A while back, we reported on a Daily Mail writer's amusing—if not a touch loopy—theory that rugged, beefcake men are "in" when our economy starts to dwindle. Her theory was simple—when we lose (or fear losing) our jobs, we want a strong, muscle-laden arm to pull us up and make us feel safe. Makes sense (sort of). The Retrosexual: Manly Men Return
Well it appears that Hollywood and Playboy subconsciously sculpt their ladies to fit a mold depending on the job market, too. According to two studies analyzing the faces and body shapes of famous actresses and models throughout the years, tough times call for ladies who look more "mature." No, not in a Golden Girls kind of a way but in a taller, sturdier, slighty heavier form than when the economy is booming. Male Take: When He Can't Get An Erection
Psychologist Terry Pettijohn told LiveScience.com that feeling insecure financially will cause one to "gravitate toward finding friends or partners that look stronger." Men may subconsciously pick out a more square-shouldered woman (denoting independence) rather than fall victim to the pouty-lipped curves of a more traditionally feminine lady. Here's how Pettijohn describes it:
In relatively good times, such as the 1940s and the early 1980s, popular actresses, such as Rita Hayworth and Judy Garland, had babyish features (large eyes, small chin, plump cheeks) and favorite models, such as Dorothy Stratten and Terri Welles, had extreme hourglass figures. These traits have been associated with both naivety and enhanced fertility.
But when things get rocky, like in the 1930s, 1990s and, let's face it, the last couple of years, beauties tend to be taller, thicker around the middle and have less voluminous eyes—features associated with strength, maturity, independence and greater access to resources.
Anna Nicole Smith is an example of a heavier playmate popular in the troubled 90s, and Sandra Bullock's mature face may have contributed to her popularity in 2009.
The study goes on to say this mate selection has its roots in baby-making. Men who are weary about their economic futures don't want to be tied down to a doe-eyed, hourglass shaped woman who looks "needy and likely to get pregnant." Instead, they'll gladly take out that Ellen DeGeneres doppelganger with a few extra pounds around the waist.
If this were true, how would all these scientists explain the popularity of doe-eyed, voluptuous Kim Kardashian, pillow-lipped Angelina Jolie and the woman who puts the "c" in curves, Mad Men's Christina Hendricks?