Elle, have you looked at comparable studies in countries that have less economic and social security? Here’s what I’ve found, from a lifetime of traveling and working and living around the globe: in societies where financial stability is the norm and social stability is likewise paramount, women do (as you say) prefer men with more feminine features and likely for the reasons hypothesized in your article. But… once we step outside the OECD (which is where most studies originate) the picture is very different. In countries where hard times are the norm, women prefer men with more masculine characteristics: muscles, strong jaw, etc. The reason is obvious: in such environments the advantage of having a mate who can act as protector outweighs the risks of potential domestic abuse. So we need to be very careful when we extrapolate purely from studies conducted in one particular environment. That’s why so many psychology studies are worthless: they always select psychology undergrad students as the experimental & control groups, and these kids are very far indeed from being representative of the general population. Extrapolating from studies done only in rich developed nations is likewise going to result in generalizations that are unsound.

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