Like girls, big boys

Attractiveness: Suffering men like fat women

The tough training of a military training camp results in men finding more voluptuous women more attractive. This is the conclusion reached by Carlota Batres and Andrew Perrett of the University of St Andrews in Great Britain based on comparing hard-training people with a control group. The 23 men and 8 women around the age of 20 went through ten days of military training and were asked at three points in time to choose from a selection of portrait photos of the opposite sex those that they found most attractive. As early as the third day of training, the physically stressed men showed a clear preference for women's faces with features of higher body weight. However, there was no comparable effect in women and in the unused control group. The result suggests that sexual preferences are directly influenced by the environment.

It has long been known that there is a connection between a male weakness for fat women and tougher environmental conditions. However, it is still unclear whether this is a cultural peculiarity or whether the individual preferences are directly determined by the conditions. The work of Batres and Perrett now suggests the second variant: that men react to high stress with a systematic change in their preferences and that this new tendency towards women with somewhat more voluptuous forms remains permanently under the tougher conditions. Why there is no comparable effect in women, the two interpret to the effect that it is a biologically sensible reaction. According to this, voluptuous women are better equipped for harsh conditions and therefore a corresponding preference for men makes sense. But this is speculation: Batres and Perrett present no further evidence to support this particular interpretation.