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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.



Personal taste is bound to vary based on preferences for specific physical traits such as hair color, eye color, nose shape and so forth. My question is how might one know if a woman is feminine when they have been told from scholarly sources that they are masculinized due to specific traits such as robustness? Robustness is synonymous with masculinity. Based on the criteria for assessing femininity, one might reach the conclusion that after judging a woman's anatomy she possesses traits that are feminine yet give the illusion of masculinity. A woman may possess traits that are deemed as being masculine yet after a thorough inspection they may somehow give the illusion of femininity. One may not be physically attracted to a specific woman based on the aforementioned illusions. The specific physical traits of a masculinized woman may be attractive however I have personally found the importance of assessing one’s full anatomy before drawing conclusions concerning their stance on the androgyny spectrum. I will give the example of Kim Kardashian to further explain the importance of discerning pseudo femininity. Kim’s physical features are quite attractive and when one judges them seperately, one may find them attractive.

A closer inspection of her face reveals masculinity due to the placement of her cheekbones. One may note the overall placement of her facial features including her eyes in proximity to her chin and the angularity of her jaw.

One may claim that Kim’s steatopygous rear end (and entire body shape for that matter) is feminine yet another individual may claim that it is robust.

There is no "illusion of masculinity". Those that claim that Kardashian's body is "robust" are mostly fashion fanatics and/or non-heterosexual men that have a distaste for feminine and curvy bodies.

While Kim Kardashian's face has masculine features her body is very feminine (and very attractive).

Because Eurocentric societies have allowed the fashion industry to dictate what is supposedly the epitome of female beauty in the mainstream many in those societies have been very much socially conditioned to the point of being confused and unable to recognize physical femininity. No one with a sane mind would see Kardashian's body and think it is masculine in any way unless, like I pointed out, they are not heterosexual men and want to dismiss her. So in the case of someone like Kim Kardashian, if someone is confused as to whether or not her body is feminine then this is due to the person in doubt being brought up in a fashion industry inspired environment not because a body like Kardashian's isn't clearly feminine.

Erik Kim Kardashian's cheek bones are not masculine are they?Somehow i don't think she is masculine at all.I think that the part's of her that seem as if they are masculine are only because of her armenian ancestry.I may not like her very much but i think she is very good looking.

More from me:)I think that her face has some kind masculine look to it but it is in her brow bone and chin area.But as i said i think it is because of her armenian ancestry and not because she is masculine.She looks really good to me she is just not as fine featured as a northern european women.

Kim Kardashian is definitely masculine in the face. Lots of makeup not to mention plastic surgery (her face was more obviously masculine before. Check her face without makeup - not very feminine).

She has a huge rear end...not attractive (Eurocentric? Hardly. The media keeps insisting she is 'beautiful with a great ass). She is very thick.

There is nothing feminine about her. Just because she has large breasts and a large booty doesn't mean she is feminine. She is actually short and stocky.

"She has a huge rear end...not attractive"

Incorrect. Very attractive.

"Eurocentric? Hardly. The media keeps insisting she is 'beautiful with a great ass"

Eurocentric? Definitely. I don't know what media you keep talking about but almost all of the women paraded in the mainstream media keeps pushing women with hardly any curves whatsoever. Kim Kardashian is one of the very few women visible at all in the media with curves and the only reason she is there just the way she looks is because she didn't get to become a celebrity through the usual channels.

And yes, because a woman has large breasts and a large booty it does make her more feminine as those are both physical feminine features. She also has noticeably wide hips and is also not very tall. It's only her face that has masculinity but it looks sexy to me. It's only when she tries to highlight the narrow shape of her face through make up and pictures that it doesn't look as good to me.

"She is actually short and stocky."

Being tall is a masculine physical trait and she isn't "stocky" she is curvy.

Sounds to me you are a fashion industry fan or not a heterosexual man which would explain your comments.

Sorry, no.

You are comparing Kim to fashion models which are definitely not only not feminine but have the looks of 14 year old boys. You are correct that Kim Kardashian does not have this look. Nevertheless, she is 'thick' - she is big boned but also has exaggerated femininity (i.e. large breasts and buttocks). She is nevertheless more masculine than feminine (you've agreed her face is masculine).

Look at her body: large boned, thick. Not feminine. A feminine women is not robust yet has large breasts and a small waist. Kim is simply heavy boned. She does have feminine traits in terms of breast size and pronounced buttocks but she is definitely not feminine.

Sorry but yes.

I'm not comparing Kim to fashion models and declaring her feminine because compared to them she is more feminine. I'm looking at her by herself and stating the fact that she is very feminine because her body is very feminine. Large breasts, big and pronounced backside, very wide hips, etc...

The only thing noticeably masculine about her is her face which has some masculinity (the fact her face is narrow shaped) and is not as masculine as typical fashion models.

The thing is you just don't like her body. That's fine, your opinion, but to make it into a fact that she isn't feminine the way you are is bordering on the childish. Your description of her body being "exaggerated femininity" being a good example. I've seen many women with much larger breasts and behinds than her. So if she is "exaggerated" what are they?

Her being "thick" doesn't make her less feminine in any way. Your definition is arbitrary.

Kardashian's body is very feminine and very attractive.

'Thick' means big boned. Not feminine. You are correct that large breasts are feminine. She does have nice breasts. But her 'booty' is massive and she has thick legs. One would never confuse her for being small is this (along with the face - keep in mind she has had plastic surgery), that makes her more 'masculine'. But, yes, she does have some feminine traits. She probably has both. Is she better than fashion models? No doubt. Is she more feminine than average? No.

Sorry but all of this coming from you just because you don't like her body. That's fine but the fact you are trying to turn your dislike of her as a fact is childish.

Her legs are shapely and her "massive" behind is very attractive. You may not like them but many heterosexual men, including myself, do.

Her "thickness" only adds to the curvature of her body thus making her more feminine than average.

The World Map of Breasts compares breast sizes in each of the world’s countries. The study, also known as the Atlas of Cup Sizes, concludes that women in the northern European countries of Norway, Sweden, Finland and Russia average the largest bosoms. According to the data the average woman in these Scandinavian and eastern Slavic countries has larger than D cup sized breasts. However Erik Holland said that Northern European women tend to be smaller breasted than Southern European women!this is contradictory!

The U.S. was not much further behind with American women averaging in the D cup range. Women in parts of Asia, Africa, and Central/ South America reportedly average the smallest A cup sized breasts.
It is unclear how the survey was conducted and itself questions the data’s validity. One would think that the data would vary greatly from region to region in large countries like the United States or Russia. Also, it is unclear how breast reduction or enhancement are calculated in the data. The map is below.


Staci: I do not recall saying that Southern European women on average have larger breasts than Northern European women. As far as I can recall, on more than one occasion I have mentioned an international survey by a European bra maker, needing the data for stocking/inventory purposes, that found the largest average breast sizes in Britain, Denmark, Sweden and the Netherlands, and the smallest averages in the southern European nations. I have discussed this evidence in addition to a trend toward lower waist-to-hip ratios among women in northern Europe, overall corresponding to some secondary sexual characteristics that tend to be more exaggerated in Northern European women.

However, there is considerable heterogeneity in breast sizes within populations and you may have confused an assertion — that it is not difficult to find plenty of feminine-looking Northern European women with small breasts, in the context of the argument that the relative lack of femininity among high-fashion models is not explained by a need for small breasts such that they are only found among the masculine ones — for a suggestion that breasts tend to be smaller in Northern Europe.

I meant to your comment on the forum
I quote:
"Erik Holland said at March 3, 2006 4:15 AM:

It is true that Northern European women tend to be taller, more prominent nosed and smaller breasted than Southern European women, but by no means are all Northern European women tall, prominent nosed and small breasted. Pigmentation is not relevant to my site because the focus is on skeletal traits, fat distribution and muscle structure. Speaking of skeletal traits, Northern European women tend to have finer facial features, partly explaining whey they are overrepresented among high-end models. I have only displayed Charlize Theron’s face, not her physique. I agree that her physique is nowhere close to being a good example of a feminine physique. On the other hand, whereas Monica Belluci has a better physique than Charlize Theron and is a good looking woman, neither her face nor her body is impressive enough for me to use as good examples of feminine beauty."

Staci: The statement that you quoted from a different site was not made at this site, and neither was the error replicated here at any point. Your first comment was thus misplaced and should have been left, in response to the error, at

How was this research done? Because I really don't believe women in the Guyana's have an a-cup on average. Neither do I believe women in the carribeans have a-cups on average. Do not believe this world map is valid it all. A D-cup in one country could be a B in another.

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