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Cultural effect on female somatotype
Topic Started: Apr 18 2011, 03:46:00 AM (4,631 Views)
Starbuck
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According to Weidiger & Ploss (1986), quoting Reichard on the matter of cultural effect (i.e. meagre diet and living conditions) on women of the Wanyamwezi (Lake Tanganyika), very prominent buttocks are apparently associated (by foreign observers) with privation, as are:

- extremely thick & muscular arms
- wrinkles (at age 20-25)
- pendulous breasts
- fat or hollow abdominal region
Edited by Starbuck, Apr 18 2011, 06:29:27 PM.
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black man
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Feel free to update with more ethnographic information from this or a different ethnographic group. I wonder whether the better known Zulu (among others) fit the description by the authors you referred to above.

Hopefully not off-topic: I always wondered why the Japanese have extremely flat buttocks although they are only moderately cold-adapted.

I'll try to go more into detail if I find the time. In the meantime, you can formulate your particular questions and research interests (if you like).
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Starbuck
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According to Sarpong (1974), in Ghana both art and æsthetic reflect a tendency toward the preference of the following somatotypical traits on women:

- female buttocks > male buttocks in size
- female legs should be plump
- female feet as flat as possible to reflect strength

The high regard for buttocks in Ghana is reflected at a closer level, according to Sage, Vols 8-9 (1991) and Johnson & Foster (2007):

- Among the Anlo, the breasts/the upper torso as well as the buttocks are held as integral to their understanding of feminine beauty, and the focus on these regions of the female somatotype are emphasized by a dance which demonstrates "feminine beauty through rounded movements."

- Among the Asante and the Akan of southern Ghana, "the development of the full, well-shaped buttocks and thighs" are equated with "fertility and sexual attractiveness." These groups share an affinity for the donning of waist beads (tgmoma) on women, since it is commonly believed that these will enhance the beauty of the buttock-thigh region:
-- putting on beads adds "heaviness" to the buttocks (i.e. the growing of curves "through physical contact, or the power of touch, in order to enhance female fertility, sexuality, and childbearing")

Uhuru Magazine, Vol. 2 (1990) also adds that in Ghana a "gap in the teeth" is linked to "laughter and gracefulness in a woman." (pp. 35)

Around the 11th century, westerners (i.e. Spaniards, Sicilians) who went into the old Soninke kingdom of Ghana (not to be confused with the modern country of the same name) made note of the enslaved segment of the female population there by enumerating these traits (inexhaustive):

- good figures
- firm breasts
- slim waists
- fat buttocks
- wide shoulders

So IMO larger female buttocks (particularly when seen outside of the western paradigm) could apparently signify quite different things in different parts of a continent like Africa, with perhaps as much variance lying between indigenous æsthetic as foreign tastes (with the latter showing lack of unanimity when we compare across time and cultural contexts in f.e. Europe).
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Starbuck
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black man
Apr 18 2011, 07:37:46 AM
Hopefully not off-topic: I always wondered why the Japanese have extremely flat buttocks although they are only moderately cold-adapted.
^

My conjecture: I would preemptively state that a cultural affinity for (relatively) small buttocks in females may mean the cultural favorability of:
- female pædomorphic preservation
- general ethnographic preservation, at least regarding this one region of the body:
-- this is to reference a quote from the 1976 translation of Saikaku Ihara's "Comrade Loves of the Samurai" where Terrence Barrow highlights in the introduction the allegedly low sexual dimorphism of the Japanese, mentioning small buttocks, although it is Cheng (2007) who interprets this
-- this seems to be confirmed by the postwar American influence in the case of the Japanese, hinting to me that the original somatotypical norms were more accommodating to smaller female buttocks (and more specifically, from the Japanese æsthetic, the nape of the neck [unaji; unaji bijin = nape beauties]) from some very early date (Miller 2006)
-- there might even be a certain psychological-symbolic reason for the preservation of small (i.e. controlled) buttocks in Japanese women, which may be linked to proverbs:
--- Nyōbō no shiri ni shikareru = "to be spread over the buttocks of one's wife" (i.e. to be tied to a wife's apron strings; this can also be interpreted to mean "petticoat government" in the Anglophone west)
--- Teishu wo shiri ni shiku = "to have the husband spread on her buttocks" (same as above)

- Source material:
-- "The Melancholy of Race", 2007, pp 115
--- Anne Anlin Cheng
-- "Beauty Up : Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics", 2006, pp 80
--- Laura Miller
-- "Japanese Proverbs and Sayings", 1973, pp 94
--- Daniel Crump Buchanan
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black man
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Starbuck
Apr 18 2011, 07:08:35 PM
black man
Apr 18 2011, 07:37:46 AM
Hopefully not off-topic: I always wondered why the Japanese have extremely flat buttocks although they are only moderately cold-adapted.
^

My conjecture: I would preemptively state that a cultural affinity for (relatively) small buttocks in females may mean the cultural favorability of:
- female pædomorphic preservation
- general ethnographic preservation, at least regarding this one region of the body:
-- this is to reference a quote from the 1976 translation of Saikaku Ihara's "Comrade Loves of the Samurai" where Terrence Barrow highlights in the introduction the allegedly low sexual dimorphism of the Japanese, mentioning small buttocks, although it is Cheng (2007) who interprets this
-- this seems to be confirmed by the postwar American influence in the case of the Japanese, hinting to me that the original somatotypical norms were more accommodating to smaller female buttocks (and more specifically, from the Japanese æsthetic, the nape of the neck [unaji; unaji bijin = nape beauties]) from some very early date (Miller 2006)
-- there might even be a certain psychological-symbolic reason for the preservation of small (i.e. controlled) buttocks in Japanese women, which may be linked to proverbs:
--- Nyōbō no shiri ni shikareru = "to be spread over the buttocks of one's wife" (i.e. to be tied to a wife's apron strings; this can also be interpreted to mean "petticoat government" in the Anglophone west)
--- Teishu wo shiri ni shiku = "to have the husband spread on her buttocks" (same as above)

- Source material:
-- "The Melancholy of Race", 2007, pp 115
--- Anne Anlin Cheng
-- "Beauty Up : Exploring Contemporary Japanese Body Aesthetics", 2006, pp 80
--- Laura Miller
-- "Japanese Proverbs and Sayings", 1973, pp 94
--- Daniel Crump Buchanan
Actually, I'm under the impression that the Japanese (in general, i.e., not just their women) tend to have relatively wide hips (in comparison to shoulders). Same for Koreans. However, less curvy women might get more non-vulgar attention in Japanese traditional settings (such as "Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion"*) than curvy ones. The latter are (or were) considered to accord to vulgar taste, it seems to me.

* See one of the prison scenes at the beginning: almost all of the prisoners have wide hips and flat buttocks.

And a gracile ("paedomorphic") build could have spread among the Japanese for climatic reasons.




Apart from that, I'd like to point out a couple of questions with a methodological background:
- To which extent do beauty ideals possibly have an influence on female somatotypes, to which degree possibly not?
- Can the lifestyles of different social classes make some traits (dis)dvantageous in adult women of one higher/lower class only?
- Are there correlations between male and female average somatotypes (of the same population)?
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Starbuck
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black man
Apr 18 2011, 08:24:17 PM
Actually, I'm under the impression that the Japanese (in general, i.e., not just their women) tend to have relatively wide hips (in comparison to shoulders). Same for Koreans. However, less curvy women might get more non-vulgar attention in Japanese traditional settings (such as "Female Prisoner #701: Scorpion"*) than curvy ones. The latter are (or were) considered to accord to vulgar taste, it seems to me.

* See one of the prison scenes at the beginning: almost all of the prisoners have wide hips and flat buttocks.

^

I somewhat anticipated the possibility of conflation, which is why I didn't comment on Japanese hips but about the gluteal development specifically.

From my own and obviously non-Japanese experience, I routinely train my eyes away from curvaceous women because in fact I am very much sexually aggravated by them. I do note that, for my case, there is a somewhat weak correlation between my giving a greater proportion of my attention toward a less curvaceous woman vs a voluptuous one, but I like to imagine that it's done more out of chaste consideration rather than for lack of etiquette.


Quote:
 
And a gracile ("paedomorphic") build could have spread among the Japanese for climatic reasons.


Right, the pædomorphic labeling only works in a western paradigm, where the allegedly "caucasoid" propensity for superlative sexual dimorphism is the standard by which all other ethnographic groups are compared.


Quote:
 
- To which extent do beauty ideals possibly have an influence on female somatotypes, to which degree possibly not?


I would say they have a very high degree but until now it's been linked to realistic physical limits inherited by each ethnographic group. I would conclude that it's only a recent phenomenon to find almost impossible (or perhaps unsuitable would be the better term) standards set for female somatotypes.


Quote:
 
- Can the lifestyles of different social classes make some traits (dis)advantageous in adult women of one higher/lower class only?


IMO the traits themselves, insofar as they naturally occur on the female somatotype, are neutral. These traits, or rather particular combinations of traits, only come to have any significance when one group or another assumes class preëminence in a society.


Quote:
 
- Are there correlations between male and female average somatotypes (of the same population)?


I'm not entirely sure what you mean here, but I'll leave you to answer that, since you likely have better access to scholarly material.
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black man
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Starbuck
Apr 18 2011, 09:04:40 PM
I somewhat anticipated the possibility of conflation, which is why I didn't comment on Japanese hips but about the gluteal development specifically.

From my own and obviously non-Japanese experience, I routinely train my eyes away from curvaceous women because in fact I am very much sexually aggravated by them. I do note that, for my case, there is a somewhat weak correlation between my giving a greater proportion of my attention toward a less curvaceous woman vs a voluptuous one, but I like to imagine that it's done more out of chaste consideration rather than for lack of etiquette.
You mean their lateral gluteal fat, that stuff below their hips?

In such cases my attention quickly drops after a couple of seconds. Doesn't promise enough to me because the stimulus is too one-sided.

I remember having thought about putting this topic into a broader context. But I forgot to bring it up for discussion. The question would have been sort of: how 'visual' (as opposed to 'tactile', 'sonic' and 'olfactory') is your orientation in such special cases and in general?
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Starbuck
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black man
Apr 18 2011, 10:41:02 PM
Starbuck
Apr 18 2011, 09:04:40 PM
I somewhat anticipated the possibility of conflation, which is why I didn't comment on Japanese hips but about the gluteal development specifically.

From my own and obviously non-Japanese experience, I routinely train my eyes away from curvaceous women because in fact I am very much sexually aggravated by them. I do note that, for my case, there is a somewhat weak correlation between my giving a greater proportion of my attention toward a less curvaceous woman vs a voluptuous one, but I like to imagine that it's done more out of chaste consideration rather than for lack of etiquette.
You mean their lateral gluteal fat, that stuff below their hips?

^

The second paragraph of what you quoted was me referring to the overall "curvilineality" in female somatotypes, not just on one trait (such as the gluteal region) standing out in disharmony.


Quote:
 
The question would have been sort of: how 'visual' (as opposed to 'tactile', 'sonic' and 'olfactory') is your orientation in such special cases and in general?


I've never extended my analytical capabilities into this realm before, so my answer for now is that I'm somewhat uncertain. If pressed, however, I would say that the most memorably beautiful women in my life appealed to me with a balance or something close to a balance of all four.

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black man
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Addendum:

IMO visual cues invite men to consider flirting, while sonic cues make it possible for women to negotiate* long-term relationships with men. More general olfactory cues (as well as tactile cues in touch-oriented cultures) might signalise (sub-)cultural orientation (i.e, probable group loyalty) likewise important for long-term relationships. Then again, more subtle olfactory and tactile cues might give information about women as individuals with recognition value.

* Btw, it seems to me as if women who are relatively androfocal tend to have IMO pleasant voices. I mean, those who join men of intermediate masculinity (relatives and non-relatives who accept them as non-sexual peers) might have a lot of training uttering their interests utilising a voice pleasant to these men. On the contrary, women who avoid men might have the least voice training in order to get along with average men. So their voices might end up unattractive to most men. Thirdly, there might of course be "intermediates" and "switchers".

^
Getting back on topic, that would mean:
- female somatotypes don't matter when female androfocality is determined by external influences.
- female somatotypes do matter when female androfocality is determined by (physiological) predispositions for socialising with men; i.e., men can modify in (e.g.) these ways:
-- eliminating women not curvy enough for male in-group standards
-- eliminating women too curvy for male in-group physical activities

Starbuck
Apr 18 2011, 11:46:33 PM
black man
Apr 18 2011, 10:41:02 PM
Starbuck
Apr 18 2011, 09:04:40 PM
I somewhat anticipated the possibility of conflation, which is why I didn't comment on Japanese hips but about the gluteal development specifically.

From my own and obviously non-Japanese experience, I routinely train my eyes away from curvaceous women because in fact I am very much sexually aggravated by them. I do note that, for my case, there is a somewhat weak correlation between my giving a greater proportion of my attention toward a less curvaceous woman vs a voluptuous one, but I like to imagine that it's done more out of chaste consideration rather than for lack of etiquette.
You mean their lateral gluteal fat, that stuff below their hips?

^

The second paragraph of what you quoted was me referring to the overall "curvilineality" in female somatotypes, not just on one trait (such as the gluteal region) standing out in disharmony.
My own post above looks really strange to myself just after one week. Just for the sake of disambiguation, it should have looked like this:

Quote:
 
black man
Apr 18 2011, 10:41:02 PM
Starbuck
Apr 18 2011, 09:04:40 PM
I somewhat anticipated the possibility of conflation, which is why I didn't comment on Japanese hips but about the gluteal development specifically.

You mean their lateral gluteal fat, that stuff below their hips?


Quote:
 
Quote:
 
From my own and obviously non-Japanese experience, I routinely train my eyes away from curvaceous women because in fact I am very much sexually aggravated by them. I do note that, for my case, there is a somewhat weak correlation between my giving a greater proportion of my attention toward a less curvaceous woman vs a voluptuous one, but I like to imagine that it's done more out of chaste consideration rather than for lack of etiquette.


In such cases my attention quickly drops after a couple of seconds. Doesn't promise enough to me because the stimulus is too one-sided.

I remember having thought about putting this topic into a broader context. But I forgot to bring it up for discussion. The question would have been sort of: how 'visual' (as opposed to 'tactile', 'sonic' and 'olfactory') is your orientation in such special cases and in general?


Quote:
 
I've never extended my analytical capabilities into this realm before, so my answer for now is that I'm somewhat uncertain. If pressed, however, I would say that the most memorably beautiful women in my life appealed to me with a balance or something close to a balance of all four.


I'll have to admit that, while I can reconstruct something by creatively combining positive fractions of all in all neutral memories, I never experienced any kind of real attraction. So far, visual stimuli were remotely interesting enough IRL. Apart from that, ...
- women with pleasant voices tend to look neutral or even ugly in my experience.
- odours which I encounter usually lack the ethnic touch I know from my childhood (I suppose, Dao Mai's description of certain ethnic products might give an approximate impression of what I mean)
Edited by black man, Apr 29 2011, 02:38:55 PM.
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Starbuck
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black man
Apr 28 2011, 09:09:05 PM
IMO visual cues invite men to consider flirting, while sonic cues make it possible for women to negotiate long-term relationships with men. More general olfactory cues (as well as tactile cues in touch-oriented cultures) might signalise (sub-)cultural orientation (i.e, probable group loyalty) likewise important for long-term relationships. Then again, more subtle olfactory and tactile cues might give information about women as individuals with recognition value.
^

I agree. I would add that in my case, visual > sonic cues are too easily manipulable by women and can occasionally render ambiguous interpretations i.e. most people are not compulsive liars and apt to waste their words. Additionally a harsh, grating or senile voice is not exactly my ideal, since I do not wish to be addressed by a f.e. possible spouse as if she were a male peer or my grandfather. IMO you learn much about a person by their overall sonic presence slightly more than you can through their visual cues alone. I'm beginning to think also that men with better eyesight might be inclined to be more visually oriented than men with poor eyesight.
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Starbuck
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Playboy Playmate Curves : Changes in Facial and Body Feature Preferences Across Social and Economic Conditions

Quote:
 
Past research has investigated ideals of beauty and how these ideals have changed across time. In the current study, facial and body characteristics of Playboy Playmates of the Year from 1960-2000 were identified and investigated to explore their relationships with U.S. social and economic factors. Playmate of the Year age, body feature measures, and facial feature measurements were correlated with a general measure of social and economic hard times. Consistent with Environmental Security Hypothesis predictions, when social and economic conditions were difficult, older, heavier, taller Playboy Playmates of the Year with larger waists, smaller eyes, larger waist-to-hip ratios, smaller bust-to-waist ratios, and smaller body mass index values were selected. These results suggest that environmental security may influence perceptions and preferences for women with certain body and facial features.


Posted Image

Chart source - http://flowingdata.com/2008/10/24/playboy-playmate-curves-and-the-state-of-the-economy/
Article (cached) - link


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black man
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^
I somewhere read the statement that women with a higher waist to hip ratio can (mentally?) tolerate "more stress". Someone tried to explain the existence of women with a high WHR that way. Btw, note the "masculine" torso fat patterning in North Asian women on this occasion...
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Starbuck
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For some reason that reminded of a graphic someone had shown me recently of contemporary western female somatotypes :

Posted Image
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