Re: Breast Size (Was: Re: Homosexuality and genetic determinism)

Michael Andrew Turton (
28 May 1995 05:09:15 GMT

In article <3q7g9h$>, Bryant <> wrote:
>In article <>,
>Lemonhead <> wrote:


>> If anything, I would think that the human female breast evolved
>>to *avoid* sexual attraction. There are certainly many such
>>adaptiontions (concealed estruation for example) that seemed to have
>>evolved in order to ease much of the sexual tension that must have been
>>present in early hominid bands.
>Unless you can explain why men would have preferred to mate with less
>attractive women, you've just presented us with a group selectionist

He DID present a group selectionist argument. Male attraction to
large breasts (if indeed it innately exists) came after they arrived on the
evolutionary scene -- BIG BREASTS CAME FIRST. Therefore men did not mate
with "less attractive women," they mated with the women around them, the
women who had already evolved large breasts for some other reason than
signalling men about something or other. Big Breasts are not attractive,
not in and of themselves -- they have to be on young women (my grandma
has a bosom you could rest a plate on, but men are not beating a path to
her door).

>Men in no culture I know of consider breasts unattractive; those
>whose cultures cover them up are a bit more perved about seeing them, and
>those who don't, tend to ignore them. If your hypothesis is
>correct, shouldn't men prefer underdeveloped (or undeveloped) females?

No, because all human females have relatively large breasts
compared to other animals. Once those big breasts evolved, then perhaps
men came to appreciate them.

>Breast development accurately advertises hormonal profile, and hence,
>fertility. Large breasts per se may be directly (and positively)

It does? Are there studies out there which show this? Are they
cross-culturally confirmed? (I've seen few Chinese women with the busts
that Americans regularly sport, but fertility is not a problem in China)
There's this diet thing..........................

>correlated with body fat deposits, which may well have been an important
>cue of a female's survival potential, in our ancestral environs. (?)

Look, this large-breasts-advertises-fertility stuff has to be
junked. It won't wash. Since mating and reproduction take place in
the context of social negotiations and have historically not been the
free choice of the individuals involved, breasts-for-men won't fly, especially
since in many cases the female is promised to the male BEFORE sexual
maturity!!!!! Not only that, but in hunter-gatherer groups most everyone
gets a mate and these decisions are made for a constellation of reasons,
only some of which have to do with obvious markers supposedly signalling
the female's ability to bear children. The answer has to lie somewhere
in either human sociality or child-rearing advantages, not in evoking some
kind of male response.
Mr. Karpiak's story has the advantage of placing the reason for
large female breasts in a social context. Consider that menarche hits around
16 or 17 in hunter-gatherer societies. Soon the female is married off
and begins to have children. No period of time passes when nubile and
willing females have unrestricted access to males. SEXUAL ACCESS TO UNMARRIED
for stories which invoke selection processes based on males freely "selecting"
females. Because lactation is typically prolonged for
two or three years per child as a birth control measure, for most of her
adult reproductive lifetime she's got big breasts. These signal to men:
stay away, I'm breastfeeding and can't reproduce now. Later, the woman is
too old to appeal to the preference for younger women.
It's past midnight and I've got crash. More tomorrow.

Mike Turton