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The preferences of men vs. women

Most men and most women judge the attractiveness of women in a similar manner. This has been shown for:

Overall facial features

  1. Bashour M. An objective system for measuring facial attractiveness. Plast Reconstr Surg 2006;118(3):757-74; discussion 75-6.
  2. Rhodes G. The evolutionary psychology of facial beauty. Annu Rev Psychol 2006;57:199-226. [Meta analysis]

Waist-hip proportions

  1. Furnham A, Tan T, McManus C. Waist-to-hip ratio and preferences for body shape: a replication and extension. Pers Individ Diff 1997;22(4):539-49.
  2. Henss R. Waist-to-hip ratio and attractiveness. Replication and extension. Pers Individ Diff 1995;19(4):479-88.
  3. Henss R. Waist-to-hip ratio and female attractiveness. Evidence from photographic stimuli and methodological considerations. Personal Individ Diff 2000;28(3):501-13.
  4. Streeter SA, McBurney DH. Waist-hip ratio and attractiveness: new evidence and a critique of a "critical test." Evol Hum Behav 2003;24(2):88-98.

Overall physique

  1. Smith KL, Cornelissen PL, Tovée MJ. Color 3D bodies and judgements of human female attractiveness. Evol Hum Behav 2007;28(1):48-54.
  2. Tovee MJ, Cornelissen PL. Female and male perceptions of female physical attractiveness in front-view and profile. Br J Psychol 2001;92 Part 2:391-402.

There are a few cases where a minor sex difference has been reported, as in the case of nasion placement in women. Some early studies had used crude drawings and reported sex differences in body weight preference, but this find has not been replicated in better studies using actual photographs.

Take home message

Some people point out that female high-fashion models sell clothes to women, not men, and hence are not supposed to cater to the aesthetic preferences of heterosexual men. Well, they are not catering to the aesthetic preferences of women either.