Wise guys: The science behind why men love smart women

Did evolution program men to prefer big breasts or big brains? A researcher’s findings might surprise you.

Wise guys: The science behind why men love smart women

Did evolution program men to prefer big breasts or big brains?


That’s one of the questions that David Bainbridge, a Clinical Veterinary Anatomist at the University of Cambridge, is setting out to answer in his new book, “Curvology: The origins and power of the female body shape.”

Bainbridge’s research studies the modern female body from the perspective of evolutionary biology, and his research on the power of the female form, and the evolution of male preferences, are making headlines this week.

First, a warning from Bainbridge, who spoke at the U.K.’s Hay Festival, “Evolution isn’t very feminist.”

But it is helpful to understand the biological and subconscious forces that shape us, and that’s where Bainbridge’s research comes in.

Bainbridge explains: Over human history, a woman’s widened hips made room for babies with larger brains, big thighs helped stored fat to fuel breastfeeding mothers, facial symmetry indicated health to potential partners and supple breasts suggested fertility. His work celebrates the “extravagant curves” of the female form and the power of the female body. No wonder we’re finding new reasons to celebrate curvy girls all the time!

Popular opinion, Bainbridge adds, “would hold that [large] breast size would be an important fundamental characteristic of a woman. But actually if you look around the world and at the history [large breasts] are probably not that important. It doesn’t seem to be hard wired into the male brain.”

Instead, “the main thing that men are looking for [in a female mate] is intelligence,” he says. “Surveys have shown time and time again that this is the first thing that men look for,” as brainy mothers increase the odds that their future offspring will survive.

“My story about the female body is actually very positive.. It’s the thing that’s gotten us to where we are now. It’s why we’re so brainy, it’s the thing that’s so human and yet so powerful,” he explains.

Lucky you, you’ve got the beauty and brains.

You can listen to the full lecture here.

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