What men think: Face over Figure

Men and women always wonder what’s in other gender’s head, and even if most of the time we are in different planets, are we so sure about our differences?

Talking specifically  about how we see the human body, what it is attractive and what we look for in a relationship, men and women are always labeled as two very distinct groups. This is why it was funny for me reading this article on The New York Times:

Men keen on a short-term relationship are more interested in checking out a woman’s body than are those looking for long-term love.

Never mind those last 10 pounds. According to a new study, men care more about a woman’s face than they do about her body when seeking a long-term relationship.

I remember asking men if they would prefer have a woman with a nice body or a nice face. The answer was “a nice face”, with the only explanation that you can work for a nice body, while the face… well that’s pretty much it!

But the part of the article that made me think is this:

Women treated bodies and faces alike, independent of short- or long-term interest. Men, however, made a distinction between face and figure, depending on their intent. Among male participants, 25 percent of those who were told to consider the person as a long-term partner chose to see the figure, compared with 51 percent who chose the body if they were looking at a potential short-term partner.

Here is how the authors explain it: a woman’s face and body signify different things, they say. To put it in clinical terms, facial features are cues of youth and health, and features like large eyes are feminine because “they are sensitive to the rise in estrogen levels that accompanies puberty and persists through a woman’s reproductive lifespan.” This would indicate long-term reproductive value; that is, the time a woman has left to reproduce.

The body, meanwhile, signifies fertility in the here and now. A young and comely pregnant woman, for example, would have a high reproductive value but zero current fertility potential — she is clearly already taken. Evolutionary psychology theory holds that men value current fertility (body) more in a short-term mate and reproductive value (face) in the long term. (Read more)

I wonder, is it really different for women? I mean, don’t we all look a man’s face first?
The article says that “women treated bodies and faces alike, independent of short or long-term interest”, but I do not think it’s true.

As well as men, if we focus on other part of the body, probably we are not looking for a log-term relationship either.

I think every human being prefers to share the life with a person with a pleasant face – “The face is a signifier of emotion and character,” said Roy F. Baumeister, the author of a new book, “Is There Anything Good About Men?” (Oxford University Press) – closing an eye on body imperfections.

If you could really pick one, would you marry a person with a perfect body and the ugliest face ever?

Let me know.

Read here the whole article on The New York Times

Read more about relationship: - Christmas idea for him: look in the kids section

- Just married? Read about divorce

- Canadian fetuses already have an online presence

- Family fight: how do you cut the onion?

- Does falling in love cost you friends?

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5 responses to “What men think: Face over Figure”

  1. bagnidilucca says :

    You can forgive a lot when looking at a gorgeous face and body, but it can wear a bit thin if they behave badly.

  2. gianni Lovato says :

    An interesting piece.

    This time I object to the framing of the question you pose at the end. It hypothesizes a rather unrealistic situation and forces a “black or white” choice that, hopefully you find as undesirable as I do.
    Although I admit being a male still desperately in love with female æstetics, I also am acutely aware and almost as enamored with the underlying complexities.
    I doubt very much that I am alone.

    • lmarmstrong66.wordpress.com says :

      Well for me it has to be what is inside. When I first met my husband I was actually not attracted to him physically at all. I agreed to a date with him because he seemed nice. I married him because he is : ) The rest was just a bonus because after I fell in love with him I looked at him with different eyes on the outside too and realized that he is attractive but I am now very biased : )

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