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The Park Bench The Park Bench

Women prefer skinny dudes over macho men

Posted by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 7:36 AM
  • 20 Replies

 Women prefer skinny dudes over macho men, study finds

    Below:

By Stephanie Pappas
updated 11/28/2012 4:05:46 PM ET2012-11-28T21:05:46

Macho features have long been touted as an evolutionary asset that heterosexual women look for in a potential mate. But new research suggests weight may be a more powerful driver of attraction.

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Macho features such as a strong jaw and squinty eyes advertise that a guy possesses high testosterone, according to the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis. Since high levels of this masculinizing hormone interfere with the immune system, the theory goes, macho men must be extra-fit to withstand the handicap their extra testosterone confers.

However, a new study finds that while women do respond more favorably to the faces and bodies of men with strong immune responses, they seem to cue into fatness and thinness, not macho features, when making their judgments.

Fatness, or adiposity, "is an obvious choice for a marker of immunity because of its strong association with health and immunity," study researcher Vinet Coetzee, a postdoctoral scientist at the University of Pretoria in South Africa, told LiveScience.

The trouble with the immunocompetence handicap hypothesis is that masculinity is not universally attractive to women, Coetzee and his colleagues wrote today (Nov. 27) in the journal Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Nor have studies consistently linked macho features with good physical health. [ Macho Man: 10 Wild Facts About His Body ]

Weight is consistently linked both to health and immune system functioning, Coetzee said. Both overweight and underweight individuals are more likely to have health problems and poor immune function.

To test the evolutionary role of fat, Coetzee and his colleagues first photographed 69 Caucasian male volunteers in underwear. They also measured the men's body fat and testosterone levels. About 65 percent were healthy weight, 4 percent were underweight and 30.4 percent were overweight or obese.

The men's immune system response was also measured with a blood test done before and after they received a vaccine for hepatitis B. Men with strong immune responses showed more antibody production after the vaccine than men with weak immune systems. Antibodies are the proteins that recognize and help neutralize foreign invaders in the body.

Next, 29 heterosexual Latvian women looked at photographs of the men's faces and bodies separately and judged them on attractiveness. All of the women were in the fertile phases of their menstrual cycles, as judged by counting back from the last menstrual period to the day of likely ovulation.

A separate group of 20 heterosexual Finnish men and women rated the men for masculinity, and 14 other Latvian women rated the men's facial fatness, or adiposity, which is highly related to overall body fatness.

The results revealed that fatness, as measured with facial adiposity, was linked to both antibody response and attractiveness, with pudgier men both having weaker immune systems and being seen as less appealing by the fertile women. A statistical analysis found that contrary to what the immunocompetence handicap would suggest, masculinity was not linked to either immune response or bodily or facial attractiveness.

"We found that a man's weight serves as a better indicator of the relationship between immune response and attractiveness than masculinity does," Coetzee said. "It is therefore more likely that Latvian women use weight, rather than masculinity, in their subconscious judgments of a man's immunity."

Testosterone levels were also more closely linked with weight than with macho looks, the researchers found. Earlier research has found that skin tone, another sign of health, may also be more appealing to women than a macho face.

While the findings point away from a masculine jaw and toward chiseled abs as a sign of a good immune system, Coetzee warned that the study looked at just a single measure of immune response. The researchers also don't know if women had immune health in mind when they made their hot-or-not judgments.

The study, Coetzee said, "serves as a stepping stone for future studies that could test this relationship in different populations using alternative measures of immunity."

by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 7:36 AM
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Replies (1-10):
RheaF
by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 8:03 AM
Nah, I prefer a More rugged look.
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wildlilacs
by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 8:13 AM
Researcher dont know if the Latvian women had immune health in mind when thay made their hot or not judgements.....lol. I dont think any woman think about stuff like that.
I perfer a macho, rugged looking man, not too fat, not too skinny.
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LoriAnn87
by Lori on Nov. 29, 2012 at 11:08 AM

Not me I like my men tall and husky like my husband.

Charizma77
by Carissa on Nov. 29, 2012 at 12:32 PM

I prefer muscle over skinny and love the jock look.

snuggiewoogie
by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 1:03 PM

 Nah! I don't like the skinny type..... Maybe when I was a teen but not now! lol.....

earthangel1967
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Today at 1:35 AM
by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 2:13 PM

Not me!!!! I much much prefer men that are very masculine looking, and I love a lot of muscles too. I always have preferred that look. I think there are men that are sexy and attractive that aren't too but like I said I always prefer a more rugged macho look and lots of muscles.

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earthangel1967
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Happy Sept! I changed my siggy & profile for Sept. This month I'll be spending time in Love & Marriage & Frugalistas & Everyday Family Ideas groups. See you there! :D
Today at 1:35 AM
by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 2:15 PM

Unlike their mother, all 3 of our daughters fit this study and seem to all go for slender guys even the ones with muscles have that more long lean muscle look rather than bulky muscle look that I like.

View Full Size Image YVONNE

CoeyG
by on Nov. 29, 2012 at 4:37 PM

Nope don't like no skinny thing  I want a man with meat on his bones and hair on his balls.

EireLass
by Silver Member on Nov. 29, 2012 at 7:47 PM

I like my guy looking like he does. Not skinny, not fatty, just right.

merryvoice
by on Nov. 30, 2012 at 10:08 PM

I am not one of these women. I love a macho man's man. A man that looks like a man, not a ten year old boy. 

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