Men value intelligence in women far above large breasts and long legs, a Cambridge evolutionary biologist has claimed.
Although having a large bust and never-ending pins are deemed by western culture as the epitome of femininity, when choosing a mother for their children, men look for brains first,
Professor David Bainbridge, of the University of Cambridge said thatintelligence is by far the most attractive quality for men looking for a long term partner because it demonstrates that his chosen partner is likely to be a responsible parent.
It also suggests she was brought by intelligent parents and so was likely to be well fed and looked after in childhood, and so healthier. It may explain why a man like George Clooney ended up marrying human rights barrister Amal Alamuddin.
Prof Bainbridge said men actually do not care how large breasts are as long as they are symmetrical while for legs, it only matters that they are straight, as bent, uneven legs suggest a developmental illness, like rickets.
“Breast size doesn’t matter,” he told the Hay Festival. “Actually large breasts are more likely to be asymmetric and men are more attracted to symmetry. And they look older more quickly, and men value youth.
“And men are not looking for long legs. Straight legs are a sign of genetic health so that is something that is more attractive, but surveys have shown most men prefer regular length.
“The main thing that men are looking for is intelligence. Surveys have shown time and time again that this is the first thing that men look for. It shows that she will be able to look after his children and that her parents were probably intelligent as well, suggesting that she was raised well.
Men also look for symmetry in facial and bodily features which suggests ‘stable’ genes and youthful partners. Studies have shown that men who are four to five years older than their partners are more successful
However men do like women to be curvaceous with voluptuous thighs and bottoms, and a waist that is much slimmer than their hips. Carrying a bit more weight on the thighs and the bottom suggests that a woman has stored enough fat during puberty to adequately provide for the huge requirements of a growing baby.
In fact the development of babies’ brains relies on fat supplies stripped directly from their mothers’ thighs and bottoms, especially during breastfeeding, and that the quantity of such fat supplies may directly affect a child’s intelligence and chances of survival.
It is one of the reasons why such fat is the hardest of all to shift by dieting because the body instinctively saves it.
Mammals’ and primates’ bodies typically have about 5 per cent -10 per cent of fat but in human women that rises to 30 per cent on average.
This is similar to the levels seen in bears going into hibernation or whales living in cold Arctic seas. Women have traded muscle for fat so they are about a third as strong.
Prof Bainbridge’s book Curvology: The Origins and Power of Female Body Shape is out now.