Saturday, November 17, 2007

Boobs

Perhaps tomorrow I’ll go back to writing about international trade imbalances, but what the heck, it’s Saturday. I should preface this whole entry by noting that you probably shouldn’t pay attention to what an economist has to say about evolutionary biology (unless that economist happens to be a biologist as well, which is certainly not the case with me). Nonetheless, it has been observed that, when the subject is boobs, people tend to pay attention no matter who’s talking.

Daniel Davies had an entry on Crooked Timber today entitled “Busty barmaids and other developments in science,” which reports the finding of a study (apparently a genuinely scholarly one, despite its subject matter) by the Cornell School of Hotel Administration: there is a linear relationship between the size of a barmaid’s breasts and the size of her tip. A linear relationship means that, no matter how big a barmaid’s breasts are, one with even bigger breasts will tend to get bigger tips. (I haven’t read the study, so I don’t know if they included a dummy variable for Shelley Long.) One might imagine that one of those BBW porn models with an alliterative pseudonym like “Henrietta Hugeones” would have an absolute advantage as a barmaid, even if her comparative advantage is in her field of choice. (Well, an absolute advantage as far as tipping goes; depending on the arrangement of the bar, she might be at a disadvantage in performing her service efficiently.)

Mr. Davies uses the study as an occasion to speculate on the topic of why men like big breasts (by which he apparently means, why they find women with big breasts sexually attractive). His theory seems to be that men have an unconscious facility that attempts to find good mothers for their children and that mistakenly “figures out” that big breasts are better for feeding infants. Then I suppose it unconsciously tells the men to pursue women with big breasts, even if the men aren’t consciously interested in having children. In order for this to work, the facility has to repeat its mistaken logic for each individual, because big breasts aren’t in fact better for feeding infants, so there is no selection pressure to prefer large breasts independently of that mistaken conclusion. It’s not a theory that I find compelling.

There is a related fact that one might also want to explain: the fact that women have distended breasts in the first place. It’s trivial to explain why lactating women have breasts, but in most species, the females don’t develop distended breasts until their first pregnancy. Among human beings, even virgins have boobs, which is a bit of an anomaly. You might say that women have breasts because men like them, but then you need an explanation for men’s preference that doesn’t get circular by depending on the fact that women have breasts. For example, one commenter suggests that men like big breasts because they are a sign of sexual maturity, which might be a fine explanation, except that it begs the question of why sexually mature virgins have breasts.

I would also note that the specific study discussed does not demonstrate that men find big breasts sexually attractive, only that men like to give gifts (in the form of larger than average tips) to women who have big breasts. That in itself is fairly easy to explain. Presumably in some proto-human species, big breasts (or any substantial breasts, for that matter) in a young woman were a reliable sign that she was pregnant or lactating. Giving gifts (which presumably would have taken the form of food) to pregnant and lactating women makes a lot of sense on the face of it (and also, as I will argue, had an evolutionary advantage). They are, after all, “eating for two,” and they presumably have a harder time foraging for their own food than most people do.

The following theory of breast evolution pulls it all together:
  1. Among men who have surplus food (or surplus money to spend at bars), evolution favors the gene that predisposes them to give that food to women who look pregnant, because (in the evolutionary environment) such a woman had a disproportionate chance of carrying the man’s own offspring or that of a close relative, and because she needed food more (and would have a harder time getting food for herself) than a non-pregnant woman.

  2. Among species that walk upright, so that their eyes don’t naturally look toward the belly, distended breasts are a particularly useful signal of pregnancy.

  3. The genetic mutation causing virgins (and childless women in general) to have breasts was favored because it made them look pregnant, so that they would get goodies normally reserved for pregnant women. (Not consciously reserved, of course; it’s just that men like to give gifts to women who have this characteristic originally associated with pregnancy.)

  4. A gene for sexual attraction to virgins with breasts (stronger the larger, and therefore more obvious, those breasts were) was favored because men who chose mates with a gene for virginal breasts would have daughters with virginal breasts, who would then get goodies normally reserved for pregnant women and be more likely to survive.

  5. Then the whole sexual selection / positive feedback thing kicks in. There is an evolutionary advantage to a gene for attraction to a characteristic that others find attractive, since that gene makes your offspring more attractive, so that you’re more likely to have grandchildren. Then there is an evolutionary advantage to a gene that exaggerates such a characteristic in yourself because it makes you more attractive and therefore more likely to have children. Etc.

Labels:

11 Comments:

Anonymous The Doctor said...

I suggest you read "The Descent of Woman" by Elaine Morgan for a more rational hypothesis on boobs!

Wed Jan 09, 04:32:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Bill Conerly said...

"One might imagine that one of those BBW porn models with an alliterative pseudonym like “Henrietta Hugeones” would have an absolute advantage as a barmaid ..."

It's always dangerous to extrapolate outside the range over which a relationship is estimated. More research is clearly warranted. If you get a grant, I'll help with the field work.

Thu Jan 10, 02:38:00 PM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Very interesting theory. I would add that large breasts, in general, represent womanly, child bearing qualities such as nurturing, comfort, security etc.
Free Huge Tits

Sun Apr 06, 03:31:00 PM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

福~
「朵
語‧,最一件事,就。好,你西.............................................................................................................
..................

Thu Apr 02, 10:42:00 AM EDT  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

酒店喝酒,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店領檯,便服店,鋼琴酒吧,酒店兼職,酒店兼差,酒店打工,伴唱小姐,暑假打工,酒店上班,酒店兼職,ktv酒店,酒店,酒店公關,酒店兼差,酒店上班,酒店打工,禮服酒店,禮服店,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店經紀,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,台北酒店,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店小姐,禮服店 ,酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店小姐,酒店傳播,酒店經紀人,酒店,酒店,酒店,酒店 ,禮服店 , 酒店小姐,酒店經紀,酒店兼差,暑假打工,招待所,酒店小姐,酒店兼差,寒假打工,酒店上班,暑假打工,酒店公關,酒店兼職,禮服店 , 酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工,酒店,酒店,酒店經紀,酒店領檯 ,禮服店 ,酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工, 酒店上班,禮服店 ,酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工, 酒店上班,禮服店 ,酒店小姐 ,酒店經紀 ,酒店兼差,暑假打工, 酒店上班,酒店經紀

Mon Apr 20, 11:02:00 PM EDT  
Blogger raul said...

Some new style Puma Speed is in fashion this year. chaussure puma is Puma Shoes in french. Many france like seach “chaussure sport” by the internet when they need buy the Puma shoes or buy the nike max shoes.The information age is really convenient. By the way ,the puma CAT is really good chaussures puma ,don’t forget buy the puma mens shoes and nike air max ltd by the internet when you need them . Do you know Nike Air Shoes is a best Air Shoes .

Spring is coming, and how to choose the polo shirts is the main concern of many people. ralph lauren polo shirts is a classic type and reliable. ed hardy clothing is more in line with the aesthetic ideas of young people, so many young people filled with a variety of ed hardy clothes in their wardrobes. New style ed hardy womens shirt match the new style ed hardy sunglasses , it is a good idea.
Do you think this season is not for ugg boots ? maybe yes .but this season is best time that can buy the cheap ugg boots. Many sellers are selling discounted. Do not miss . Please view my blog and fc2 blog .thank you .

Wed May 20, 04:56:00 AM EDT  
Blogger wow power leveling said...

cheap wow gold buy wow power leveling my wow gold cheapest wow power leveling
replica replica rolex
CHEAP wow power level
BUY power leveling
replica rolex replica
cheap lotro gold
replica rolex
CHEAPEST power leveling
cheap rs gold l

Tue Jun 09, 10:17:00 PM EDT  
Blogger zero said...

整形外科|童裝批發|春藥|徵信|清境民宿|機票|隔熱紙|玻尿酸|電波拉皮|美白針|脈衝光|花蓮民宿|徵信社|壯陽藥品|室內裝潢|指甲彩繪

Mon Nov 09, 11:35:00 PM EST  
Blogger Adi said...

Oes Tsetnoc one of the ways in which we can learn seo besides Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa. By participating in the Oes Tsetnoc or Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa we can improve our seo skills. To find more information about Oest Tsetnoc please visit my Oes Tsetnoc pages. And to find more information about Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa please visit my Mengembalikan Jati Diri Bangsa pages. Thank you So much.

Sun Nov 22, 01:22:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Tag Heuer Watches said...

Rolex Watches Rolex Watches
Tag Heuer Watches Tag Heuer Watches
rolex replica rolex replica
replica rolex replica rolex
rolex replica watches rolex replica watches
replica rolex watches replica rolex watches
Tag Heuer Tag Heuer
replica Tag Heuer replica Tag Heuer
Tag Heuer replica Tag Heuer replica
rolex rolex
rolex air king rolex air king
rolex datejust rolex datejust
rolex day date rolex day date
rolex daytona rolex daytona
rolex gmt rolex gmt
rolex submariner rolex submariner
rolex yachtmaster rolex yachtmaster
rolex air king watches rolex air king watches
rolex datejust watches rolex datejust watches
rolex day date watches rolex day date watches
rolex daytona watches rolex daytona watches
rolex gmt watches rolex gmt watches
rolex submariner watches rolex submariner watches
rolex yachtmaster watches rolex yachtmaster watches

Mon Dec 21, 04:35:00 AM EST  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

blu ray ripper
blu ray ripper
blu ray to avi
blu ray to wmv
blu ray to mp4
Furthermore, Blu ray Ripper has powerful editing functions like Trim and Crop Blu ray clips, add text/image Watermark as a logo, set video Effect like brightness, contrast, saturation, etc.

Tue Jul 06, 02:07:00 AM EDT  

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home