Why Women Choose Manly Men

Researchers at the University of Aberdeen’s Face Research Laboratory have some news of interest for particularly “masculine”-looking men. Almost 4,800 women from around the world logged on to the organization’s online lab over the past year, viewed 20 pairs of male faces (similar, but one slightly more masculine than the other), and expressed their preferences. The Wall Street Journal reports on what the researchers found: “They could predict how masculine a woman likes her men based on her nation’s World Health Organization statistics for mortality rates, life expectancy and the impact of communicable disease.” In short, women in less healthy countries preferred more masculine men, perhaps for their evolutionary advantages (testosterone is linked to health). So if you’re blessed or burdened with a short, broad face and a strong jawline, you might want to think about moving to Argentina. (HT: Daniel Lippman)[%comments]

It's all above the neck - their motto.

The idea of a Face Research Laboratory brings the image of a lab full of heads floating in fluid.

Tom from Wisconsin

But only if you are fluent in Spanish. I don't think a masculine face will automatically overcome the language barrier.

Eric M. Jones

If I were to tell you that I prefer "more feminine" women, what exactly would you suppose that means? Young, six-foot tall skinny jet -lack Ethopian visions-of-delight?

I think the concept of "more masculine" is corrupt.

sam rothstein

That's a total misleading and unfair description of Argentina! It is not an unhealthy country.


Except that all other strong jawlined smooth talking men are also located in Argentina.

Diminishing returns to jawline will occur exactly when you get there wink.


From Scientific American:


May it be that hormonal contraceptives are more available to women in developed nations than their less fortunate counterparts?


Doesn't a population's health also increase as their women's education levels go up?

Maybe unhealthy countries are just more sexist countries. If they're not educating their women, they're also likely teaching the whole population a more polarized standard of what is desirable in the opposite sex.


Living in Argentina since I was born I can tell you that here European and USA citizens fare better than the Argentinian counterpart... We have a say here: "Billetera mata galan" that roughly translate to: "Wallet kills smoothtalker" ;)


I am sure there are other explanations. Evolutionary biology can't work that fast. A century ago Argentina was healthier than most any other country, including those in Europe where its immigrants came from.


Is there any nation on earth that prefers tall, overweight, bald men? Wait--is there any nation that considers such men GODS???

I would make an EXCELLENT GOD, I'm sure! (No disrespect intended to the real God!)

Of course, with my luck, the women in such a nation would likely look like Dom DeLuise on a bad day.


Research has also shown that women's preferences for masculine features seem to depend on her ovulation cycle.


Testosterone is not linked to health-- quite the opposite. It's an immunosuppressant. So preferring a testosterone-laden man may be like the peacock's tail-- he must have some BANGING genes if he can survive that! Not to mention that a man with high testosterone may be more likely to command more resources in such a context. Even if he doesn't stay with you, or stay with you exclusively, you and your kids may get a "cut".
In more "civilized" areas, low testosterone may be linked to a man more likely to stay with you and your kids-- something very important in the first world to ensure that you are comfortable and your kids have higher educational achievement. Non-savages really need a committed mate to rise kids well-- it helps a LOT. (flamewar ON)


@AaronS - Tall overweight bald male gods? Have you ever heard of Buddha & Buddhism?

Of course, in many places, with many people, looks are a bait & switch. The strong muscular men with a nice jaw are the bait. The long term switch is what they evolve into...i.e. Fat & bald.

Many young women are offended when I tell them that...


This also relates to womens' choice of a provider partner and a mating partner which correlates to something like 30% of children not being by the father supposed to be their father by some other studies.Women will pick the slub of a guy who can provide well to support the children but will pick the "bad boy" to provide dna to continue the species.

And in regards to something completely different:

"4,800 women from around the world logged on to the organization's online lab ...viewed 20 pairs of male faces"

While this is certainly a nice study, the 4800 women who logged into the online lab are not necessarily the ones continuing the species. Is it possible that women continuing the species were doing other things with their time?

Ann T. Hathaway

You know, you cheapen the message when you report the claptrap.


Seems more a case of confusing correlation with causation. Developing countries share more cultural commonalities among them than with developed countries. Metrosexual culture is not as ripe in Argentina as is in the US and Europe. The average argentinean could kick Benn Affleck's ass alright.

More info here


I had the exactly same reaction as Nick up there- this could be because women in more affluent countries are more likely to be on birth control. This means we both read that other report, and devoted sufficient brain space to remembering, and correlating it with this study. That's pretty sad, isn't it?

How many studies do we need on what type of men's faces women prefer anyways? Try TALKING to girls instead of studying them.

Honest julie

I married a man over 70 years old in 2005, he was not even close to Manly at all but it works out fine.
Let's get real, vast majority of women marry for money.


This is because women usually prefer more masculine men for short term partners and androgynous men for long term partners. Women who are with androgynous men have been shown to be more satisfied with their relationship. Perhaps the women in less healthy countries just want a man for his look genes while women in more healthy countries are looking for a long term partner that they will get along with.

Jennifer Stewart

What about countries where a couple might be engaged at the age of four? What about countries where women are sold as brides to men they never meet until their wedding day? And so on.