symmetry. Studies tend to find that people with more symmetrical facial features are perceived as more attractive.

Anonymous said...


Another possibility -- not exclusive of one proffered -- is that the Soviet men who returned from the war were disproportionately attractive.

This possibility would be consistent with a theory that (a) intelligent people tend to be more attractive (I believe this assertion is supported by a recent article in Intelligence), and (b) intelligent people would be less likely to die in war.

Anonymous said...

People are better looking today because of better nutrition and lack of childhood diseases.

Anonymous said...

In the UK we have seen a tsunami of Poles arriving in the last two years. Before that Id never met any Poles (other than the descendants of the WW2 exiles). Now Im acquainted with and work with dozens and friends with a few.

This is very subjective of course but while not all Polish girls I see are beautiful, none of them would be described as ugly by me, also it should be said that few if any of them are over 35.

Anonymous said...

Speaking in the negative. Why are the British prehaps the uglist major tribe in Europe?

Steve Sailer said...

Or perhaps the post-Soviet economic inequality and drinking-themselves-to-death behavior among Russian men means that Russian women have to try harder to snag a winner than in, say, nearby Finland, where there are a lot of pretty good guys available.

Anonymous said...

This is very subjective of course but while not all Polish girls I see are beautiful, none of them would be described as ugly by me, also it should be said that few if any of them are over 35.

Great comments on an interesting topic ...

I think the consumer economy is generally good for one's appearance. Look at pictures taken of Eastern European groups 30 years ago and compare them to pictures from today. I can almost guarantee that the modern group will be collectively better looking, male and female alike. Their clothes and hairstyles alone will be vastly improved. Even little things, like eyeglasses, will be more attractive. Genetics certainly can't be responsible for this - it's simply access to more stylish clothes and accessories and greater interest in and emphasis on looking good.

Evidence? Google Hashim Thaci, the PM of Kosovo and former thug/terrorist. You'll find that he's quite a handsome fellow, and not just because of pleasing facial features. He's well-groomed, well-barbered, well-dressed ... he looks like he could be an American politician. Did you ever see a photograph of a Soviet-bloc politician who looked this good, with their greasy hair, heavy glasses and ill-fitting, outdated suits (not to mention perennially grim expressions - the impulse to smile and look friendly and generally good for the camera seems to be a capitalist notion)? Probably not.

Anonymous said...

I have no idea what Anonymous is talking about when he says British women are some of the ugliest.

I dated a Scots-Irish girl for a number of years. She was a former Rose Festival queen from Austin. She was most definitely hot.

Go check out the Page 3 girls for British hotties.

Anonymous said...

Some problems with the early photos:

1/ All B & W

2/ The women in those early photos generally didn't smile-because then you would have seen their black/missing teeth.

3/ Make-up? What kind of painted lady would be respectable?

4/ Women in those early photos had children, sometimes multiple children at an early age (see B. Spears)

5/ Plastic surgery? What's that?

6/ Excercise? Women don't do excercise.

Anonymous said...

By the way, in Old Master paintings, most girls are a little funny-looking. One partial exception is Botticelli.

I don't know how much you know about painting, but it seems odd to me to single out Botticelli.

Check out Christofano Allori's "Judith and Holofernes" (1613). This Judith wouldn't look out of place in an MTV clip or in FHM.

Or the same heroine and scene depicted around 1595 by Caravaggio, who used the same girl for "St. Catherine of Alexandria" (1597)

Or "Antea" by Parmigiano (around 1525). This is a portrait by the way, so this was not a painter's model but a regular person.

Rafael´s women weren't ugly either.

Also, modern day models are international stars who work all over the world, while painter's models were local girls.

Or even the artist's family mmembers. Rembrandt often painted his wives, who didn't have "model" looks.

Anonymous said...

Possibly more "Mongoloid" Russian POWs were singled out for a particularly nasty fate by the Nazis. I remember watching a documentary on the Hitler Channel (occasionally known as the History Channel) in which German soldiers on the Eastern Front, in their letters written to families back in Deutschland, expressed horror at the not entirely European appearance of many Russians.

Still, I seriously doubt that the Nazis were all that selective.

Anonymous said...

Some comments have mentioned Britain. John Derbyshire recently wrote a short article (it's on his site) about the shortage of marriage-age men in Britain after World War I. Britain didn't lose nearly the same percentage of its young male population in WWI as the Russians lost 25 years later, but it was bad enough.

Could Britain have experienced a "survival of the hottest" effect?

Anonymous said...

The assumption that good teeth and bone structure depends on modern dentistry is nonsense. While I don't idealize primitive people, they generally do have spectacular teeth and bone structure, with a palate wide enough to comfortably accommodate a excellent set of cavity-free teeth. While genes play a role, Europeans had similarly good teeth and bone structure before the introduction of large amounts of sugar. Weston Price's priceless worldwide studies during the 1930s show types from Switzerland to Ireland toto Congo to China to Peru. When they go off their natural diet, whether milk, fish, potatos, grain, meat or whatever, and start living on refined four and sugar (and nowadays sodas), the bone structure and teeth deteriorate. The photos a show dramatic differences even between siblings raised on different foods.
By the 1700s, the food supply was already tainted and denatured, but bad teeth were probably less common than they are today. We know for certain that teeth were in pretty good shape during the middle ages, due to remains found. People were not very tall, but they were well formed.
I don't have any examples of pretty ladies from 19th century photos right now, but Lewis Carroll's photos of kids (no, he really was not a pervert) are gorgeous. Here's one example: http://images.google.com/imgres?imgurl=http://press.princeton.edu/carroll/Alice.jpg&imgrefurl=http://press.princeton.edu/carroll/Alice.html&h=575&w=469&sz=54&hl=en&start=2&tbnid=xVfNUX59w7m0wM:&tbnh=134&tbnw=109&prev=/images%3Fq%3Dalice%2Bliddell%26gbv%3D2%26svnum%3D10%26hl%3Den

Anonymous said...

Even as a woman, I share your love of the Pre-Raphaelite paintings. Bouguereau is my favorite (well, he's the favorite of most).

Bouguereau was French and doesn't appear to have painted any redheads, but they were heavily featured in Pre-Raphaelite paintings in general.

J said...

Ukranian people underwent not one generation selection event but successive such events in the 20th Century. There were civil wars, the collectivization and hunger, and the war. The post-Gorbachev demoralization also must have some effect.

There are many testimonies that during the thirties children died in mass, and it makies sense that the fairest were somewhat protected. But three or four generations could not cause a genetic difference. I think Slavic women were always beautiful, the lecherous Turks always demanded Slavic girls from their slave traders and were ready to pay top price for them. Circassian (Ukranian) girls were much appreciated in the Pashas's harems.

Anonymous said...

"However, pre-Raphaelite maidens from mid-Victorian British paintings are pretty spectacular."

Jessica Alba spectacular? I can't imagine artists have genetically changed much, they were always lecherous and dissolute, so they must have been running game on the hottest chicks around to "immortalize" in paintings, then try to sleep with. And still, the history of art has a strikingly poor showing for what men find attractive--now. Disregarding body-shape, how socially-constructed is it? Have you ever been AROUND girls who look like Jessica Alba? There's sure no mistaking the other guy in the room being "socially-conditioned" to think she's just so-so.

You know he knows that you know he knows you know he knows you're dating a girl who's 7.8, on the 1-10 scale, no?

Now, guns carry a certain mythic weight, since they're in every movie, but rarely handled in person, but is Hollywood-attractiveness really the same? I detected a lot of specious pseudo-science in that John Cleese "The Face" beauty show, from a couple years back, but it's still a valid question.

I guess what I'm asking, beyond the single-generation thing, does Natural Selection have its own worthless "cosmetic enhancement" program constantly running, more or less pronounced in all human populations? You can't doubt the male-sexual-selection module is a pretty precise, definite thing, even if there are socially-constructed elements to it; beauty overlaps almost precisely with female fertility. Nonetheless I think the module's elastic enough to get excited about the prettiest girl around.

For instance, human female breasts are unnecessary, sort of derrierre-reminiscent things there for the same reason those bipedal red-assed apes have red on their cheeks, despite the obvious locomotive, wasteful drawbacks of big breasts: to remind males of genitals. Males didn't grow to find flat-chests as attractive as rear-ends, human female breasts grew, despite the uselessness of them.

Unknown said...

Pictures from the Netherlands, 1400-1700 show almost exclusively quite beautiful women. The virgin, of course, but also angels and patron's wives. And from the later eras, of course there are the Vermeer women.

The "ugly" women, such as those painted by Rembrandt and van Gogh, are mostly peasants, no better than their men.

Anonymous said...

"There are many testimonies that during the thirties children died in mass, and it makies sense that the fairest were somewhat protected."

Oh, please, due to the wonders of evolution you'd be hard pressed to find a child who wasn't cute as a button. Not to mention a sturdier, hardier, "less attractive" child might just have a better immune system than the little waif with the big, bright eyes & not need "protecting" so would survive anyway. Where do you get this stuff?

Trust me. Find the ugliest person you can & get a picture of them as a child. You might even discover the opposite is true for someone you consider extremely attractive - the ugly duckling syndrome.

And while I'm on the subject. Highly intelligent people aren't necessarily good looking. Highly symmetrical facial features make a person look psychotic rather than attractive - we are accustomed to viewing faces that have a certain amount of asymmetry - too symmetrical looks weird to us...

Do some more reading. Do it now!

Anonymous said...

If this is true(and I don't doubt that it is), then you will see the opposite in China, where currently, thanks to the One Child per Family law, there are about 130 men per 100 women. So men will be desperate for women, and we will see no selection for attractiveness.

Anonymous said...

In countries like Lebanon, Iran, and India, males have been outnumbering females for centuries. However, women in those countries are gorgeous.

Anonymous said...

with the old masters small pox probably had a large say in who was pretty and who wasn't, the first vaccines were done when it was noticed milk maids who had contracted cow pox were not hit as hard by small pox. imagine a world were the only one with good skin is the farmers daughter.

Anonymous said...

Iranians gorgeous? Scrape off the makeup before you make that decision. Still, with nose jobs nearly universal, I'm sure they're improving. Now if only the Brits would get teeth jobs. The Lebanese are pretty good looking though. Indians gorgeous? All one billion of them? Maybe it's just me, but I don't see it. Certainly some are, but it's just a matter of taste.
We've all got our biases I guess. The most beautiful people, male or female I've ever seen are in central Italy and former Yugoslavia. Except in Yugoslavia it was mainly the men who looked good. In Italy, incredibly thick, no-split ends, lustrous hair, faces out of Botticelli. And the women are even better. The Spanish (but not so much the Portugese) are often beautiful, as are the Hungarians and Czechs.
But in Florence I saw a policeman I would have died for--green eyes under wavy hair.

Anonymous said...

Forget the biological effects. Steve is right, too short a time span to be of any effect.

Consider the political effects of all those men gone in non-Soviet ruled nations. Germany with much of it's young men gone. Britain, France. The profound feminization of those nations particularly post WWII speaks volumes. While Switzerland which was immune from losing it's men did not grant women the vote till the 1970's.

Mike Courtman said...

One reason why Eastern European women may be slightly more attractive is because they tend to be thinner.

Despite what is portrayed in fashion magazines and movies, fast food and automobiles are taking a heavy toll on the bodies of many North American and Australasian women

I'd also say that any increase in the attractiveness of western woman would have levelled-off in the 60s or 70s.

Some women may be getting more athletic looking as they spend time in the gym (and a fortune on their general appearance) but I don't think they any prettier than they were 40 or 50 years ago.

Someone like Cameron Diaz (impressive pins with a boxers nose) wouldn't have been considered particularly attractive in 1950s Hollywood.

Anonymous said...

Have you ever noticed that when you mixed someone from a european background and an east asian background, provided that they are decent looking to begin with, some of their children turn out amazing good looking. Well we eastern europeans are a bit genetically east asian. This can also explain why some middle eastern or indian populations have hot women. My guess is also that some latin american women are hot because of their amerindian influence. My theory is that those populations with the hottest women have a bit of east asian influence and less of the germanic or middle eastern influence which can give you what my friend calls a "horse face".