Instapundit links to a story about a study that found that women in countries with a cradle to grave style government and taxpayer funded healthcare have a tendency to favor pictures of men which have been subtly “feminized.” The researchers posit that masculine men are favored for being more resistant to disease, but they are also (to the researchers) “uncooperative, unsympathetic, philandering, aggressive and disinterested in parenting,” therefore, it is beneficial to women to drop the desire for he-men as soon as reasonably possible.
Setting aside the quibbles that there is no real reason to believe that tougher-appearing guys are poor father candidates or “uncooperative, unsympathetic” etc. (my experience is quite the opposite) and that evolution just plain doesn’t work that fast, I’d like to posit a different explanation, based on the ultimate sample: me.
When I was younger, I was attracted to more girly-men. I thought Johnny Depp was dreamy. When I was 17-18, Leonardo DeCaprio was simply the epitome of sex appeal. I deliberately sought out things like long hair and soft facial features.
Leo and I aged at the same rate (he’s six years older than I am). How come now he looks like a little boy to me? No amount of viewings of Titanic or Romeo + Juliet can bring back the previous lust (Yes, I realize those are really obnoxious movies that inspire strong feelings. But I was a teenaged girl and I loved them). But now, Keifer Southerland? Oh my, my.
So, here’s my explanation for the researcher’s findings: Maturity. Simple as that. As I went from a girl to a woman, I began to appreciate men, not boys.
Now, I may not have a bunch of fancy “research” to back this up, I may be missing some silly things like “sample size” or “scientific training,” and my idea lacks an obvious evolutionary basis, but think about it. Women in these countries are children of the state for their entire lives. Cradle to grave, it’s all the same. They never grow up; they never have to. And, perhaps, their preferences reflect that.