I thought this research study would be interesting here since it's directly looking at economic development and how that affects women's standards for facial attractiveness in men, and recent (2019)


Abstract Findings:

Here we use a sample of 4483 exclusively heterosexual women from 34 countries and employ mixed effects modeling to test how social, ecological and economic variables predict women’s facial masculinity preferences. We report women’s preferences for more masculine looking men are stronger in countries with higher sociosexuality and where national health indices and human development indices are higher, while no associations were found between preferences and indices of intra-sexual competition. Our results show that women’s preferences for masculine faces are stronger under conditions where offspring survival is higher and economic conditions are more favorable.

So this study found overall that women have a stronger preference for masculine looking men in countries with the best economies and the most sociosexuality. The paper defines sociosexuality as:

SOI refers to the desires, propensity to engage in and attitudes towards short-term, uncommitted and long-term, committed sexual partners55. More sexually open or unrestricted people report high scores for sexual openness, more sexual partners and may not place high importance on sexual monogamy. By contrast, people with a more restricted sociosexuality have fewer sexual partners and place greater importance on monogamy, love and fidelity

Looking at the Figure 1 , this compares how often the more masculine face is chosen versus how well developed the country is. Western countries show a far greater tendency towards more masculinity, and this isn't because western countries are all more developed. Singapore and Japan are around the same economy development as the USA, yet both have a far weaker preference for masculinity.

Discussion Findings:

Perhaps the most interesting finding of this paper is this:

Previous cross-cultural research reported that women from countries with low health indices33, high pathogens35 and high income inequality38 stated the strongest preferences for facial masculinity. However, we found the reverse association, such that women’s preferences for facial masculinity were stronger in countries with higher health indices, lower pathogens and greater indices of human economic and social development. Thus, our findings do not support the hypothesis that women’s preferences for facial masculinity reflect facultative trade-offs between paternal investment and indirect genetic benefits associated with testosterone-dependent secondary sexual facial traits

This shows that an improving economy and healthcare actually increase a woman's standards for masculinity. The debate of which environment or scenarios men do best in comes up a lot here, so thought to high light this portion.

Thoughts? Comments?