December 29, 2013

Southern girl sexuality

For Christmas this week we went to visit my brother and his wife, both transplants living outside of Fort Hood, itself outside of Austin. On the way over we had two connecting flights, and walking around the Memphis airport, it really stood out to me -- Southern girls have some pretty plump rumps. It was the same once we got into Austin, and when we left from there today.

I had a hunch about this when I visited them over the summer, but now it was hard to ignore because everyone's wearing leggings as pants for the winter. Southern girls are definitely packin' more heat in the seat.

Don't take my word for it, though:

If you search Google Images for the catch phrase, most of them have just the phrase itself. This is the only one that brands it with regional / ethnic pride (not "California Girl..."). And when you search for Southern girl shirts, this is the only one referring to female architecture that comes up, many times. There's no shirt that says "Southern girl. Who needs a butt when you got boobs like mine."

So they seem to think so. Here is some random guy chiming in about why he likes Southern girls better, just stating it as a fact that they have bigger butts. And here is an article about how Southern women are going for plastic surgery to beef up their booty. Most women who would even think about going under the knife to look better would want the opposite done -- liposuction.

In a country that has so much racial diversity, we tend to be blind to or overlook the differences within major groups of a single race. We expect Puerto Ricans to have some junk in their trunk, but Southern belles -- who knew? I have no idea if this is a genetic difference from other white groups. Celts do have more going on around back than Saxons or Scandinavians do, but they're not so well represented among the lowland former plantation areas of the South.

Perhaps there's an environmental influence of heat and humidity -- or local pathogen load? Gangestad & Buss wrote an article showing that pathogen prevalence was strongly linked to emphasis on good looks in a mate. The bug belt of the South would lead men there to pay more attention to a girl's looks than in other parts of the country (especially the colder and drier places). And guys who are focused mostly on looks tend to be drawn more toward the butt than the boobs. Hence, female development goes off on that course in "anticipation" of demand from local males.

Beats me. Probably a mixture of genetic and environmental differences down there.

What behavior might it be linked to? I haven't spent much time in the South, aside from living in Charleston from about 3 to 5 years old. Yet it doesn't take an extended tour to notice how playful Southern women are. And headstrong, like all women. Add those two together, and you've got yourself some pretty frisky females.* It's my observation that girls with larger butts tend to have a higher sex drive. One quick reality check: porno girls generally do not need booty enhancement, while most of them have fake boobs.

As for regional differences, we want to make sure we aren't looking at transplants, and that the resolution is fine enough to look state by state. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is a large, nationally representative survey done every other years since 1991 in American high schools, asking them about all sorts of behaviors that would make their parents worry. One group of questions has to do with sexual behavior, such as have you ever, are you currently active, have you ever before age 13, and have you had 4 or more partners. Here is their online interactive thing. I restricted my searches to female whites in all four grades, using all years available.

No matter which question you look at, you see the same picture of which states are noticeably above the national average, and which are noticeably below. Far and away the most sexually active region of the country is the Greater South, including the southern stretches of Appalachia, the Ozarks, and Texas. I didn't copy the numbers down, but I recall Arkansas, South Carolina, Missouri, and Mississippi standing out, with West Virginia, Kentucky, and to a lesser extent Tennessee rounding things out. Indiana and South Dakota weren't so bad for the average-to-cold Midwest. And Nevada, Wyoming, and Montana are no slouches either, keeping the Wild West legend alive.

It's not like we needed data to tell us what part of the country is the most frigid -- Puritanical New England and the smug and snarky Mid-Atlantic, with Delaware being the only exception. Forget having a sex life if you're a teenager in the New York metro area. (No, it wasn't any better for New York state outside of the City.) I guess being so self-satisfied means never wanting to be other-satisfied.

However, constantly monitoring how men are responding to you sets up its own stream of drama. Although we were out in the middle of nowhere for most of the trip, when we were milling around crowds of people, I could feel girls looking at me more openly than you'd experience in most of the country. Not slutty or obvious, just open. If you give them a quick look and think to yourself "Nice, but I'm not too interested," they can hear your thoughts and read your face. After they've taken two hours to put themselves together, and opening themselves up enough to give you the hint that they've noticed you, it feels disrespectful to just brush them aside. You have to engage in longer fleeting eye-contact and smile more, otherwise they put off this palpable vibe of "Don't y'all forget: Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned."

I wouldn't describe it as them being needy or clingy, but more like insisting on the moral code of "one good turn deserves another." And they weren't only after a quick look to validate their ego ("thank gosh, boy looked at me = i'm not ugly"). They're more frisky than that -- they at least want to stop and flirt a little bit.

How much does the Southern culture of honor have to do with men competing over, and struggling to control frisky females? Nisbett and Cohen wrote an excellent book looking at it from a purely male-male competition point of view. They traced it back to the pastoralist ways of the early settlers in the hillier and more mountainous areas of the South. Their wealth -- livestock -- can move off on its own if driven, so they get very territorial and retaliatory about trespasses. Presumably they don't punish the sheep or cattle, though.

I wonder how much that same dynamic plays out where females are the resource under control (or not, as the case may be). Women who never respond to the advances of strange men, and who don't have even an inkling of desire to be with another man, are like unmovable wealth -- difficult to steal, hence not worth worrying too much over. But frisky females set up a whole 'nother ball game -- not only do you have to establish a reputation among would-be trespasser males that "nobody talks to my girl," but you also have to motivate the girl herself not to stray, and to correct her if she does, unlike with the cow or sheep, who you'd totally forgive if someone rustled them from you.

...Lots more to speculate about, but that'll do for now. This is what fascinates non-Southerners, such as the majority of the audience for Southern Gothic novels. There's plenty of intrigue to go around in our country. Still, in the North, intrigue is political; in the South, it's personal.

* Like pussycats, though, it has to be on their terms -- they either like you, and will chase after you, or they don't and they won't. They don't strike me as the type that could be easily manipulated using standard Pickup Artist games, which are more for liberal women with abstract and rational minds, who lack the guidance of intuition and passion and could therefore fall prey to verbally persuasive word games. Southern women are more savvy: "She said, 'Don't feed me no lines and keep yo' hands to yo'self.' "

8 comments:

  1. Anonymous9:51 AM

    Perhaps it's cross-racial influence from the South's black population? For instance, I think you'd find Rap and RnB to be far more popular among Southern whites (male and female alike) than with Northern and West Coast whites. With black cultural influence come the sexual mores and gender dynamics of West Africa.

    Anecdotally, I've also observed that Yankee girls want nothing to do with black men, but Southern girls are less hesitant about crossing racial boundaries. A truly ironic turn of events, if you think about it. The bolder, more in-your-face sexual behaviour of Southern girls, combined with their pride over their generous rumps, might be due to having a larger ethnic scope of men in mind than their New England sisters.

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  2. Anonymous10:58 AM

    Riding horses seems like a very Southern thing and having a good cushion would probably make riding more pleasant. So men who rode horses may also have wanted women who could ride horses. And that's how Southern women came to have big butts.

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  3. "Perhaps it's cross-racial influence from the South's black population?"

    The simpler explanation is that Southern white men are more drawn to butts than boobs, part of their outlaw / rebel personality. (Stable, good dads who settle down are boobmen more than they are assmen.)

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  4. Anonymous4:18 PM

    that's interesting. so pastoralists and farmers don't line up with conservatives and liberals.

    what divides pastoralists and farmers is being object-oriented(farmers) vs. people-oriented(pastoralists).

    what divides conservatives and liberals is being corporeal(conservatives) vs. abstract(liberals).

    -Curtis

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  5. Anonymous9:15 PM

    I've spent a lot of time around both upper middle class Yankee and southern women and have never noticed that the latter have particularly prominent posteriors. Maybe the phenomenon you describe is more applicable to working class and lower middle class southern women.

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  6. Anonymous7:47 AM

    what divides conservatives and liberals is being corporeal(conservatives) vs. abstract(liberals)

    Yes, this is sort of it, although it gives a colder and more abstract feel to Liberals than they have and a warmer feel to Conservativeness than people generally report.

    It seems like the big divide on the Liberal/Conservative is being between higher cognition and emotion and intellect / fantasy focus (Liberal) and higher action and worldly focus (Conservative).

    This is signified by personality traits in that Liberals score higher for Openness to Experience (thinking) and lower for Conscientiousness (acting).

    Similarly, in the Agreeableness domain which covers some interpersonal content, Conservatives score higher for the Politeness facets (associated with regulating behavior self behavior towards others) while Liberals higher for Compassion facets (cognitions and emotions relating to how others feel, which then inform the action and decisions taken).

    This isn't the same as Extraversion, as that is based on how energising / deenergising interaction with others people is, regardless of whether you are well disposed to them they are (more within the Agreeableness domain), not due to their preferring intellectual stimulation / fantasy to activity.

    This isn't quite related to Intelligence / IQ either, as that purely relates to how well people perform when they're forced into an environment where they have spend fixed amount of time thinking and problem solving, which is more related to the brain's quality than the person's preference for activity versus thought.

    Disgust, community focus, etc. may be part of a world versus thoughts / feelings focus.

    This is not the whole story as such, as each political group needs at least some people of the opposing type, so sometimes cross-personality type people are drawn to the wrong group due to secondary concerns, which flow from the more primary personality dichotomy (e.g. modern day type "Libertarians" who are rather *thinky* but don't have much emotional cognitions about others could be drawn to the Conservative group, and are accepted as useful there, in their own nerdy way etc.).

    The simpler explanation is that Southern white men are more drawn to butts than boobs, part of their outlaw / rebel personality. (Stable, good dads who settle down are boobmen more than they are assmen.)

    Didn't you say that the trend for big butts in 1990-2010 was due to men looking for more long term maternal females?

    http://akinokure.blogspot.co.uk/2011/10/ideal-female-body-shape-during-safer-vs.html

    It might be a Southern matron thing, whereby the more irresponsible low parental investment outlaw/rebel type doesn't want to be messing around looking after children, so targets more matronly T&A females who will look after the kids. That fits the pattern with horticulturalists.

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  7. «what divides conservatives and liberals is being corporeal(conservatives) vs. abstract(liberals).»

    In a very abstract way, probably. However, I doubt that these "meta-meaning" of "conservatism" and "liberalism" always correlate with what people call "conservative" and "liberal" in day-to-day language. Specially the "classic liberals" ("libertarians" in American English) are usually considered a type of "conservatives", however many of them seem to be of an extreme abstract-type.

    Specially in economical science, seems to be a curious inversion - the free-market economists (called "liberals" in almost any country in the world, but "conservatives" in US) usually are the big advocates of building models full of equations, differential calculus, etc; in contrast, keynesian economists (in US, called "liberals") are a little (but only a little) less abstract, sometimes noting (about these models full of equations)"in real world nobody behaves like that; people simply use rule-of-thumb rules that adjust occasionaly to make decisions".

    Perhaps both "«liberals» in US/«socialists» in the rest of the world" and "«conservatives» in US/«liberals» in the rest of the world" are "liberals" in the sense of being "abstract", while only the "«conservatives» both in US and the rest of the world" are "conservatives" in the sense of being "corporeal" (concrete/localist/etc.)

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  8. Anonymous9:52 AM

    Miguel, I think any kind of economist should be fairly abstract-cognitive, but perhaps because the US pays such high amounts of lip service and formal legalistic procedure towards Democracy, they have more economists who spend a lot of time trying to influence people with a corporeal-worldly orientation, more economists who are influenced by such people, and more corporeal-worldly people who are slaves of some defunct legalistic technocrat.

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