Thanks to Van for pointing out this article that explains why modern women might prefer Johnny Depp to Sean Connery when it comes to choosing mates. In a University of Aberdeen study that studied the preferences of 4500 women in 30 different countries, the quality of healthcare was directly related to preferences of certain physical male features. One prominent male facial feature cited was having a square jaw, which is linked to superior genes that produce stronger and healthier children. Women who lived in countries that had better quality health care systems tended to prefer men with more feminine features. Their explanation was that women with good quality health care systems didn’t have to worry about the health of their future offspring.
I won’t get into all the social and ethical implications of this study, but one thing that I wanted to point out is that there’s a direct correlation between jaw size and the size of your upper airway. Modern humans in general have much smaller jaws, with dental crowding, which leads to constricted upper airways, from your nose to the space behind your tongue. This leads to breathing problems at night, with the extreme end of this spectrum called obstructive sleep apnea. This is what leads to or aggravate depression, high blood pressure, heart disease and obesity. What I describe in my book, Sleep, Interrupted, is a sleep-breathing continuum, where all modern humans are on a spectrum.
The next time you’re in a public metropolitan area, take a look at recent immigrants’ faces, particularly from less developed nations in South America or Eastern Europe. Notice how in general the parents’ faces are nice and broad, whereas their children’s faces are narrow and long, due to eating mainly Western, modern diets. (Thanks to Anna for pointing this out). After many generations, the facial structures get more and more narrow.
One comment, however, about women’s choices in this study. Is it possible that women with narrow faces prefer men who look similar to themselves, like what their parents have, rather than thinking that their children’s health issues can be solved after the fact?
What do you think about this study? Do you prefer to look at people with wide, square jaws, or narrow, soft features?