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Seven Tenths Incorrect: Heterogeneity and Change in the Waist-to-Hip Ratios of Playboy Centerfold Models and Miss America Pageant Winners

Jeremy Freese and Sheri Meland
The Journal of Sex Research
Vol. 39, No. 2 (May, 2002), pp. 133-138
Published by: Taylor & Francis, Ltd.
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/3813195
Page Count: 6
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Seven Tenths Incorrect: Heterogeneity and Change in the Waist-to-Hip Ratios of Playboy Centerfold Models and Miss America Pageant Winners
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Abstract

Drawing on an article by Singh (1993), many discussions of the evolutionary psychology of heterosexual male preferences have reported a remarkable consistency in the waist-to-hip ratios of Playboy centerfold models and Miss America pageant winners over time. We reexamine the measurement data on these American beauty icons and show that these reports are false in several ways. First, the variation in waist-to-hip ratios among these women is greater than reported. Second, the center of the distribution of waist-to-hip ratios is not 0.70, but less than this. Third, the average waist-to-hip ratio within both samples has changed over time in a manner that is statistically significant and can be regarded as mutually consistent. Taken together, the findings undermine some of the evidence given for the repeated suggestion that there is something special--evolutionarily hard-wired or otherwise--about a specific female waist-to-hip ratio of 0.70 as a preference of American heterosexual males.

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