Race and attractiveness

“Mirror, mirror on the wall who is the fairest of them all?”

Once upon a time, this was just a classic line from a child’s fairy tale, however, today, scientists and researchers are actually looking for the magic “mirror,” or in today’s terms “formula,” that will determine once and for all what makes one woman more beautiful than another.

From a very early age, children, and especially little girls, are programmed into believing that beauty is the key to “living happily ever after.”

In today’s world, the media is the new “fairy tale”, with magazines, billboards and TV spinning tales about what beauty is supposed to be. Little girls (and even little boys) grow up seeing images of “pretty” people, and if for some reason they don’t live up to this beauty ideal, they grow up believing that they are not good enough.

The Western world is at the forefront when it comes to dictating beauty standards, so what the beauty industry in the West says, usually holds a lot of weight for the rest of the world.

Women from non-Western countries hold themselves up to the Western beauty-ideal, and many women have been led to believe that the ultimate sign of beauty in today’s world has a great deal to do with the color of their skin.

Magazine covers are littered with images of beautiful “white” women and if there happens to be a black woman on the cover, she looks like a white woman with a nice tan; either because she’s naturally light-skinned or usually because she’s been “Photoshopped.”

More traditional looking black women with dark skin and less Caucasian looking features are rarely revered on magazine covers as beauties.

Even in countries where women are naturally dark skinned, such as in Kenya, South Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, India, etc., a woman is judged by the lightness of her skin. The lighter her skin color, the more likely she is to be regarded as beautiful and the more likely she is to get better opportunities than her darker skinned peers.

So what does this prove? Are white women really more attractive than black women? Are Asian women less attractive than white women? Does skin color really determine a woman’s beauty after all?

According to Science, White and Asian Women Are Apparently More Attractive Than Black Women

Group of mixed race girls

Well, if science is to be believed, apparently the above statement is true. At least that’s what Dr. Satoshi Kanazawa, an evolutionary psychologist, and a lecturer at the London School of Economics is claiming.

Dr. Kanazawa has left an international race row in his wake with some very controversial claims about race and beauty.

According to Dr. Kanazawa his “research”, which is being highly disputed, proves that black women are the least attractive of all the other race groups. Dr. Kanazawa published his findings on Psychology Today and caused such an uproar that his post was almost instantly removed; however, not before copies had been made and shared by outraged readers.

According to his post, Dr. Kanazawa claims to have conducted a survey, where white, Asian, black and Native American men and women were asked to rate each other’s attractiveness based on photographs. Based on this survey’s results, black women scored the lowest and Asian women scored the highest.

Amongst much controversy Dr. Kanazawa concluded that, “The only thing I can think of that might potentially explain the lower average level of physical attractiveness among black women is testosterone. Africans on average have higher levels of testosterone than other races. Women with higher levels of testosterone have more masculine features and are therefore less physically attractive.”¹

Essentially what Dr. Kanazawa wants us to believe is that Victoria’s Secret model Lyndsey Scott is less attractive than her peer Doutzen Kroes just because she has dark skin.

All this based on an “objective” study that was poked full of holes by many outraged scientists and psychologists, 5 minutes after his research was published. Ultimately, can a study about beauty ever truly be objective; after all it was based purely on the opinion of humans, and human opinion cannot, by its very nature, be objective.

However, as shocking as this so-called “scientific proof” presented by Dr. Kanazawa is, he is not unique in his quest to discover what makes one woman more attractive than another, and because we are so ethnically diverse, race cannot be overlooked in this study.

That being said, to say that white and Asian women are better looking than black women, and claiming that it is in fact an accurate study, is not only racist, it is also focusing on a very small aspect of a woman’s beauty. Ultimately, beauty cannot possibly be measured by one thing alone.

Here at The Modern Man we strongly believe that attraction is in the eye of the beholder. Each man will be attracted to certain women for various reasons. No race of women is more attractive than another because each type of woman is attractive for various reasons.

Can We Really Break Attraction Down to Just One Thing?

Scientists, researchers and sociologists have been looking for the “key” to attractiveness for years, and one thing they can all agree on (well except for Dr. Kanazawa it seems), is that there is more than one type of attraction.

The classic belief of “boy meets girl and is instantly attracted to her because she’s beautiful” doesn’t really hold much sway in the real world. In reality, the color of a woman’s hair, eyes and skin plays a supporting role to other more subtle factors that determine why we feel attraction for one particular person and not for another.

For example: How many times have you seen a gorgeous woman, married or dating an ugly guy – think Adriana Lima and Marko Jaric? And have you not thought to yourself, “What has he got that I don’t? What makes a woman like her fall for a guy like him?”

The answer is pretty simple: She felt enough attraction for him for other reasons to then overlook his lack of traditional good looks.

As Dan Bacon (the founder of The Modern Man) explains in this video, many men make up excuses for their lack of success with women, when the real issue is that they lack the ability to attract women with their personality, behavior, vibe, conversation style and confidence.

Watch this video to see Dan explain this common problem in more detail…

Do You Have a “Sexy” Immune System?

Although a woman isn’t likely to walk up to you and say, “Wow, you look so healthy, that really turns me on!” it seems that subconsciously, a part of her may be saying just that.

According to a study conducted by researchers at the University of Abertay Dundee, Scotland, it seems that men with strong immune systems are seen as more sexually attractive to women, and this immune system attraction plays and even greater role in attracting women to men, than having a great body or big muscles.²

Researcher Dr Fhionna Moore, Ph.D. and her team studied 74 Latvian men in their early twenties, measuring their immune response to the hepatitis vaccine, focusing on the concentration of testosterone and cortisol in their blood.

Then they asked Latvian women, also in their twenties, to rate the facial attractiveness of the male test subjects using a 10-point scale. According to the results, the researcher established that when a man has a healthy immune system, his testosterone levels tend to be higher than those whose immune system is weaker – which was linked to higher cortisol (stress hormone) levels.

It seems that a man’s face appears more attractive to women, usually, if he has high levels of testosterone, however, nobody has yet been able to establish exactly how testosterone affects immune function.

Dr Moore said: “It’s always been an assumption that the healthier you are, the more attractive you are but it has never really been proved before. We found there was a really strong connection between how well these men reacted to the jab, and how attractive women thought they were. We believe it’s because inherently women seek for their offspring to inherit the healthiest immune systems.”³

Interestingly enough, when the test was done in reverse, i.e. by vaccinating young Latvian women against hepatitis B and then measuring the amount of specific antibodies produced, the results were not the same as for men.

It seems that having a strong immune system does not make a woman appear more attractive to men. Instead, in this study, researchers found that it’s a woman’s cortisol levels that negatively influences her attractiveness, thus indicating that stressed women look less attractive.⁴

Like Attracts Like

We’ve all heard the expression “opposites attract”, but according to studies, it seems that we actually tend to select mates that are most like ourselves. This phenomenon is known as assortative mating and relates to both the physical appearance as well as the mental traits of a potential mate.

Essentially, what researchers are saying is that without incest taboos strictly in place, we would all be sexually attracted to our opposite sex parent, sibling or closest relative. In fact, contrary to what we believe, this is not something that only happens in the jungles between uneducated tribes-people.

Genetic sexual attraction, as it is commonly known, is something that happens frequently between opposite sex relatives separated at birth, usually through adoption.⁵

For most of us, social conditioning has ensured that the idea of being attracted to our mothers, fathers or siblings is quite repulsive. However, according to Chris Fraley, a psychologist with the University of Illinois, a study conducted by him and his team supports Freud’s argument that we are subconsciously attracted to features that are the most similar to our own.

Farley believes that cultural and social aversions to incest were developed to override our “primitive drive,” so when we become aware of a close family relationship with someone, we are not sexually attracted to them.

Yet, when that awareness is bypassed, either because we do not know this person is our relative, or because we were separated from each other at birth, we are in fact more sexually attracted to our relatives.

Naturally, none of us are going to run out and hook up with our sister, but based on research, the women that many men feel attracted to are usually a lot more like them (and their families) than they would like to admit.

That is, until the man has sex with a woman who is not like him at all. For example: Most white men will say that they are not attracted to black women, but when a white man actually has sex with a black woman, he experiences an amazing type of sexual attraction that can only happen when two very different humans have sex with each other.

The same applies with white guys and Asian girls. Most white guys will say, “I’m not into Asian girls,” but they are only saying that because they haven’t experienced what it’s like to have sex with a woman who has a very different immune system and DNA expression compared to a white girl.

Beauty is More than Meets the Eye

It’s very easy for scientists and researchers to sit in their examining rooms flashing a whole lot of pictures to their test subjects and coming up with results such as the one’s in the Dr. Kanazawa study mentioned earlier.

However, no matter how hard we try to define beauty and attraction, the fact is, there is more to beauty than meets the eye. The idea of applying scientific analytical methods to establish what precisely makes a men and women attractive to each other, is as impossible as trying to accurately count the number of stars in the night sky.

For example, have you ever met a woman that you initially did not find physically attractive, yet once you got to know her better you couldn’t keep your hands off her? Why? Because although physical attraction is a major aspect of attraction between men and women, what studies cannot pinpoint with their tests, is the power of emotional and intellectual attraction.

Therefore saying that white and Asian women are more beautiful than black women is simply assuming that beauty is only skin deep, and it clearly is a lot more than that. To determine a woman’s beauty you have to look at more than just her physical appearance.

The Power of Emotions

Being comfortable about discussing anything with a woman, including topics that bring up intense emotions in you, means you are emotionally attracted to her. Talking to someone about your deepest desires, thoughts and needs indicates an emotional connection, which can happen after a long friendship or as quickly as on the first date.

According to Dr. Willard Harley Jr., “you talk about how things make you feel or your deepest aspirations for the future. You want this person to get you – to understand what makes you tick. If you are female, you do this through deep conversation; if you are male, you do this through shared activities.”

Individuals who are emotionally attracted to each other want to spend time together, says Tony Ferretti, Ph.D. Essentially, the deeper your conversations with each other, the more you become attracted to each other physically.⁷

It’s All in the Mind

A person who is strongly attracted to someone’s intelligence is called a “sapiosexual.” Collins Dictionary defines the word as; “One who finds intelligence the most sexually attractive feature; behavior of becoming attracted to or aroused by intelligence and its use.”

Intellectual attraction is not new or rare and in fact, one of the biggest attractions between couples is based on intelligence; which is why making broad statements about beauty falls short of being accurate. Something scientists and researchers cannot deny (even the ones like Dr. Kanazawa), is that beauty increases or decreases when you get to know a person better.

Being shown the picture of a beautiful woman is one thing, but getting to know her in person is quite another. In real life, a beautiful woman may have all the right facial symmetry, hip to waist ratio and skin tone that defines her as a “beauty,” but if she cannot connect with you on a mental level, her beauty will fizzle out fast.

It’s a Fact: Beauty is in the Eye of the Beholder

Defining beauty is like defining love; everyone feels it differently. Studies can try to tell you that a woman’s race, weight, hair length, eye color or bust size determines her beauty, but in the end the truth is a lot more subjective than that. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder and a woman that you perceive as being “drop-dead-gorgeous” may look “average” to someone else.

Ultimately, each man will be attracted to certain women for different reasons and no race of women can possibly be more attractive than another because each type of woman is beautiful based on more than just her skin color.

References

¹ Loveys, K., Fernandez, C. (2011, May, 19). ‘Black women are less attractive than others’: Controversial LSE psychologist sparks backlash with his ‘scientific’ findings. Daily Mail UK. Retrieved from
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1388313/LSE-psychologist-Satoshi-Kanazawa-claims-black-women-attractive.html

² Nordqvist, C. (2012, February, 23). Immune System Drives Male Attractiveness. Medical News Today. Retrieved from
http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/242089.php

³ James, G. (2012, February, 24). How A Man’s Immune System Boosts His Sex Appeal. The Huffington Post UK. Retrieved from
http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2012/02/24/mans-immune-system-boosts-sex-appeal_n_1299184.html

⁴ Yirka, B. (2013, May, 22). Study finds better immune system doesn’t make women more attractive to men. Phys Org. Retrieved from
http://phys.org/news/2013-05-immune-doesnt-women-men.html

⁵ Genetic sexual attraction. Wikipedia. Retrieved from
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Genetic_sexual_attraction

⁶ Edwards, L. (2010, July, 28). Study demonstrates sexual attraction to those who resemble our parents, ourselves. Phys Org. Retrieved from
http://phys.org/news199509031.html

⁷ Rateliff Barr, K. What Does It Mean to Be Emotionally Attracted to Someone? Demand Media. Retrieved from
http://classroom.synonym.com/mean-emotionally-attracted-someone-8325.html

⁸ Serious Facts. Retrieved from
http://seriousfacts.com/a-person-who-is-strongly-attracted-to-someones-intelligence-is-called-a-sapiosexual/

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