Thinking like tall men is that they were better at spotting prey or possible dangers when we lived on African savannahs.
And, of course, the reason men prefer women with clear skin, and large breasts is because this signifies that they would be better suited to child-raising. So does the way we think really reflect an ancient, pre-technology lifestyle? The answer, of course, is far more complicated. Humans have developed mental capacities that have clearly evolved over millions of years, and perhaps the most important is language and the ability for abstract thought – something that no other animal possesses. Animals can communicate, certainly, but no animal can tell you what it had for dinner yesterday or make detailed plans for the future. Language permits us to do these things, and the development of writing is perhaps the single most important human development that has permitted us to develop so rapidly in the last few thousand years. We also share many mental processes with animals. Like a mouse, a fish or a bird, we are frightened by loud noises; we feel strong emotions towards our loved ones just as many mammals do. These devel-
“Men prefer women with clear skin and large breasts, which are better suited to child-raising.”
opments clearly serve to help us survive, and could certainly be called evolutionary.
But the theories mentioned above are less easy to defend. Firstly, there is no way to prove them. In some societies perhaps women did devote themselves to berry-picking while men hunted mammoths, but it´s something we can´t discover from archaeological remains, and it seems likely that men also gathered and women may also have hunted prey. The theories also ignore modern culture. Sure, women are known to like pink in the modern western world, but there are other cultures where no one sees it as a particularly “female” colour. In fact, pink was the “boys” colour in Britain less than 100 years ago. A clothes shop catalogue from 1918 says “The generally accepted rule is pink for the boys, and blue for the girls. The reason is that pink, being a more decided and stronger color, is more suitable for the boy, while blue, which is more delicate and dainty, is prettier for the girl.” Map-reading studies are also unreliable. It has been shown, for example, that women are actually better at remembering landmarks and finding their way to places after they have travelled there the first time. There is no evidence whatsoever that this has anything to do with finding berry patches or hunting grounds, however. As for sexual attraction, almost all evidence shows that this is culturally dictated, too. Throughout human history almost every body type and shape has been regarded as the ideal by one society or other, and our modern ideas of sexual beauty are almost entirely based on what we learn from the society we live in.
Back to nature? Modern crazes such as the “Paleo” trend in diet and fitness seem to be based on the fact that our distant ancestors lived more natural lifestyles than we do, and that this is a state we need to return to. But the truth is that, for Paleolithic humans, life was generally nasty, brutish and short, plagued with illnesses . Even then, those early humans had adapted to their diet just as much as modern humans have – there is no proof that it was more “natural.” And, of course, there is the argument that, if bread, dairy products and other foods were so bad for us, why have we been living so well on them for thousands of years?
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