April 5, 2011

Violent times breed cuter girls

Last year I looked at how many heartthrob girls there are during rising-crime times vs. the near total lack of them during falling-crime times. I didn't mention it then, but the same applies to the earlier wave of violence up and down -- lots of babes during the Jazz Age vs. the mostly frigid and mercenary women of film noir's heyday.

That post focused just on the demand side -- what proved popular with guys. But there seems to be a supply-side story as well. If it were only due to changes in demand, then I'd be surrounded by boy-crazy and emotionally powerless Mallory Keaton types, who were for whatever reason just not getting any attention at the local or national level. And I obviously do not live in that world, but instead in one filled with pushy and emotionally in-control gals, plus the femme fatale wannabes like Fergie, the Pussycat Dolls, etc.

So aside from whatever's driving the change in male demand for this or that type of girl, what's behind the shift in production of one or the other type of female?

When violence levels begin to soar, females start to solicit friendship and more from a wider variety of males -- not just relying on her brothers and other kin for protection, who have a genetic interest in helping her out. How do you convince a more-or-less genetic stranger to attach themselves close enough to you that they'll take on the role of protector and/or provider? Well, by being cute. Guys are more likely to take care of her if she seems youthfully innocent of the real world, while also being bouncy and carefree enough that she might accidentally wander into trouble. Otherwise, why would she need a protector at all? I think it's mostly the latter that gets dialed up in chick physiology during violent times -- the main contrast with girls during safe times isn't projecting an air of innocence vs. experience but more like fun-loving vs. playing-it-safe.

I don't know if I've discussed it or not before, but the whole "only marry a foreign woman" thing boils down to women who grew up in and probably still live in rising-crime environments and those who aren't. American men were head-over-heels for American girls right up through the 1980s; the only-marry-foreign movement is new. And it's not just any old foreign country -- it's specifically the countries of Eastern Europe and parts of Latin America that have always been super-violent and even more so in recent decades when ongoing internal war ripped the region apart, not some place that's safe and stable by second or third-world standards, such as Native Americans, Eskimos, Bushmen, Egyptians, etc.

True, guys who are serious about the only-marry-foreign strategy warn about mercenary women in Eastern Europe and Latin America, but the stronger and more basic selling point for them is how feminine the women are.

The argument here is an extension of primatologist / sociobiologist Sarah Hrdy's idea about why human infants are so cute compared to those of most other primate species, and even of adult humans too. Human infants are reared partly by people who are not as closely related as a mother or her kin, whereas most primate infants are reared by the mother. Because human babies have to stay on the good side of people who don't have a genetic interest in their well-being, they have evolved the weapon of cuteness to pierce through the tough skin of the genetic stranger. Chimp or gorilla infants don't rely on unrelated individuals, so they pay no cost for being so ugly. And of course that dependency on unrelated people lasts through adulthood for humans, perhaps explaining why we're so neotenous, or resembling babies, in our appearance. *

In a post below I pointed out that the falling-crime phenomenon of helicopter parenting is a move away from human beings' natural state, at the center of which is a deep sociability, and toward the pattern of most other primates, where there's a lot more selfishness. Let's now add to that -- and more of a boner-killing demeanor among females, not unlike the ruthless she-chimps. (The falling-crime surge in popularity of MILFs and cougars is another example of a reversion to chimp-like norms.)

* The other exception to the primate rule are the callitrichids, who are cooperative breeders. Also unlike most primates, they're pretty cute-looking, and their name means "beautiful-haired" in Greek.


  1. "And it's not just any old foreign country -- it's specifically the countries of Eastern Europe and parts of Latin America that have always been super-violent and even more so in recent decades when ongoing internal war ripped the region apart"

    Any Thai and Filipino brides? Any West African brides?

  2. MOB agencies have been around longer than you might think. I recall seeing their ads back when I was single, which would mean they were around since at least the mid-1980's. In those pre-Internet days they used to run ads in magazines. What I would imagine is that only with the Internet were these agencies able to grow at a rapid pace.

    Most of these early agencies advertised MOB's from Asia. If there were any with Latin American women I don't recall them. Also note that prior to the fall of the Iron Curtain around 1990, Eastern European women were unavailable.


  3. What about African girls?

    Hey Agnostic, how do women feel about muscular men? Maybe you could blog that sometime.

  4. My impression was also that foreign-brides were east asian rather than latin american. And many east asian polities have famously low crime rates.

  5. What's so fascinating about everything you write, agnostic, is that you always seem to make an excellent point based on a great insight......yet by the end of the post I can always find significant counterfactuals that simply disprove your point.

    In this case;Japan. Home to the culture that fetisihzes "cute" in its women above all other cultures, and possibly the safest place on eart. Taiwan also fetishzes cute.

    Mainland China, wich is much more dangerous than either of those places, has an ideal of feminnity that is far more accepting of adult and non-cute women.


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