Ahna Brewster O’Reilly


Kelli Brianne Garner


Teresa Palmer


Skinny gurl on Kate Upton

A blogger that goes by the name Skinny gurl has lately been targeted for criticism by the mainstream media, and her site was subjected to a distributed denial of service attack (DDOS) by the hacker group Anonymous.  The mainstream media have managed to get rape and death threats sent the way of Skinny gurl.

The criticism stems from Skinny gurl comparing Kate Upton to a cow, “confidently lumbering up the runway like there’s a buffet at the end of it,” describing her as a “little piggie” with “huge thighs, NO waist, big fat floppy boobs, terrible body definition.”


Fashion models and mannequins in East Asia

Following the international furor over Satoshi Kanazawa’s article on the physical attractiveness of blacks, Lee Ellis and Ping He published a study on whether “some  racial or ethnic groups are considered on average more physically attractive than others even by members of other groups.”  Here is their study.

Lee Ellis & Ping He. Race and Advertising: Ethnocentrism or “Real” Differences in Physical Attractiveness? Indirect Evidence from China, Malaysia, and the United States. Mankind Quarterly 2011;51(4):471-489.

Implicit in the concept of ethnocentrism is the idea that people will consider members of their own race or ethnic group to be more attractive than members of other groups. If so, one would expect advertisers to take advantage of such preferences by choosing “local” models when promoting clothing fashions and other products. A contrary view is that judgments of physical attractiveness are to a substantial degree neurologically “hard-wired” and evolved similarly throughout the world. With the assumption that fashion models and manikins are considered highly attractive, the present study recorded the race of models and manikins publically displayed in city malls in China, Malaysia, and the United States. Caucasian (white, European) models were found to be mainly utilized in all three countries, especially in regard to clothing fashion displays. Even advertisements for cosmetics and fashion accessories were “Caucasian-biased” in China and Malaysia although less so than in the U.S. and less so than advertisements for clothing fashions. Findings call into question the relevance of ethnocentrism in determining the choice of fashion models used in advertising, and are instead consistent with other evidence of universal standards of physical beauty that advertisers rely on to help promote their products.

Allegations of rigging in the Miss USA pageant

Sheena Monnin (alternatively described as Shannon Minnon), a contestant in the Miss USA 2012 pageant, has been in the news lately for resigning as Miss Pennsylvania after claiming that the Miss USA pageant is fixed.  Monnin also expressed her disappointment with the mockery made of similar pageants when the parent company managing the Miss USA and Miss Universe pageants allowed a male-to-female transsexual to participate in the Miss Universe Canada 2012 pageant.


Miss Universe Canada pageant leads the way

The participation of Jenna Talackova,  a male-to-female transsexual, in the latest Miss Universe Canada pageant is a milestone in the march of prominent beauty pageants toward freak shows, though judging by the looks of the contestants in recent years, this may be the first prominent case, not the first of its kind.


Satoshi Kanazawa on the physical attractiveness of blacks

In May 2011, Satoshi Kanazawa wrote an article for Psychology Today online titled‭ “‬Why‭ ‬Black Women Are Less‭ ‬ Physically Attractive Than Other Women,‭” ‬which the editor(s‭) ‬quickly changed to‭ “‬Why Are Black Women Rated Less Physically Attractive Than Other Women,‭ ‬But Black Men Are Rated Better Looking Than Other Men‭?‬”.‭  ‬The article was yanked by the magazine following a racism outcry‭; ‬copies survive in some places‭ (‬e.g.,‭ ‬scribd,‭ ‬pdf‭)‬.‭  ‬Kanazawa’s university,‭ ‬London School of Economics‭ (‬LSE‭)‬,‭ ‬asked him to refrain from writing in non-peer reviewed publications pending an investigation of his research,‭ ‬many of his‭ “‬peers‭” ‬went into overdrive attacking him,‭ ‬he was fired from blogging at Psychology Today,‭ ‬and many tried to have him fired as LSE professor.

A discussion of matters that Kanazawa addressed in his deleted article has come up at this site repeatedly and created numerous problems for me.‭  ‬Thus they should be addressed properly.‭


A clarification on the minutiae of physical attractiveness

Sometimes I am asked a question of the type:

Woman A and woman B both have feature f1, yet you find woman B much more attractive than woman A.‭  Why?

If I have the time to respond, my typical response is in terms of overall looks.‭  Some readers may insist that I explain in terms clearer than overall looks, i.e., identify specific features that are less attractive in woman A.‭  This can lead to a more complex situation, such as:

Woman A and woman B both have features f1, f2, f3, yet you find woman B more attractive than woman A. Why?

If I answer this question, then it may be in terms of minutiae here and there—e.g., wider nostrils, more angular jawline, longer philtrum, etc.‭  This leads to the special issue of the minutiae of physical attractiveness.‭  Whereas it is easy to show broad agreement among people on major elements of physical attractiveness, the agreement becomes less broad on minutiae.‭  As an example, most people will agree that a full head of hair is more attractive than baldness, but fewer people will agree that straight or wavy hair looks better than wooly Afro hair, and an even smaller proportion will agree on a particular hair color looking better than others.

This means that when people ask me the second type of question—whereby two women share a lot of physical characteristics, yet I find one better looking—making me describe the minutiae of why, they may be getting more insights into my personal preferences than into general principles of beauty [either what most people would prefer in the same comparison or what normal, error-free biological design should be producing].‭  In this case, there is no reason for anyone to have any interest in my personal preferences.

There is a second possibility regarding minutiae.‭  Someone with more than basic knowledge of science can easily come up with articles to put up a show of false erudition.‭  A pretense to knowledge and learning is easily spotted by the learned, but the masses not familiar with the scientific issues discussed here should consider the possibility than my work is often an elaborate justification for my own personal preferences, in which case there is again no reason for anyone to care about my specific preferences.

If I am knowingly putting up a show of pseudo-scholarship, then the reader should not expect me to admit to it.‭  This leaves the interested reader having insufficient knowledge of science with the difficult task of determining to what extent my writings reflect the scientific understanding of physical femininity and beauty, to what extent they represent a sincere effort but mistaken understanding of their nature, and to what extent they represent elaborate justification for my personal preferences without representing insights into the nature of physical femininity and beauty.

Because of the two reasons—the very nature of preferences where agreement on attractiveness is less broad when it comes to the minutiae of many aspects of physical form, and questions about my intentions, motives and methods—readers should not dwell too much on the second type of question as they may not be getting insights into the general elements or nature of beauty.


Two anecdotes on the fashion model look

Two instances of what is missing in mainstream media reporting.



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