Re: BOOKS: Survival of the Prettiest: The Science of Beauty

Kathryn Aegis (
Fri, 10 Sep 1999 19:17:07

Daniel Boone writes:
>It is a fallacy, I think, (though I am no expert on evolution) to conclude
that there
>can be no evolutionary selection for traits associated with individuals
(such as the
>elderly or the exclusive homosexual) who do not breed. In animals (such
as humans)
>where social grouping is common, evolution can select for characteristics
that impede
>or detract from individual procreation, if the characteristics are also
>associated with increased group survival.

It may be stretching the point a bit, but part of the panel discussion focused on how the ravages of AIDS radically altered standards of beauty among gay men. Previous to the start of the epidemic, only a small percentage of gay men pursued the buff 'gym bunny' look, and it was a sort of fetishistic preference. As the epidemic began to ravage the community, it became more important for men to look healthy and HIV-negative, otherwise they could be rejected as a mate and maybe even face social ostracism. Nowadays, the gym bunny look is almost exclusively associated with gay men, to the extent that very muscular straight men can be mistaken for being gay.

Kathryn Aegis