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How is the Waist-to-Hip Ratio Linked to Attractiveness in Women?

Dhanashree Patane Oct 28, 2018
Different theories have been spinned about attractiveness of physical appearance. A view on one such theory pertaining to the relationship between the waist to hip ratio and attractiveness has been discussed here.
Since the evolution of the two sexes, beauty and attractiveness slowly spread roots, to inspire affection and feelings in human beings. Emotional and mental connection was still the secondary aspect of affection and longing. The most evident and strongest factor was the physical appearance of the person.
This human tendency has been trailing in the genes, so physical beauty still rules the dice when it comes to attraction and love. The fairer sex undoubtedly defines beauty. Women are more commonly judged on the basis of their physical beauty than men. This has been the culture since ages. We may call this an attitude that slowly developed in mankind.
Psychologically speaking, judging by physical attraction and beauty is a tendency ruled by men more than women. So how do we define if a woman is beautiful? Attractive physical traits have for long been the symbol of a woman being in optimum health and good fecundity.
So, beauty in terms of physical features like the facial features, hair and color, is a consideration. For years it was believed that cultural and social beliefs define the criteria for attractiveness. With no single platform for judging attractiveness, the perspective changed constantly and was vague in nature.
But with a global finding by psychologist Devendra Singh, at the university of Texas in the year 1993, concluded a theory that defines a woman as beautiful and attractive based on the waist to hip ratio of her body. This is considered as an important attribute of attractiveness in women.

What is Waist to Hip Ratio (WHR)?

WHR is the ratio of measurements of the waist to the hips. On the waist measurement chart the point of the lowest rib, or the smallest circumference of the waist is considered as the waist circumference. While for the hips, they are measured at their widest part. The ratio of these measurements is considered as WHR of a woman.
A healthy ratio of WHR for young women is between 0.67 and 0.80. For the calculation, divide the waist circumference by the hip circumference. The answer is your waist to hip ratio.

Example:- Waist size: 26 inches / Hip size: 36 inches = WHR of 0.7

How Does WHR Define Attractiveness?

The fat distribution in the entire body which gives it the shape and attractiveness depends on the overall look of the body. However, the finding concentrated on one aspect which is the waist to hip ratio of the female body. It was observed that the sex hormones play an important role in the pattern of fat distribution in the body after puberty.
These hormones trigger fats to be deposited in and around the buttocks or the hips and thighs, which is the lower body in females. Peripheral and rounded body proportions are thus a result of gynoid fat distribution (deposition of fats in the lower body) due to the role of female sex hormones. This proves that WHR can also be the marker for estrogen.
This study focused on some of the important findings that proved WHR increased mate value of a woman. A low waist to hip ratio is a mark of youthfulness, energy, good hormonal status and ability to reproduce and general health.
Apple shaped bodies are more prone to health risks due to deposition of fat in the waist and abdomen areas, whereas pear shape bodies are less prone to diseases and health risks, due to fat storage in lower areas (hips and thighs).
Since evolutionary times, men always chose women who were more fertile for mating, and that is how women with a slender waist and comparatively heavy bottom were chosen. This proves that women with low WHR were chosen and hence considered more attractive. So a low WHR increased a female's mate value.
So, since evolution, men have developed a perspective about attractiveness defined by the waist to hip ratio of women. They have adapted a sensitivity to this definition of attractiveness in women. To prove this, female drawings with varying ratios in different body frames like slim, moderate and heavy were presented.
Later photographs were also used, which were tweaked in varying WHR's. It was concluded that, men were typically attracted to a low waist to hip ratio close to 0.7. For example if the waist size is 24 - 26 inches, a hip size of 36 inches, will give the most desirable ratio of 0.7 (70%), and hence the most attractive body.
Men weighed more attraction to the slender waist size than the hip size in western countries. It is observed that the hip size indicates the amount of fat storage that can be utilized later as energy, whereas the waist size determined overall health and wellness.

Does WHR Have Variations for Attractiveness?

WHR however, still has variable preferences in different cultures. It was found that in South American and African countries, a ratio of 0.8 to 0.9 was considered attractive, while in China, 0.6 to 0.7 is considered attractive. The variation is more related to ethnicity than religion or nationality of the woman.
Most gorgeous celebrities have a waist to hip ratio of 0.7 (70%), which includes beauties like Kate Moss, Salma Hayek, Marilyn Monroe, Sophia Loren and Alessandra Ambrosio. The theory of WHR and attractiveness is preferred over theories like body mass index (BMI), because, whether the woman is thin or fat, WHR can aptly define her as attractive or not.
So, to add some more on men and their perceptions about attractiveness in women, you know it is the waist to hip ratio that will first sweep them off their feet. Women are after all sensuous, and as long as men will be men, the feminine charm will continue to melt them, no matter what men define as attractive!