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Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Skin Colour and Natural/Sexual Selection

"Although there is very good evidence supporting this hypothesis [that light skinned people produce more Vitamin D in temperate regions] (Jablonski and Chaplin 2000; Molnar 1983), it has also come in for criticism. Robins (1991), for example, argues that rickets was only a problem in urban industrial societies where people lived indoors, frequently in crowded slum conditions. This argument proposes that rickets would not have much of an effect on people who foraged or farmed outdoors, and thus it is unlikely that the disease had any effect on changes in skin coloration that happened thousands of years ago.

An alternative explanation for skin color difference is based on the reaction of different people to cold weather. Studies on soldiers from World War I through the 1950s showed that those with dark skin color were about four times more likely to suffer frostbite than soldiers with light skin (Boas and Almquist 1999:296; Post, Daniels, and Binford 1975). Thus, it might also be true that light skin color somehow confers a degree of protection against cold weather."

--- Cultural Anthropology / Serena Nanda, Richard Warms

"A preference for lighter than average skin, at least among males evaluating females, is reported with very high frequency in the ethnographic literature (van den Berghe and Frost 1986). Investigators working in modern, racially stratified societies often assume that preferences for lighter skin result from the political and social doininance of light-skinned over dark-skinned peoples (Lancaster 1991). However, cross-cultural evidence |nakes it clear that racial hierarchies. while they may exaggerate skin color preferences, do not create them. Some of the evidence comes from historical records of societies in which darker-skinned people dominated lighter-skinned subjects. In both the ancient Roman and the Islamic worlds the presence of large numbers of light-skinned northern slaves went hand in hand with an idealization of whiteness or lightness as a criterion of female beauty. More evidence comes from relatively unstratified societies that show it consistent pattern of preference for lighter than average skin color in females. This preference occurs across populations with a wide range of skin colors, and it is found even in societies whose standards of attractiveness with regard to fatness and facial proportions are sharply at variance with contemporary Western standards. It is reported by male and female and Western anti non-Western ethnographers, and it is manifest both in infonnants’ statements and in cosmetic practices. Evidence regarding female preferences for male skin color is much more mixed.

Why should there be a widespread preference for lighter than average skin color, and why should this preference be more marked in males’ evaluations of females than vice versa? Skin color, like the waist-to-hip ratio, seems to be a relatively invariant marker of female mate value. Estrogen production suppresses melanin production, so that females typically lighten with the onset of puberty, gradually darkening in step with declining ovarian function from young adulthood to old age. In light-haired populations hair color too may track changes in female fecundity. Thus an attraction to light-skinned mates may be a genetic adaptation in human males. This attrilction, however, is also affected by experience and social cues. Men adapt their preferences to local conditions. so that while men in dark-skinned populations commonly report an attraction to lighter than average females, they also commonly report an aversion to Europeans whose skin color puts them far outside the local normal range of variation. And in some modern societies, social responses to sun-tanning may also modify skin color preferences."

--- Adaptation and Human Behavior: An Anthropological Perspective / edited by Lee Cronk, Napoleon A. Chagnon, William Irons


Why The “Make Lupita Beautiful Campaign(TM)” Is A Fool’s Errand‏ | Just Four Guys

"'After a lecture of mine on the subject of sex differences in mate preferences, one woman suggested that I should suppress my findings because of the distress they would cause women. Women already have it bad enough in this male-dominated world, she felt, without having scientists tell them that their mating problems may be based in men’s evolved psychology. Yet suppression of this truth is unlikely to help, just as concealing the fact that people have evolved preferences for succulent, ripe fruit is unlikely to change their preferences. Railing against men for the importance they place on beauty, youth and fidelity is like railing against meat eaters because they prefer animal protein. Telling men not to become aroused by signs of youth and health is like telling them not to experience sugar as sweet'...

The above quotations are very important, for they deeply inform the current “campaign” to “Make Lupita Beautiful” – a “campaign” that, by all accounts, will not win many Black (and perhaps other male) male mating minds.

By “Lupita”, of course, I am referring to Ms. Lupita Nyong’o, the Oscar-winning actress in the film “12 Years a Slave”. People Magazine has designated her the year’s most beautiful person, and it, along with other such “attempts” over the past year, have elicited quite a backlash from Black and other Men, in response: they do NOT agree with People and others in the entertainment business; as Buss has written in his highly acclaimed book, they “Want Something Else”...

Aside from “Alt” and/or “Feminist-Porn” (read: where Lesbians are heavily represented), one is hard put to find many examples of prominent porn actresses, of any color, who have very short hair. And when it comes to Black Porn, the Weave (or Lacefront wig), is Queen. One doesn’t even find many instances of Sistas rocking natural hairstyles that often in Porn – few braids, locs, afro-puffs and the like, and regardless of length. This suggests overwhelmingly, that Black (and other Men) who consume Porn featuring Black Women, have very specific sets of physical traits that they desire – and by all accounts, Ms. Lupita, ain’t it...

This brings us to the one notable standout exception in our time: our 44th President of the United States, Barack Obama. While many Black Urban Thinking types will knee-jerkingly assert that Obama was elected by more Whites than anyone else, the fact remains that one major reason as to WHY he has proven so electorally successful is due to Black Women voters – who, let’s not kid ourselves, make up the majority of the Black Vote, period – is BECAUSE of who he selected to be his eventual First Lady – a Black looking Black Woman, in Michelle Obama...

Yet, by his own hand, there is scant, if any, evidence of Barack Obama having EVER dated a Sista, regardless of skintone. In his sprawling autobiographical work, “Dreams From My Father”, he recounts several instances where he had girlfriends, all of whom were White. Moreover, no one has come forward from “Barry’s” past who has confirmed that he has indeed dated Sistas prior to Michelle. It just raises interesting – albeit, for many Sistas themselves – uncomfortable - questions, as to what were Obama’s motivations for courting Michelle – could it be possible that it was to burnish his “street cred”? After all, political marriages are by no means anything new...

We are now dealing with the revealed, empirical preferences of Men, in this case Black ones, and “campaigns” to “deprogram” them not only are likely to spectacularly fail, but they also raise very real questions as to the ethics of such an enterprise to begin with (think of the idea of attempts to “deprogram” Gays and Lesbians, for example)."
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