March 18, 2010

Preference for masculine/feminine-looking men and national health

Supplementary Table 1 has the relevant data. I have sorted the data on national health index, and average masculinity preference.



Note that country scores were limited only to those judges who identified themselves as White.

Some observations:
  • As the authors note health index is related inversely with preference for masculinity. However, there are some interesting cases:
  • Canada and the USA have similar (high) masculinity preferences, even though they differ substantially in the health index.
  • Iceland and Norway (small sample sizes, but we can combine the two) have a good health index as does Sweden, but a much stronger preference than masculinity than Sweden.
  • The vast majority of EU nations are around ~0.4 in the masculinity preference index.
An untested factor is variation in the levels of facial masculinity across different nations. Differences in preference may not reflect differences in health, but rather differences in average facially-expressed masculinity. It would be interesting to use anthropometric data to test this possible influence, as "White" populations from different nations are not anthropometrically equivalent.

Another untested factor is the racial makeup of different nations. It is fairly striking that the top nations in masculinity preference (we can exclude Bulgaria with its small sample) are all the ones with the longest histories of racial co-existence. This may have altered attractiveness standards in these countries, as the Caucasoids within each country may have altered perceptions of attractiveness due either to familiarization with other races or (conversely) due to a desire to distance themselves from them phenotypically.

PS: You can download the paper and other face-related research at the Facelab.

Proceedings of the Royal Society B doi:10.1098/rspb.2009.2184

The health of a nation predicts their mate preferences: cross-cultural variation in women's preferences for masculinized male faces

Lisa M. DeBruine et al.

Abstract

Recent formulations of sexual selection theory emphasize how mate choice can be affected by environmental factors, such as predation risk and resource quality. Women vary greatly in the extent to which they prefer male masculinity and this variation is hypothesized to reflect differences in how women resolve the trade-off between the costs (e.g. low investment) and benefits (e.g. healthy offspring) associated with choosing a masculine partner. A strong prediction of this trade-off theory is that women's masculinity preferences will be stronger in cultures where poor health is particularly harmful to survival. We investigated the relationship between women's preferences for male facial masculinity and a health index derived from World Health Organization statistics for mortality rates, life expectancies and the impact of communicable disease. Across 30 countries, masculinity preference increased as health decreased. This relationship was independent of cross-cultural differences in wealth or women's mating strategies. These findings show non-arbitrary cross-cultural differences in facial attractiveness judgements and demonstrate the use of trade-off theory for investigating cross-cultural variation in women's mate preferences.

Link

31 comments:

  1. (conversely) due to a desire to distance themselves from them phenotypically

    Yes, that is probably the case. Caucasoids (including South Asians) are in general more masculine-looking than other races (especially Mongoloids (including Native Americans)).

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  2. I'm still trying to figure which of the two guys in the photos (composites?) is more masculine, LOL. The one in the left looks more mature and has a thicker neck, while the one in the right looks more childish but has a less round face.

    "Differences in preference may not reflect differences in health, but rather differences in average facially-expressed masculinity".

    Here you make a very good point: women may be preferring not an unclear "masculinity" (that I really don't see clear at all) but locally typical faces.

    Also I notice that the variations in preference do not seem too strong, even at the extremes, have they checked P (statistical significance)?

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  3. "I'm still trying to figure which of the two guys in the photos (composites?) is more masculine, LOL."

    LOL. They must be brothers.

    "Another untested factor is the racial makeup of different nations. It is fairly striking that the top nations in masculinity preference (we can exclude Bulgaria with its small sample) are all the ones with the longest histories of racial co-existence. This may have altered attractiveness standards in these countries, as the Caucasoids within each country may have altered perceptions of attractiveness due either to familiarization with other races or (conversely) due to a desire to distance themselves from them phenotypically."

    Here's an example I can think of where attractiveness standards have changed due the presence of racial co-existence. It's quite nicely documented in Brian Sykes book, "Saxons, Vikings and Celts: The Genetic Roots of Britain and Ireland."

    I'll quote directly from Chapter 4:
    "The first forays of science into the highly charged arguments about British origins came at the height of the Victorian enthusiasm for Saxon superiority. It is hard to imagine how ingrained was the sense that the people of Britain were split into two entirely different 'races' and how superior the Saxons felt about themselves." Sykes goes on to recount how the Victorians tried to differentiate Saxons from Celts using eye and hair color. There were even notions of "Mixed Blond" and "Mixed Dark", for a light hair color with dark eyes, or dark hair color with light eyes.

    My conclusion is that various people from the British Isles and their descendants have long struggled with how to identify "themselves." In fact, I believe there is a paper showing that there has been strong selection for blue eyes in Northern European populations. The authors postulate that this selection is due to a desire to select a racially similar mate.

    I'd think that the common American preference for blond hair works in the same way. It could be a kind of unsophisticated attempt to identify a perceived racial similar.

    It's my impression that until recently, in certain parts of the British Isles such as Ireland and Wales, with less "racial coexistence", blond hair was not particularly in fashion.

    Not sure about how the selection for a more masculine face would work, but the racial co-existance hypothesis is an interesting one.

    Has anybody tested how this correlates with the tenor or "masculinity" of voice?

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  4. The paper isn't open access, so haven't read it, but did the author try to see if better health makes it so that women who have a endogenous preference for feminized males breed more?

    I.e., did the author check to see if that when there's better health, over time, the population's make up changes due to the increased fitness of women with an endogenous preference for feminized males having more children?

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  5. What they didnt looked for is the factor of Feminism and cultural Feminisation in society. Obviously all states which score on the rather feminine side have a stronger tendency towards a peaceful, "new male ideal", rather than the classic one. I doubt that in another sociocultural frame f.e. Sweden & Co. would score the same way, regardless of health status.

    The most social democratic nations, with a strong tendency towards Cultural Marxism, have the lowest masculinity indices, chance? I doubt it.

    All the "macho countries" with more traditional relationships between males and females score high, chance? I doubt it.

    A pacifist intellectual which makes the "50:50 share" in the household and with the children is more of an ideal in Sweden than in Bulgaria, Brazil or Turkey and obviously one could talk about how such a behaviour could be related to the physical appearance, the hormonal status of a male.

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  6. "LOL. They must be brothers."

    These arent faces of real humans but are computer generated.

    In fact, its one and the same face, twisted into average masculin and average feminin proportions.

    This is, to make sure, the masculin/feminin proportions are the ones who turn the result and not anything else in this face.

    Its absolutely clear to my eyes, wich is the "Masculin" version.

    The one with the Neanderthalian jaws, the small eyes, the huge monkey ears. Clearly, the left one is the ogre. Uh, the masculin man I mean. ;)

    He looks like a football quarterback.

    The right has small jaws. Small ears, big eyes. He has something of the apaearance of a weasel or a rat. ;-P

    It can be seen more clearly if you put both images exactly above each other in say photoshop and switch between them.

    .....


    About eye and hair color.... hmm
    I once read that blond is a feminin or even childish hair color and that black hair makes a more masculin/adult impression.

    Same goes for skin color. Light skincolors suposedly give a more feminin impression while darker skincolors make one look more masculin.

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  7. "What they didnt looked for is the factor of Feminism and cultural Feminisation in society".

    Good point, Observer.

    I was in fact hoping they had tested some "control" country like Japan, where the natural morphotypes of both men and women are more paedomorphic and hence vaguely "femenine".

    "He looks like a football quarterback".

    Does he? I usually imagine them more absolutely "cromagnid" with broader faces. This guy looks sensible to me... even if his neck is admittedly rather thick (a detail one can easily ignore).

    "The right has small jaws. Small ears, big eyes. He has something of the apaearance of a weasel or a rat".

    LOL. Weasels have small eyes. The ears in both photos are identical, the only thing that really changes are the breadth of the jaw (and as women typically have rounder faces, that's the guy at the left) and they also seem to have altered the zone of the eyes, which is more like an individual trait, right?

    The one of the right looks more paedomorphic, more childish, younger maybe... but not more femenine.

    Hopefully they used other photos because this case is very bad.

    "Same goes for skin color. Light skincolors suposedly give a more feminin impression while darker skincolors make one look more masculin".

    Actually men tend to have redder (less green) shades in the skin but women have redder shades in key spots such as the lips, enhancing contrast.

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  8. Observer:

    Not to walk into a hornets nest, but with respect to:

    "What they didnt looked for is the factor of Feminism and cultural Feminisation in society. Obviously all states which score on the rather feminine side have a stronger tendency towards a peaceful, "new male ideal", rather than the classic one. I doubt that in another sociocultural frame f.e. Sweden & Co. would score the same way, regardless of health status."

    "The most social democratic nations, with a strong tendency towards Cultural Marxism, have the lowest masculinity indices, chance? I doubt it."

    I would respectfully disagree.

    The 'peaceful, "new male ideal", if it exists at all, has only existed in parts of Europe for about 60 years. Not more than tree generations. It's hard to account for any natural selection in three generations.

    And Canada has been doing the supposedly 'peaceful, "new male thing" for as long as Europe. Oh, except for hockey goons:

    http://www.hockeygoon.com/

    To be honest, I don't see much of a coorelation between countries that have been influenced by feminism or socialism and the results in this chart.

    How about Brazil(0.55), Canada(0.46), Iceland(0.87), the Russian Federation(0.43) and Poland(0.42)? These countries all have been influenced by socialism within the last fify years.

    It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that these results are due to feminism or socialism.

    And speaking as a women, in my unmarried days, it would tick me off when a guy tried to present themselves as the peaceful "new male." Peaceful "new male" or not, I've never men a man who would magically clean the bathroom unprompted. And after a while, the whole "new male" thing started to get on my nerves. "That's nice, I started to think, but you are still going to have to bring home some bacon. AND clean the bathroom."

    Most women aren't that dumb. It takes a lot to raise children and women are making that calculation when they are choosing a mate. That hasn't changed in thousands of years.

    If there is one additional observation I might suspect, it is that countries with low masculinity preferences appear to be countries with traditionally lower birthrates.

    (The outliers are Greece, Portugal and Spain, with traditionally higher birthrates, but moderate masculinity preferences.)

    With a low birthrate, you'd have fewer children and would be less dependent on the income of two parents to raise a family.

    Anyway, I like the original idea about selection based on a coexistence strategy.

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  9. "It's hard to account for any natural selection in three generations".

    Cultural "selection"... or mere fashion if you wish.

    "These countries all have been influenced by socialism within the last fify years".

    LOL, every single country in the world, including the USA, has been influenced by socialism in the last 150 years. Now you have stepped on a true hornets nest!

    "It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that these results are due to feminism or socialism".

    Is there any difference? Both are about equality and I doubt we'd be talking of Feminism at all now without the Workers' Movement.

    "Most women aren't that dumb. It takes a lot to raise children and women are making that calculation when they are choosing a mate. That hasn't changed in thousands of years".

    Maybe. But "now" they may prefer one who looks like keeping an office job (more tame and intellectual, so to say) rather than one one who would kill a mammoth barehanded, so to say. The gorilla type may be slightly less interesting if hard works are rare and/or do not pay much.

    "... appear to be countries with traditionally lower birthrates".

    Like Spain?! The tendency towards low birth rates has some differences (natality control by delaying marriage when land was scarce seems to have been common in Atlantic Europe since "always" but rare in Mediterranean Europe). Nevertheless Mediterranean Europe has caught up quickly towards low birth rates as soon as life quality, education and contraceptive availability improved (and cost of life became prohibitive). Low birth rates are the marker of advanced world, high birth rate is essentially a sign of underdevelopment, illiteracy, lack of access to contraception and no social security (for what the children are expected to put up).

    Once low birth rates (and the much related high education levels) are reached they hardly reverse, even if quality of life sinks, as shows the case of Eastern Europe. They may drink more vodka... but they don't have more children... because these are perceived as a very costly investment that really doesn't pay off and also, if the situation is bad, as almost "a crime" to create. Why would you have children if there's no hope and you're not purely selfish (and most people are not)?

    "The outliers are Greece, Portugal and Spain, with traditionally higher birthrates, but moderate masculinity preferences."

    Spain has now one of the lowest birthrates of Europe and that's because of extremely high unemployment and good education. It's a situation not so different from Russia, except for the vodka and to some extent the weather.

    When it had a high birthrate it used to be a totalitarian Catholic fascist state, Iran-like, and then the "Iberian macho" was en vogue. But after the 60s it fell off fashion and Spaniards became more or less standard Europeans with similar tastes and ideals.

    But all this is relative. Why there are so many Brits and Germans in the USA? Because these countries once had extremely high birth rates and had to place their offspring somewhere. It's all fashion and culture.

    ...

    Anyhow, my impression is that those described as low "masculinity" actually prefer low "maturity"... more child-like guys.

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  10. "Cultural "selection"... or mere fashion if you wish."

    Yes, well that's why I brought up the blond thing. In a mere matter of decades, especially as we have all figured out that Madonna and Marilyn Monroe had die jobs, blond is out and brown is thankfully no longer entirely out of fashion. When I moved to California, my hair stylist insisted on lightening my dark brown hair. I was shocked! It was like she had disappeared me. I had no contrast in my face at all. In a flash, I went back to being a brunette and quickly found myself a new, non Californian, from Massachusetts, ethnically Italian, hair stylist.
    Just one of the many traumas of moving from Canada to California.

    "LOL, every single country in the world, including the USA, has been influenced by socialism in the last 150 years. Now you have stepped on a true hornets nest!"

    I'm good at that.

    Well, I didn't bring up Marxism, Observer did it! If ALL these countries have been equally influenced, we can just toss the Marxism => low appearance of masculinity thing onto the pile of flaky ideas.

    ""It's a bit of a stretch to suggest that these results are due to feminism or socialism".

    Is there any difference?"

    Quelle horreur! Absolument!

    Maybe it's just my Canadian upbringing, but Nellie McClung would keel over backward if you called her a socialist. And I'm not entirely rejecting socialism, just saying that feminism hasn't always been well served by classical socialism. The singular thing that has helped women is to lower the birth rate and increase education of girls and women. Did the Worker's Movement make that happen?

    "But "now" they may prefer one who looks like keeping an office job (more tame and intellectual, so to say) rather than one one who would kill a mammoth barehanded, so to say. The gorilla type may be slightly less interesting if hard works are rare and/or do not pay much."

    Maju, seriously, do you think there is an "office job look"?
    If there is, it amounts to a haircut.

    "... appear to be countries with traditionally lower birthrates".

    "Like Spain?! contraceptive availability . . .
    "Once low birth rates . . . purely selfish (and most people are not)?"

    Yes, and ....?

    "Spain has now one of the lowest birthrates . . ."

    Yes, I am aware of this. I was speaking traditionally. We're talking natural selection, maybe over the last five hundred years, perhaps more, and my goodness if I have stepped on the honour of Spain, with this little comment about birthrate, and aren't you a Basque anyway? Nice to see a little Spanish nationalism creeping in there.

    "But all this is relative. Why there are so many Brits and Germans in the USA? Because these countries once had extremely high birth rates and had to place their offspring somewhere. It's all fashion and culture."

    Yes, exactly my point.

    "Anyhow, my impression is that those described as low "masculinity" actually prefer low "maturity"... more child-like guys."

    Hmmm. In general, I think people who are less thoughtful tend to choose a partner based more on socially fashionable norms. People who are more intelligent can push on normative standards of attractiveness. In addition to a broader idea of what is good looking, people who are more intelligent probably weigh in on personality, family history, intelligence, accomplishments and something I'll call grit, that is, the ability to push through in hard times. And clean the bathroom.

    However, I'm not sure that this weighs into how people look in the long term, as intelligent people tend to have fewer children.

    So perhaps, on average, our looks are a result of dumb natural selection, rather than itelligent natural selection.

    Sob!

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  11. "Did the Worker's Movement make that happen?"

    Largely yes. Of course it was the product, mostly, of women within the Workers' Movement (and some bourgeoises, I guess) but it's not something you can easily dissociate.

    But well, universal vote is also an achievement of the Workers' Movement, as is social security, public healthcare, paid vacations and other things we take for granted now. That doesn't mean that there were no capitalists who were totally insensible to the needs of the workers (after all they also needed customers, not just slaves) but they were rather exceptional and normally only conceded after due struggle.

    The official ideology and the single-thought propaganda machinery has made us forget all that... but, if you dare to research, the information is still there.

    "I was speaking traditionally".

    My whole point is that "tradition" changes. It had high birthrates when it was part of the Third World... not so long ago.

    "Nice to see a little Spanish nationalism creeping in there".

    WTF! I'm just stating the obvious: informing you of the facts. I'm anything but "Spanish nationalist".

    Spain is quite pathetic, IMO, and that's why it has such a low birthrate: because it can't provide for its own people, so the people can't have children because it's extremely expensive and their job security is close to none.

    If people could get decent jobs and hope to keep them and not have to spend every single euro in a home... then maybe they'd have more offspring. But with people staying at their parents' homes often up to the age of 30... impossible.

    In countries like Denmark or Switzerland they make sure young people can get a decent home for little, that, together with much lower unemployment rates, helps a lot in this endeavor (and in general with all in life). Until the state begins to make sure that young people can access homes at reasonable and not bubble prices, and until it makes sure that employment is available for all (or almost all), improving job security and mid-term expectations... until then the birth rate and in general the demand of goods will be low.

    ...

    And well, I guess you can't know from a picture how likely is the guy in it to clean the bathroom regularly (probably low in any case but it's not something you get from a mere photo, do you?)

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  12. Maju,

    I'll just be straight with you and tell you that a lot of my political beliefs are shaped by the time in which I grew up in Canada. I'm an ardent admirer of Trudeau, who was a liberal, but also a great thinker. But it takes more than activism to create good government. People from across the political spectrum are capable of acting for the common good. And don't underestimate the role of classical conservatism, Teddy Roosevelt style, in creating good government.

    Yes, I do think that we wouldn't have paid vacations, healthcare and social security if it weren't for pressure from the left, and more specifically, from the labor movement. However, at least in Canada, it was people who were politically in the center who managed to implement such policies.

    I think there is a healthy interplay between these different political forces.

    Anyway, we're gonna get in trouble for talking politics and going OT.

    Referring to the comment I made on Spain, yes, I know that things change. But, as I said before, I think the effect that the paper is demonstrating is a long term effect. That's one of the reasons that I put up my original post. What happened in Britain two and three hundred years ago is still rattling through the selection process here in North American. Yes, many people here are not from the British Isles, but a lot of the normative standards of appearance are formed by the idea of WASPiness. So I suspect that people are selecting for what they think is WASPiness. Sorry for the non-technical language. I don't know how else to define it.

    From what you are describing about the economy in Spain, you could just as well be describing the economy in Greece, or Italy. When I was in school, a good friend of mine was from Italy (Venice, ooo) and although his Dad was a cardiologist, he told me that even with a PhD, he expected to be living at home without a professional job until he was in his mid thirties.

    There's something that grates me about that. The lost ability, energy, the stasis.

    One thing I would say is that the wealth of Denmark, Switzerland and other countries like it is not based only on social policy. It is also based on very wise, long term business investment. As examples, I'll give institutions such as the Swiss Center for Electronics and Microtechnology and the Interuniversity Micro Electronics Center in Leuven, Belgium.

    Maju, I know the general state of the economy sucks, but you do seem to be bright, and full of life, and if I were you, I would not wait for "the state" to give me anything. Don't accept the status quo. Find your way through. As your parents did. And your grand parents did. And your great grand parents did.

    "in any case but it's not something you get from a mere photo, do you?)"

    No, it's not. Forget about these dumb pictures. It's dummy selection, not us.

    Good night!

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  13. Maju, I see you want war with me. ;)

    Like is the nature of you primitive races.

    And only the totaly destruction of your people will heal this.

    If weasels have small eyes. Then I apologize.

    the right face looks like it needs a iron bar in its face. He turns me agressive by his pure looks.

    I would command to eliminate peopole with these looks any time.
    He cannot be healthy.

    But thats not the topic now.

    The ears are NOT equal in both images.

    I put them both into photoshop into 2 layers. Eyes exactly matching eyes.

    Then switched off and on the upper layer (feminine one) to see where the images differ.

    They did not match at the ears.
    The "grew" by the moment I switched off the visibility of the feminine layer.

    The whole forehead exploded forward. The Jaws exploded into my face.

    Just because you brain is too small to get this ready, you dont see it.

    Thats the way I see it, slave.

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  14. Haha, damn I just watched your Profile Maju. I KNEW it.

    Scum. :D

    ReplyDelete
  15. For blind people...
    this is the difference of the 2 images:

    http://img63.imageshack.us/img63/8215/dohw.jpg

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  16. "How about Brazil(0.55), Canada(0.46), Iceland(0.87), the Russian Federation(0.43) and Poland(0.42)? These countries all have been influenced by socialism within the last fify years."

    But not Cultural Marxism to the same degree, especially not like Sweden. Sweden is most likely the culturally most feminised country in the world with a strong female dominance in various aspects of life and the "equality policy" and re-education on a very high level in the way I talked about it already.

    I agree that this might be just one factor among others and that there is indeed a co-selection at work, after all I dont think the differences are that huge, but still I would guess that 50 years ago Sweden would have made a different score, regardless of health status.

    You can never compare former Communist countries, which are often socially still more traditional and less politically correct than many Western nations with what happened in countries like Sweden.

    But really, I think thats just one factor having an effect among others.

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  17. "Anyway, we're gonna get in trouble for talking politics and going OT".

    I told you it was a hornets' nest.

    Whatever the case without unions and direct political action (and I dare say without the Russian Revolution, which in fact extended to as far west as Germany and was initiated by the Working Women's movement on March 8th 1917, making the point that there were alternatives) there would have been no advances. Advances that were just implemented to secure the system against revolution and that are being largely dismantled as we speak, what will unavoidably lead to a new revolutionary cycle.

    "There's something that grates me about that. The lost ability, energy, the stasis".

    Absolutely. But they believe that GDP is all about house prices.

    This is not a problem only affecting Mediterranean Europe but also the UK, the USA... house prices are not falling as they should and governments, unlike in "socialist" Scandinavia, do nothing to make sure that young people can go independent earlier, like providing cheap homes for rental.

    It was not something that happened in the past. When there was full employment and house prices were low (and that was in the fascist era - go figure!) people became independent even before their 20s. But not anymore: the liberal bubble economy is too rigid to allow for such normality.

    And you can get fired any day on almost any pretext (not in the past), so even when you become "independent" you have no security whatsoever.

    "One thing I would say is that the wealth of Denmark, Switzerland and other countries like it is not based only on social policy".

    Maybe not only but there is that factor: the state helps the people, specially young people, to develop their potential instead of just demanding all and offering nearly nothing.

    "It is also based on very wise, long term business investment".

    Indeed. That's another thing that Spain does very badly: it invests to little in research and development. But again this is a policy failure, a problem of the state (and I dare say of liberal economic ideology, which expects "the market" to do all, which is a fundamental error).

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  18. "Maju, I see you want war with me".

    I have no damn idea of who you are, why would I want "war"?

    "Like is the nature of you primitive races.

    And only the totaly destruction of your people will heal this".

    Now I do want your head on a pick, sure. You clearly deserve it after making such racist and genocidal apology.

    I have nothing more to say except that I hope the owner of the blog to censor your abusive comments.

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  19. Hi Observer,

    Thanks for pointing out this school of thought to me. I have to admit that I was almost entirely unaware of the history of "Cultural Marxism" and I know very little about the influence of these polices in Sweden.

    I would say that I, personally, am uncomfortable with a highly policy driven approach toward achieving greater equality for women, except for things like parental leave and equal pay.

    In the work place, I've observed that an excessive institution of political correctness policies often fosters a climate of fear, rather than a positive work environment.

    I'll have to keep an eye out on what is happening in Sweden on this front.

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  20. “Whatever the case without unions and direct political action . . .”

    Just did a little fact checking on Canadian history, and what do you know! the history of the Winnipeg General Strike does suggest that you are correct.

    “Advances that were just implemented to secure the system against revolution and that are being largely dismantled as we speak”

    As we speak? Hasn’t that already happened?

    “. . . will unavoidably lead to a new revolutionary cycle.”

    Err. Well, I’m hoping in this country that we can avoid that. Poor Obama. He looks so tired. Big day tomorrow. (today?)

    “This is not a problem only affecting Mediterranean Europe but also the UK, the USA... house prices are not falling as they should and governments, unlike in "socialist" Scandinavia, do nothing to make sure that young people can go independent earlier, like providing cheap homes for rental.”

    Oddly enough, of the two countries I can speak coherently about, Canada and the US, I’d say that it is the US that has the most progressive policies to assist young people to buy a home. Yes, I’m not kidding, even after the mortgage meltdown.

    US: You can write off your mortgage interest against your federal income tax. Interests rates are low, if you have good credit. You can get a 30 year, fixed rate mortgage. Purchase prices of all properties and title (document of legal title) are public record.

    Canada: You can’t write off your mortgage interest. Interests rates are about 2% points higher than the US. The maximum term of a fixed rate mortgage is 3 to 5 years. Purchase price is NOT public record. You can’t find about the title on a house without paying an attorney. Ah, yes, the legacy of the British Commonwealth. Very irritating!

    My husband just checked Greece. How about that! You can't get a fixed rate mortgage there either. Title information is also painfully difficult to get and in some cases does not exist.

    The mortgage meltdown in the US happened because so many banks offered adjustable rate mortgages and option ARMs to people who were clearly not able to understand them (or pay for them.) Hello, regulation?

    “It was not something that happened in the past. When there was full employment and house prices were low (and that was in the fascist era - go figure!) people became independent even before their 20s. But not anymore: the liberal bubble economy is too rigid to allow for such normality. “

    With respect to full employment or the lack thereof, I’d say we're reaping the effect of living off our seed corn for too many years. Not enough long term government investment. Too much deregulation. To much corporate self interest. General naivety on the part of the consumer. Excessive consumption of stuff we don’t really need.

    “And you can get fired any day on almost any pretext (not in the past), so even when you become "independent" you have no security whatsoever.”

    Here, it’s called “employment at will”. I’ll refrain from making jokes about this.

    “Maybe not only but there is that factor: the state helps the people, especially young people, to develop their potential instead of just demanding all and offering nearly nothing.”

    What about student loans and tuition. How does that work in Spain?

    “But again this is a policy failure, a problem of the state (and I dare say of liberal economic ideology, which expects "the market" to do all, which is a fundamental error).”

    On this, read John Kenneth Galbraith. There’s a nice wiki page on him.

    Maju, I’m ultimately an optimist. I’ve always tried to look for an open door, and when I find one, I do not tarry, but go through it. And it’s always good to pull out a copy of Invictus and be thankful for just being alive, or Max Ehrmann’s "Desiderata":

    "With all its sham, drudgery, and broken dreams,
    it is still a beautiful world."

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  21. I think we are way off topic. Still:

    "As we speak? Hasn’t that already happened?"

    Only partly. With the pretext of the crisis they're trying to cut even more.

    "I’d say that it is the US that has the most progressive policies to assist young people to buy a home".

    Compared with Spain, probably even the USA is better. However the homeless rate is very high in both countries (could not find stats for Spain but it is), while in places like Denmark or Switzerland it is virtually nil (because the state helps providing rental and semi-property homes en masse, keeping housing speculation low in the meantime).

    "What about student loans and tuition. How does that work in Spain?"

    In Europe university and healthcare can generally be obtained almost for free everywhere: it's a public service, as they are considered pillars of civic well-doing. People just don't get in debt to go to the university or because of health problems.

    "On this, read John Kenneth Galbraith".

    I read Galbraith long ago. The problem with Keynesians is that they want to save Capitalism... and for a while they managed to do it... but they are powerless after Reaganomics, totally off and clueless (thinking of Kurgman for instance).

    "Maju, I’m ultimately an optimist".

    Me too: I still believe Humankind is able to do much better than this.

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  22. This study was published in popular newspapers in Argentina.

    Their "popular" way of explaining it was that in third world countries women need a macho man next to them much more than in first world countries with low crime rates in which women are often independent professionals who can live alone on their own.

    Regarding what Dienekes said.
    I have no empirical evidence, but I am sure that beards are and have always been much more popular in Latin America than in Europe or the USA, and one of the reasons for that could be that the predominantly amerindian people can't grow them.

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  23. A Man's a Man for A' That:

    http://www.youtube.com/
    watch?v=b2pGWkjwOBw

    Robbie Burns, 1795

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  24. Great song. Robbie used the tune 'There's nae Luck Aboot the Hoose'.

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  25. Hey, Terry, I'm looking forward to whiling away another hour on YouTube checking out 'There's nae Luck Aboot the Hoose'. Hope you have a nice week.

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  26. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  27. Maju, I think Danny is right about the marked differences between the two photos. They are like opposite poles.

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  28. "have always been much more popular in Latin America than in Europe or the USA, and one of the reasons for that could be that the predominantly amerindian people can't grow them."

    Facial hair was very popular in Rennaisance Europe. Indeed, facial hair fashion is one of the way that people date portraits of that era. There have likewise been times and places in US history when facial hair has been the norm.

    IIRC, the current widspread clean shaven trends for European and Anglo Americans dates from sometime in the 17th to 19th centuries and was of a piece with wigs, neckties, suits, and other aspirations to present an urban and "civilized" image to the world.

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  29. maju said "But "now" they may prefer one who looks like keeping an office job (more tame and intellectual, so to say) rather than one who would kill a mammoth bare handed, so to say."

    Where do you get this? That strong hunter type you seem to be suggesting would hunt the mammoth in a group which would take far more cunning than the Guy picking berries for his existence (comparible to repetitive desk work). You may say that the latter of the two is more valuable nowadays, though I would argue differently, but to call him the intellectual is silly.

    It sounds like you watch to many high school movies where the jocks are mean and dumb and the nerds are smart...




    @daneil:
    lmfao you are quite demeaning. But I think you like getting reactions :P

    So is a guy either going to look like an ogre (very masculine) or be squirrely looking (very feminine); I hope there is a middle ground.

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  30. Where do you get this?

    Neanderthals?

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  31. This study might support Rushton's theory.

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Stay on topic. Be polite. Use facts and arguments. Be Brief. Do not post back to back comments in the same thread, unless you absolutely have to. Don't quote excessively. Google before you ask.