Once, when I was about 14, someone commented on the size of my newly-widened hips by saying “You must be so fertile! All the boys are going to just love you.” Though I was bewildered, confused, and slightly disgusted by this so-called “compliment” at the time, I had no idea that there might be some truth behind the whole to “men preferring women with hourglass figures” idea. According to Vox, several studies have suggested that, thanks to evolutionary psychology, guys tend to go for chicks with a certain waist-to-hip ratio. However, it’s a little more complicated than just measurements and reproduction. Much, much, much more complicated.
Before I go any further, I should probably define what an hourglass figure is. Vox notes that one must have a waist that is 70 percent as wide as their hips — or a 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio. The most notable exhibitor of an hourglass figure? Marilyn Monroe, of course. The sensuality, the awooga! hips, the “bombshell” label — it all makes sense. However, as The Daily Mail mentions, ladies without monumental curves can have hourglass figures too, like Jessica Alba, Alessandra Ambrosio, and even Kate Moss (a woman famous for having a "waif" figure).
So what about these proportions is allegedly making all the boys so crazy? Many studies have shown that straight men really do go for women who specifically have a 0.7 waist-to-hip ratio — because of evolution. Wider hips and a smaller waist = a mate who is healthy and fertile. A mate who is healthy and fertile = healthier offspring (to put it simply). Sexy, right?
Oh, but there's more. Mic also notes that women with hourglass figures are more likely to have intelligent kids. Yup. A study from 2007 suggests that women with lower waist-to-hip ratios have children with higher cognitive test scores. So... there's that.
However, just because these studies suggest all men are/should be gravitating toward these specific proportions, doesn't necessarily mean they actually are.
Vox mentions that a recent study confirmed that the 0.7 is, in fact, the average preferred waist-to-hip ratio. Key word being average. In the study, conducted at the Adam Mickiewicz University in Poland, researchers asked 40 participants to choose from computer generated images, each displaying varying waist-to-hip ratios. Naturally, 0.7 won, but the numbers were fairly even across the board. Check out Vox's graph to get a clear picture of just how evenly the preferences were spread out:
See? Not that big of a difference.
The issue with studies like this one is the fact that cultural preferences vary, as do preferences of gay men and women. Vox explains that it's "impossible to fully separate humans from their culture"— guys in Poland might have completely different values than ones in the states or China. There's also the fact that women without this figure find love and mates too, and they seem to be doing just fine. So is evolution. Moving on!