Menu
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.

Join Motherly

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

One of our main goals as mothers is to encourage our children to learn, grow and play. They start out as our tiny, adorable babies who need us for everything, and somehow, before you know it, they grow into toddlers with ideas and opinions and desires of their own.

You may be hearing a lot more of "I do it!" or maybe they're pushing your hand away as a signal to let you know, I don't need your help, Mama. That's okay. They're just telling you they're ready for more independence. They want to be in charge of their bodies, and any little bit of control their lives and abilities allow.

So, instead of challenging your toddler's desire for autonomy, we found five of our favorite products to help encourage independence—and eliminate frustration in the process.

EKOBO Bamboo 4-piece kid set

EKOBO bamboo 4-piece kid set

This colorful set includes a plate, cup, bowl and spoon and is just right for your child's meal experience. Keep them in an easy-to-reach cabinet so they'll feel encouraged (and excited!) to get their own place setting each time they eat.

$25

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Puj PhillUp hangable kids cups

Before you know it, your little one will be asking (okay, maybe demanding) to fill their own water cups. This amazing 4-pack of cups attaches directly to the fridge (or any glass, metal, tile or fiberglass surface) making it easier for your child to grab a cup themselves. Just be sure a water pitcher or dispenser is nearby, and—boom!—one task off your plate.

$29

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

Wise Elk puzzle tower blocks

These beautiful blocks, made from sustainably-sourced wood and water-based, non-toxic, lead-free paint, will keep your little one focused on their creation while they're also busy working on their fine-motor skills. The puzzle design will encourage patience as your kiddo creates their own building, fitting one block in after the next.

$18

Lorena Canals basket

Lorena Canals Basket

This *gorgeous* braided cotton basket is the perfect, accessible home for their blocks (and whatever else you want to hide away!) so your kiddo can grab them (and clean them up) whenever their heart desires.

$29

BABYBJÖRN step stool

BABYBJ\u00d6RN Step Stool

Your kiddo might be ready to take on the world, but they might need an extra boost to do so—cue, a step stool! An easy-to-move lightweight stool is the must-have confidence-boosting tool you need in your home so your growing tot can reach, well... the world.

$20

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Our list of 100 baby names that should be on everyone's list this year includes more choices than in the past of names that are obscure and surprising. That's because there are so many more unusual baby names coming into widespread use and baby namers have become a lot more adventurous.

Expectant parents do not need to be told to move beyond Jennifer and Jason. Their thinking about names has evolved to the point that the most useful thing we can do is offer a large menu of intriguing choices.

Here are our picks for the 100 best surprising + unusual baby names now.


Keep reading Show less
Learn + Play