The Hips Don’t Lie…

James Turnbull's picture

( But is she smart too? Source )

As long-term readers will be well aware, I’m a big fan of evolutionary psychology. And why not? It usually provides both simple and extremely compelling explanations for many universal cultural features and human behaviors, such as that of the evil stepmother or the fact that 95% of killers are males for instance. So when research in 2004 found that women with hourglass body shapes are 30% more likely to become pregnant than others, it was no great surprise that men worldwide have always tended to find this body type the most attractive.

But even congenitally blind men too?

Yes, it’s true, and while feminists have frequently pointed out the sexist assumptions to many of evolutionary psychologists’ conclusions, this latest news definitely definitely buttresses the “nature” rather than the “nurture” side of the debate:

…Notwithstanding the significant scientific evidence in support for the ubiquitous male preference for the hourglass figure [a waist-to-hip ratio of 0.68 to 0.72], social constructivists doggedly hang on to the position that our preferences are due to arbitrary socialization (e.g., advertising teaches men to prefer a particular body type). Well, in today’s post, I discuss a new study that yet again kills the apparently immortal socialization dragon!

In a recent paper published in Evolution and Human Behavior, Johan C. Karremans, Willem, E. Frankenhuis, and Sander Arons explored men’s WHR preferences with one twist: the men in question were congenitally blind! Needless to say, this largely removes the possibility that these men were taught via media images to prefer a particular female body type. You might wonder how one would go about eliciting such preferences from blind men…via touch of course! The researchers had two mannequins dressed in exactly the same way but who varied in terms of their WHR (0.70 or 0.84)…

Read the details at Homo Consumericus, and the typically acerbic comments section there is also interesting. Meanwhile, on the same day I read that I happened to pick up the June 2010 edition (no.21) of cosmetic store Aritaum’s (아리따움; “Charm”) free advertorial magazine (as one does), and the contrast with the wholly photoshopped, physically impossible “X-line” body type being promoted in it couldn’t have been any greater:

( “Find your X-line”? Good luck! )

I’ve already discussed the X-line concept in an earlier post, almost literally tearing to shreds a Korea Times report – nay also an advertorial – that uncritically reported on the “new body trend” in the process. But you may be curious to also read the advertising copy for the X-line slimming drink above however: what does persuade women to buy such things?

아리따움 슬리머

울여름, 꿈에 그리는 비키니를 위한 당신의 다이어트 플랜은? 운동하기엔 많은 시간과 노력이 필요하고, 어디서 왔는지 모를 다이어트 방법은 믿을 수 가 없다. 그렇다면 올해도 무조건 굶는 것이 최고? 굶어서 빼는 다이어트는 단기간의 체중 감소는 느끼겠지만 얼굴 혈색을 나쁘게 하고 피부 탄력을 떨어뜨리며, 얼마 지나지 않아 요요 현상을 불러온다.

슬리머 DX는 간편하고 즐겹게 이용할 수 있는 슬리밍 제품으로 식약청으로부터 체지방 감소 기능을 인정 받아 믿고 섭취할 수 있다. 또한 휴대가 편한 앰플 형태라 언제, 어디서든 자신의 라이프스타일에 따라 쉽고 간편하게 다이어트가 가능하다. 아리따움 슬리머 DX라면 올 균형 있는 X라인으로 비키니를 입는 데 주저함은 없을 듯!

Edited slightly, to make it sound better in English:

Aritaum Slimmer

This summer, what is your diet plan for getting into your dream bikini? Exercising takes a lot of time and effort, and you can’t believe in diets if you don’t who came up with them. This year, is simply being hungry the best solution? If you diet this way, it is true that you will soon feel that you’ve lost some weight, but at the same time your complexion will become bad and your skin will lose its elasticity and bounce, almost inevitably resulting in a yo-yo effect as you crave foods again.

Slimmer DX is a simple, convenient, and enjoyable to use slimming product that you can take with the confidence that the Korean FDA has recognized and approved it as a slimming product. Also, it is portable and in a bottle that has more than enough for any occasion, ensuring you can easily use it to diet whenever and wherever you choose according to your lifestyle. This summer, you shouldn’t have any hesitation to use Aritaum Slimmer DX to wear a bikini that shows off your balanced X-line!

Sound familiar?

Diet advertisements in Korean magazines appear to promote more passive dieting methods (e.g., diet pills, aroma therapy, diet crème, or diet drinks) than active dieting methods (e.g., exercise). Results further indicated that women may be misled to believe that dieting is simple, easy, quick, and effective without pain, if they consume the advertised product. This study suggests that there is an urgent need to establish government regulations or policies about diet products and their claims in Korea. Magazine publishers also need to recognize their role in societal well-being and accept some responsibility for advertisements in their magazines.

Finally, a question for readers: I picked up the Aritaum magazine partially because I couldn’t tell if Lee Na-young’s (이나영) neck above in a bus-shelter advertisement near my apartment had been lengthened or not? She’s a tall woman: I honestly can’t tell. Meanwhile, the woman in the first picture is Shin Se-kyeong (신세경) for those that you that are curious (whom I’m well aware will also have been extensively photoshopped), but, alas, the identity of the ant-like figure with the X-line escapes me I’m afraid!^^

(Posted at The Grand Narrative)

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