The Evolution of Standards of Beauty

It’s been a while since the last time I blogged in English. This makes my writing skill has declined sharply. No surprise. I deserve it. 

To redeem my sin let me try to write again in English to see whether I still remember grammar and vocabularies, or not. Finger crossed!


This morning I thought it’s about time to share a paper again here. For that I’m reading two papers. One was about evolutionary psychology and religion and the other was about evolutionary psychology and feminism. I immediately eliminated the first paper because it’s beyond my comprehension. I don’t understand it. I never really put an effort to read books/papers with religion as their topic. I’m just not interested. So, I gave up.

The second paper was quite interesting. It’s an article titled Evolutionary Psychology and Feminism written by David Michael Buss and David P. Schmitt. Does the name ring a bell? Yup, David Buss was the author whose works I already discussed here, here, here, and here. He’s one of the prominent evolutionary psychologists.

Back to the paper.

It had several sections. We won’t discuss them all here. I only want to share one section that interests me the most: The Evolution of Standards of Beauty.

Often we hear people say, “Cantik/ganteng itu relatif. Jelek itu mutlak.” But, how do you define beauty? I remember my lecturer said people’s attractiveness was valued from the symmetrical of their face. So, if you have a symmetrical face, you’re attractive. But, is that all?

picture was from here

Below was beauty from evolutionary perspectives:

(1) A key adaptive problem ancestral males faced involved identifying and preferentially choosing fertile or reproductively valuable mates (males selecting infertile mates left no descendants);
(2) this adaptive problem was exacerbated by the evolution of relatively concealed or cryptic ovulation in women (in contrast to chimpanzee females, for whom ovulation is signaled by visible and olfactory estrus cues);
(3) standards of female attractiveness evolved to be attuned to recurrently observable cues that were statistically correlated with fertility.

Ladies, as long as you’re fertile, you’re safe. It's because men prefer fertile women to infertile mates. One of the most important things from evolutionary is descendants. If you want to survive, have an offspring. If you don’t have any, you’ll perish.

To check women fertility is from observable cues, like youth (e.g. clear skin, smooth skin, facial adiposity, lustrous hair), health (e.g. absence of sores and lesions), and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR). What is WHR? From Wikipedia WHR is:

the ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips.

If you want to measure your WHR, you may try here. But, some studies rebut WHR hypothesis. Buss and Schmitt explained:

… And one eye-tracking study found that men tend to focus on the breasts and buttocks rather than the pelvic region … 

Other studies argued body mass index (BMI) is a more important determinant of female beauty.

Well, well… Before I knew Evolutionary Psychology, all this time I thought beauty merely determined from face. Now I know why men can’t focus look at women in the eye. They have other objects to focus on.

picture was from here

Sad thing is when we value too much on these things, it can lead to destruction. Women will compete to be the most beautiful and the sexiest woman on earth. We will do anything to win the competition to get men’s heart (and their wallet). Problems like eating disorder, body image problem, and dangerous cosmetic surgery, just to name a few, are susceptible to women.

picture was from here

Women, without realizing it, become sex objects. We put too much effort on our physical traits, we often forget that we still have other things that we can expand, such as talents, abilities, and personality characteristics.

Oh, don’t forget, ladies, we still have brains.



  1. Fvck competition egh :v
    Tapi memang secara gak sadar, perspektif menyangkut kecantikan dan hal yang terkait dengannya (yang dipaparkan di atas itu) sudah diwariskan dari para orang tua pada anak-anaknya. Mereka tentu gak paham soal paper2 ginian, tapi ya kayaknya udah jadi lazim dan alamiahnya seperti itu.

    Makanya, para cewek yang menuju stage puber dimaklumi kalau senang dandan, apalagi cewek2 yang usianya sudah matang buat pernikahan. Malah ada istilahnya segala kalau di saya; tubuh wanita single (terutama yg masih gadis) itu tubuh belieun atau body-for-sale. Dan tentunya barang buat dijual itu harus semenarik mungkin kan kemasannya? :D

    mungkin akhirnya kebanyakan perempuan berpikir Lebih baik bodoh asal (tampak) cantik. Karena dengan cantik, apapun bisa dibeli, terutama gampang dapat pasangan. Kalau udah dapat pasangan itu kan gengsinya tinggi di masyarakat daripada perawan tua. Kalau cuma mengandalkan otak, yah, siapa sih cowok yang mau peduli sama isi otak perempuan? Pastilah jumlahnya sangat sedikit. Dan kalaupun ada, pasti mesti tetep dibumbui cantik =)))))

    1. Kalau cuma mengandalkan otak, yah, siapa sih cowok yang mau peduli sama isi otak perempuan? Pastilah jumlahnya sangat sedikit. Dan kalaupun ada, pasti mesti tetep dibumbui cantik =)))))

      Karena pria adalah makhluk visual... :r


Saya akan senang sekali jika kalian meninggalkan komentar, tetapi jangan anonim ya. Komentar dari anonim—juga komentar yang menggunakan kata-kata kasar, menyinggung SARA, dan spam—akan saya hapus. Terima kasih sebelumnya.