beardedness or non-beardedness? a bit puzzling.
it seems that full beards and heavy stubble edged out light stubble and the clean-shaven look.
the conclusion is based on a study of women's judgments of attractiveness, health, masculinity and parenting abilities, from photographs of men who were clean-shaven, lightly or heavily stubbled and fully bearded.
how about non-beardedness?
surprisingly, men rated full beards and heavy stubble as most attractive, followed closely by clean-shaven and light stubble as least attractive. well, a dose of male narcicism is to be expected here.
men and women agree on the subject of male beardedness, i.e., masculinity ratings increased linearly as facial hair increased.
i'm affraid there's a social side-effect the study is overlooking. keep in mind that our culture promotes and rewards a "clean" male image over its bearded counterpart (which may explain why beardedness is a less common trait than non-beardedness).
how does that prove the study's conclusions regarding female courtship behavior? shouldn't women reflect/influence cultural mores? western cultural androcentrism notwithstanding, one would expect beardedness to figure more prominently.
let's follow the study: suppose a bearded male gets many more females than a non-bearded one. shouldn't beardedness then, in time, become a preferred social male trait, which would, as a consequence, increase the population of bearded males? if so, would such a predominant trait remain a favorite amongst females? we don't know. from the article it doesn't follow why beardedness conveys attractiveness, masculinity or parental abilities. only that it just happens. according to evolutionary theory, models of sexual selection suggest that there not need be any underlying selection advantage to a trait. females simply have to demonstrate an underlying sensory process favoring the stimulus.
but we knew that sexual preference was redundant!
are women's inclinations wired to our furry ancestors? it gets more nuanced. researchers believe that a threshold of density and distribution may be necessary for beards to function as an attractive signal,
in other words, women by contrast, may balance...a competitive masculine partner against the costs of mating with a too-masculine partner. as such,
a) as nietzsche declared, the west has become a non-bearded decadent culture
b) jews, muslims, rastafarians & sihks look sexier
c) we should prescribe more testosterone for our unbearded youth
d) wall street ceo's are unattractive people
e) all of the above
you women & men (why not) be the judges. which is sexier?