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Quick judgment of face beauty; variation in and appeal of women’s gait across the menstrual cycle

Two studies follow.

Facial attractiveness is judged in a fraction of a second

Some experiments have shown that people can tell apart attractive from non-attractive faces in a tenth of a second.  Olson and Marshuetz(1, pdf) showed that people can beat chance in distinguishing attractive from non-attractive faces in as little as 13 milliseconds (a millisecond is a thousandth of a second).  The abstract:

Those who are physically attractive reap many benefits—from higher average wages to a wider variety of mate choices. Recent studies have investigated what constitutes beauty and how beauty affects explicit social judgments, but little is known about the perceptual or cognitive processing that is affected by aesthetic judgments of faces and why beauty affects our behavior. In this study, the authors show that beauty is perceived when information is minimized by masking or rapid presentation. Perceiving and processing beauty appear to require little attention and to bias subsequent cognitive processes. These facts may make beauty difficult to ignore, possibly leading to its importance in social evaluations.

A study that showed rapid judgment of aesthetically pleasing waist-hip proportions in women was previously addressed.

Differences in and attractiveness of women’s gait across the menstrual cycle

Provost et al.(2, pdf) investigated whether women’s gait (how they walk) changes across the menstrual cycle and how men’s attractiveness ratings of women’s walk changes accordingly.  They assessed the gait of young women not on hormonal birth control pills by placing reflective markers on their bodies and following the movement of the markers.  Analysis of the movement of these markers revealed that women in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle (late follicular phase) could be distinguished, to some extent, from women in the non-fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, but it wasn’t clear what exactly the difference was.  The authors also assessed the walking patterns of women on hormonal birth control and found that it was not distinguishable from the gait of women not on hormonal birth control and during the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle. 

The authors then had male raters judge the attractiveness of the gaits of the women not on hormonal birth control, without telling them what the purpose of the study was or providing information on what phase of the menstrual cycle the women were in.  Men tended to rate women’s walk during their non-fertile phase more appealing than during their fertile phase.  In contrast, a previous study had reported that the faces of women were rated more attractive while they were in the fertile phase of their menstrual cycle than when they were in the non-fertile phase.(3, pdf)  One possible explanation of these finds is that advertising fertility to potential rapists is a liability, and if women were to make themselves more appealing by their walk while they were at the greatest likelihood of conceiving, then potential rapists could pick up on the cues from a distance, but subtly advertising greater likelihood of conception in features that can be assessed from close interaction only, such as the face, will be helpful to an intimate male partner.  More research will be needed to address this issue.  The authors cite other research consistent with ovulation not being concealed in women but also not being prominently advertised.

The differences in gait documented in this study were unlikely to be consciously altered by women, but boy do some women know how to walk and make men gawk!  Recently, a friend of mine (male) and I went to a scooter place to look at some scooters.  The cute-faced saleslady was dressed in a tight sleeveless T-shirt and short shorts.  Her breasts were ready to pop out of the T-shirt and did she have a teeny-tiny waist!  Then she turned around to lead us and damn...all we could do was look at the jiggle and wiggle of her backside.  I can barely recall what kind of scooters the place had.  We wondered what in the world this woman was doing working for around minimum wage at the scooter place, but then what is this site about?  One day women like her will have mainstream modeling opportunities without having to pose nude or sleep around.


  1. Olson, I. R., and Marshuetz, C., Facial attractiveness is appraised in a glance, Emotion, 5, 498 (2005).
  2. Provost, M. P., Quinsey, V. L., and Troje, N. F., Differences in Gait Across the Menstrual Cycle and Their Attractiveness to Men, Arch Sex Behav (2007), DOI 10.1007/s10508-007-9219-7.
  3. Roberts, S. C., Havlicek, J., Flegr, J., Hruskova, M., Little, A. C., Jones, B. C., Perrett, D. I., and Petrie, M., Female facial attractiveness increases during the fertile phase of the menstrual cycle, Proc Biol Sci, 271 Suppl 5, S270 (2004).


is it possible to get a picture of this saleslady? i'd really like to know what constitutes an attractive woman. and yes i have gone through the examples here.

I don't have her picture. To understand what is attractive in women from the perspective of most people you will have to spend some time reading this site, not just rely on the pictures.

Erik : Do u think between these two women below, which one look more feminine?
why many white males prefer the one on the right side to be more attactive, feminine and sexier than the one on the left side?
and when u trying to explain the same reason u put on this site, they ignore and find that you're racist? I quite sure that more than 80 percent of white guys find that the one on the right side are feminine and beautifull, so do u think all of 80 percent of white guys are all homosexual?


I have found these two women from some websit which both of them promoting themselves on the site, there are a lot of comments from many caucasian guys to those two women as very beautifull, sexy and feminine.

Which one is more feminine?

Zonneschijn: Why are you repeatedly posting comments that have nothing to do with what the article covers? And why are your comments so full of nonsense? What would it take for you to understand that you should not be addressing my arguments unless I have replied to all of your previous comments? Give me time to address your comments; it could be weeks or months, and learn English in the meantime so that you understand what I am trying to say. Otherwise I am just going to set your comments to not display until I have the time to address them.

I cannot compare the femininity of the white woman with that of the Asian women shown next to her, and I would never claim that men attracted to the Asian woman in the ethnic comparison would be homosexual.

Regarding the other two Asian women, the femininity of the physique of the first one cannot be judged because of the pose, and the second one is not feminine (she has breast implants; her shoulders are undoubtedly wider than what is seen in the pose; her arms are on the long side, etc.). Don't waste my time with silly comments.

Erik : I do not particular like those two asian women, on the contrary I find them not pretty. as I see u as the expert of feminine beauty so I just wanted to get your openion about what do u think of those asian girls? why a lot of white males find them prettier than the white women.

Zonneschijn: I asked you a bunch of questions and you didn't reply to any of them, but asked me a question that is unrelated to the article posted. I don't know why a lot of white males find the Asian women better looking than the white women. Do not leave comments unrelated to what the articles discuss.

Another study related to cyclic variation in some aspect of women’s appeal.

Women’s voices more attractive around ovulation

Abstract – We investigated ratings of female voice attractiveness as a function of menstrual cycle phase. Women had their voices recorded at four different times during their menstrual cycle. Voice samples were categorized from low to high conception risk based on menstrual cycle phase and empirical pregnancy data. Results showed a significant increase in voice attractiveness ratings as the risk of conception increased across the menstrual cycle in naturally cycling women. There was no effect for women using hormonal contraceptives. Previous research shows that the sound of a person's voice appears to serve as an honest signal of fitness, and our results show perceptual shifts in women's voices that match the predicted output of an independent and well-designed fertility monitoring system. More work is needed to identify the biological mechanisms that underlie these perceptual differences, but growing evidence points to the impact of hormones on the larynx as being the source of these changes.

R. Nathan Pipitone, Gordon G. Gallup Jr. Women's voice attractiveness varies across the menstrual cycle. Evol Hum Behav 2008; doi:10.1016/j.evolhumbehav.2008.02.001.

Yet another study on cyclic variation in women’s appeal, this time involving dancing.

Female strippers/lap dancers earn more tips when they are in the neighborhood of ovulation

Abstract–To see whether estrus was really “lost” during human evolution (as researchers often claim), we examined ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by professional lap dancers working in gentlemen's clubs. Eighteen dancers recorded their menstrual periods, work shifts, and tip earnings for 60 days on a study web site. A mixed-model analysis of 296 work shifts (representing about 5300 lap dances) showed an interaction between cycle phase and hormonal contraception use. Normally cycling participants earned about US$335 per 5-h shift during estrus, US$260 per shift during the luteal phase, and US$185 per shift during menstruation. By contrast, participants using contraceptive pills showed no estrous earnings peak. These results constitute the first direct economic evidence for the existence and importance of estrus in contemporary human females, in a real-world work setting. These results have clear implications for human evolution, sexuality, and economics.

Geoffrey Miller, Joshua M. Tybur, Brent D. Jordan. Ovulatory cycle effects on tip earnings by lap dancers: economic evidence for human estrus? Evolution and Human Behavior 2007;28:375–381.

Maybe one of the reasons why women's appeal decrease as they get closer to menstruation is that menstruation sucks. Although there are some women who do not feel a thing during menstruation, for others, it's really very painful. So painful, some women opt to go on birth control. There are other symptoms to menstruation that could cause women's appeal to decrease, such as feeling bloated, fatigue, and more upset than usual. Some women also suffer from PMS. Did all of the studies that you listed control for PMS? Were the subjects menstruating pain free women or was there a mix?

And the rapist thing. Rapists are not concern with women's fertility. Rapists rape for control and/or for some other twisted reason.

d: Read carefully. It isn't that women's appeal diminishes as they get closer to their periods because the only study addressing normal gait suggests that it is rated more attractive around the periods or when the women will not conceive.

I don't think they employed women with PMS/problematic menstrual cycles. You can read the studies for the details (pdfs provided for them all).

Whatever the motive for rape, erection is not under voluntary control and hence the rapist must be sexually aroused by the potential victim. If the rapist can get away with rape, then rape allows him to potentially impregnate a woman that he could not court. Hence, there is something to the notion that women will likely not normally advertise their fecundity to potential rapists.

Menustration can affect women's normal gait.

In places like south Asia the rule is similar however attractiveness is different. For example women that are bulky are looked upon as more 'sexy' this is because it expresses a financial statement, since south asian's are poor (generally) a women with bulk would be perceived as someone who comes from a family of wealth.

A muscular man well toned would not be considered more attractive then a fat man.

I wonder what the historic impact is of this?


In South Asia men like to look at women breasts hips and rear end a little flesh around the waist and arms too.
Women don't judge guys as much, guys judge other guys therefore they need to work out.
No historic impact.

Is there, than, that the body attractiveness conveys something differently than facial attractiveness.

I would also like to see how the woman at the scooter shop looked and walked like, she could be our model in turning men on more, you know? I would even make wigs that matched her hair, if that would get me a good laugh when I see men falling at my feet.

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