Women prefer 'manly' men when poor health is their country's norm

Last Updated: Wed, Mar 17, 2010 08:00 hrs

Women who live in countries where poor health is the norm prefer more masculine-looking men, a new research has found.

On the hand, women who live in healthier countries prefer more feminine-looking men, according to the study.

Psychologists say their research suggests that masculine men have the greatest appeal for women who live in areas where a strong genetic make-up is critical for survival.

"When women are choosing a mate, they're weighing up two different things. On the one hand a really attractive, high genetic quality mate will give them very healthy offspring. On the other, there is getting "investment" from a mate - one who'll be a good dad," The Guardian quoted Lisa DeBruine, who led the study at Aberdeen University in the UK, as saying.

"Men who are really attractive tend to be able to pursue whatever mating strategy is best for them. They are more likely to prefer short-term relationships. More feminine men tend to be better providers," she added.

The study of women in 30 countries showed that women were more likely to choose a masculine-looking partner if their country scored low on a health index based on World Health Organisation mortality figures.

On contrary, in countries where people have a longer lifespan, women favoured more feminine-looking men, even though they might not have the healthiest genes available.

DeBruine said: "Certain environmental factors shift the balance when a woman is choosing a mate, and health is one of those. If a woman lives in an environment where there are lots of pathogens and disease, they are more likely to trade off a good investment in favour of better health for their children. In places where health is less of an issue, women are not so willing to do that."

The study has been published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. (ANI)