Not going to share my thoughts as to keep the answers unbiased.
Most Helpful Girl
From a minority. In Victorian times, you were attractive if you were fat and pasty looking, because that showed you were wealthy and clean, also fat was desirable on women, because the belief used to be that the fatter the woman was, or the bigger her hips were, she could give birth more times and produce strong babies. Being fat was rare, becasuse most people were poor. Only a minority, only rich people were fat and white, because they didn't work out in the sun all day, etc.
Nowadays, it's more fashionable to be thinner and tan. As food is available worldwide and there's plenty of it, if you're fat and pasty, it now means you're common, poor and sit inside watching TV all day. Poor people can't always afford to eat well, so the sh*tty junk food they scoff down makes them fat. And now that being fat is common, actually it's almost the norm, it became and undesirable quality. The rich can go away on holiday and tan, if you're poor, you can't. Therefore now, being tan is attractive.
People always want the above average and rare things. Being average, because most people are average, doesn't make you attractive. To be considered universally attractive, the more unique and rare qualities you have, the more attractive you will seem, because people want what they don't have and aspire to be like minorities.
For e.g. if you are short, tan and curvy, and you go somewhere where all the women are tall, white and boyish looking, the woman that stands out will be the most attractive to men. It doesn't really matter if you are actually beautiful - being rare makes you attractive to people.
Qualities that are considered attractive in the Western world:
- being naturally blond
- having blue/green eyes
- tan skin
- slim/toned body for both men and women
- having large breasts
- small waist and wide hips
- broad shoulders and a narrow waist [for men]
- small nose
- strong jaw and brows [for men]
- high cheekbones [women]
- tall [both men and women]
The vast majority of people don't have these qualities. So all these rare qualities form the beauty ideal.
The average Western woman is:
- slightly overweight, either pear or apple shaped
- has brown eyes and brown hair
- has slightly masculine features, such as a strong jaw and a big nose
The average Western man is:
- short or medium height
- slightly overweight
- also has brown eyes and hair
- has slightly feminine features, such as a small nose and a weak jaw,small chin
- not muscular
- doesn't have a whole lot of hair, balds early.
I think why we have beauty ideals is because as humans, we desire a large gene pool - one example of this is eye colour. On average, with blue eyes find blue eyed women more attractive - just because of their eye colour. It's to encourage to spreading of the blue eyes, to make it more common. Once blue eyes become common, I bet you brown eyes will be considered more attractive.1