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Why are fashion models so skinny?

Daria Werbowy and another skinny high-fashion model.

Note: Click thumbnails to see large pictures.

Female models come in many forms: bodybuilders, fitness models, glamour models, high-fashion models, etc.  High-fashion models have the highest status among female models, and, in this regard, their looks are curious.  For instance, the facial features and skinny physiques of many high-fashion models bear an uncanny resemblance to those of adolescent boys.  Regardless of whether high-fashion models approximate the looks of boys in their early adolescence, their features tend to be masculinized: they usually have male-typical height, and possess a high frequency of robust and high cheekbones, angular jawlines, a protrusive nose, robust nasal bones, a masculine nasoglabellar profile, a robust facial skeleton, flat or near-flat breasts, near-flat buttocks and broad shoulders.

Explaining the typical looks of high-fashion models is easy.  The top ranks of the fashion business are dominated by homosexual men (read details).(1)  This is no secret: a major mainstream magazine catering to the GLBT community has stated, with pride, “To observe that gay men and lesbians dominate the fashion business may seem about as controversial as saying that Russians rule Moscow,”(2) and the New York Times has asked why is fashion designing dominated by homosexual men.  The multiple masculinized features of the female models gay fashion designers use to display their designs are obviously related to the homosexuality of these fashion designers.  Additionally, a disproportionate number of gay men, especially those that are fashion designers, find the physique of adolescent boys aesthetically appealing, and of all masculinized women out there, only the young and skinny ones approach the looks of adolescent boys.  Therefore, the typical skinny looks of high-fashion models should not be surprising.  Furthermore, it is obvious why a high-fashion model in her mid-20s could be considered too old for modeling clothes in fashion shows.  Firstly, women who are skinny in their teens tend to become more curvaceous in their twenties, making them less suitable for high-fashion modeling work.  Secondly, increasing masculinization with age in teenage girls with just the right amount of masculinity for high-fashion modeling will make it more difficult for them to continue to approximate the looks of boys in their early adolescence.

Obviously, the notion that an aesthetic preference of gay fashion designers is responsible for the typical skinniness of high-fashion models is not going to be well-received by many, and a good number of arguments to the contrary will be offered, but these can be easily dismissed, as shown below.

The clothes hangar argument

Some allege that fashion models function as clothes hangars and thereby need to be skinny in order to show off clothes well and have overall looks that will not detract attention away from the clothing.  However, are high-fashion models used as clothes hangars?  Table 1 shows numerous examples of high-fashion models not being used as clothes hangars.

Table 1. Are high-fashion models used as clothes hangars?
Alek Wek and white model.

Models of strikingly different appearance placed next to each other, on the runway, are bound to attract attention.  Fashion designers generally have a preference for Northern European models, but when they seek non-European models, they tend to go for sub-Saharan African ones and prefer them to African-Americans because the former contrast more strongly with Europeans.  Why seek such contrast if attention needs to be directed toward clothing?

Bizarre make-up sometimes seen on fashion models. Ludicrous make-up that is sometimes seen in fashion shows.
Exposed nipples and breasts in fashion shows. It is not unusual for nipples or breasts to be deliberately exposed in fashion shows.
Natalia Vodianova swaying her hips and exposing breasts.

Excessive hip swaying, often seen in fashion shows, looks absurd, and is not something that one expects from "clothes hangars."


Bizarrely dressed women are not an unusual sight in fashion shows.  Some of these dresses are such that people would not want to be caught dead in them.  What are “clothes hangars” doing displaying rags that no one would wear in a social setting?

One has to pay a top-ranked high-fashion model tens of thousands of dollars for modeling in a fashion show, and a base model would still command at least a thousand dollars per day. Why obtain such expensive “clothes hangars”?  One could don mannequins with designer clothing and spread them out in a hall, in a museum-style display, and the patrons could simply walk through the collection; this would be a very cheap option compared to paying high-fashion models, but is not seen in fashion shows because fashion designers need to show how the clothes would look on an actual person involved in movement; clothes hangars do not move.  What is the bright idea behind using very famous high-fashion models on the runway since relatively unknown models would do a better job of not distracting attention away from the clothing?

Should people who buy clothes be interested in seeing how they will look in the clothes or how the clothes will look, hanging from clothes hangars, in their closet?

Few people attend fashion shows.  Most people are exposed to fashion imagery in the print media; television has barely been a viable outlet because of its low resolution.  Since people can take their time to evaluate a still image, the possibility that the use of feminine and non-skinny models in magazines will distract attention away from clothing is a non-issue.

Do tall and skinny women show off clothes better than other types of women?  A woman could be 5-foot-3 or 6-foot-3; if different parts of her body are in proportion, she will look aesthetically pleasing.  It is obviously more convenient for a fashion designer to have his models fit his designs rather than to have him custom-fit his models, i.e., one expects haute couture models to have a restricted range of physique variation.  But, one could restrict the height range to between 64-68 inches.  Why have a height range between 68-72 inches?  The answer is not difficult to figure out.

In early adolescence, one observes boys shoot up in height within a short amount of time and typically end up with a gangly appearance, which is what the central tendency among high-fashion models approximates.  For teenage girls/adult women to approximate the gangly look, they have to be tall.  Whereas boys in their early adolescence are not as tall as high-fashion models, one will note the height of fashion models when one is standing next to them, but when they are walking on the runway, one will be looking at them from a distance, and at this distance, the absolute height of the models is not as important as it is for them to present the gangly appearance of boys in their early adolescence.  Some illustrative examples other than on the physique page: see Adina Fohlin, Freja Beha Erichsen and a young Alessandra Ambrosio here; also see Abbie Gortsema.

The notion that feminine-looking and non-skinny women are not an excellent choice for displaying clothing is patently false (Table 2), and the typical person who disagrees would be a male homosexual.

Table 2. Inappropriate physiques for modeling clothes?
5-foot-8 Silje Johnsen (left) and 5-foot-7 Elisabeth Haukland. 5-foot-8 Silje Johnsen (left) and 5-foot-7 Elisabeth Haukland; photos sourced from Frøken Norge.  The reason such physiques are unlikely to be common among high-fashion models is because they are far removed from the looks of adolescent boys.
Zuzana from Zuzana from
Carli Banks from office fantasy Carli Banks from office fantasy.
Irena from Twistys; also known as Nikky Case Irena from Twistys (adult site); also known as Nikky Case.
Sandie from teen stars magazine Sandie from tsm.
Samantha from office fantasy Samantha from office fantasy.
Maria Sheriff Maria Sheriff from only tease.
Lidiya from MPL studios. Lidiya from MPL studios.
Karolina Kurkova (left) and Gisele Bundchen.

The picture on the left shows two examples of small and flattened backsides seen among even lingerie models selected by gay fashion designers; models shown – Karolina Kurkova (left) and Gisele Bundchen; excessive hip swaying and excessively sticking out backsides do not help these women look more feminine.  How does one understand the use of masculinized women for lingerie modeling?  Knowledge of the gay factor makes it easy: gay fashion designers will not tolerate anything beyond the minimum femininity that it takes to get the job done.  For instance, if a low front-view waist-to-hip ratio is required, they will find women with such proportions but overall masculinized looks; see Table 1 in this article on WHR.  If minimum femininity can be achieved by using posing tricks and masculinized women with fake breasts, they will happily avoid using feminine women; see examples aplenty among Victoria’s Secret models.

Dress engineering

Do haute couture models have angular rather than curvaceous physiques because it requires greater engineering complexity to come up with clothing that well-fit curvaceous physiques?  No; decent fashion designers are supposed to have sophisticated designing abilities, and there is no way it is difficult for them to design clothing for feminine physiques.

Photography and lighting constraints

Do the angular facial lines of high-fashion models serve the purpose of facilitating make-up artists better and defining the face better in photography?  The short answer is no.  There is no reason why the facial features of high-fashion models should be an issue if they are -- according to fashion insiders -- supposed to function as “clothes hangars.”  The details of the face are not relevant on the runway.  Additionally, feminine faces photograph well and do not pose problems for make-up artists; there are plenty of illustrative examples within this site.      

Caroline Winberg

If it were necessary to bring out the finer details of the models’ facial features while they are on stage, one wouldn’t see plenty of pale high-fashion models such as Caroline Winberg on the left, whose eyebrows and eyelashes can hardly be seen from a distance under normal lighting.  For comparative purposes, one will almost never see a pale fitness model on stage during competition; if the model couldn’t tan, she would apply a fake tan and use make-up to define her eyebrows and eyelashes.  Interestingly, note that Caroline Winberg has compressed gonial angles, usually found among feminine women, but is clearly masculinized overall; her compressed gonial angles reflect an ethnic trait that is most extensively seen among Scandinavians.

The looks of fashion models are selected because they increase sales

A related point would be that female fashion models are supposed to appeal to women, not men.

However, anyone who believes that high-fashion models look the way they do because there is some kind of public demand for their looks or that their looks increase sales has to be naïve.  To clarify this statement, imagine that all companies manufacturing soap use unattractive models to sell soap.  Will people stop using soap or even reduce their use of soap as a result?  Obviously not.  Clearly, if one is selling necessities and highly desirable items, then one has a broad license as to what kind of models one can use.  It is important to be well-dressed, and even if unattractive women are ubiquitously used to model designer clothing, women are not going to stop desiring such clothing or patronizing fashion designers.  Speaking of unattractive women, the skinniness typically seen in high-fashion models is considered socially unacceptable by most Western women, the great majority of whom also find feminine looks in women much more aesthetically appealing than masculine looks.

A woman with prominent breasts

A glamour model shown to the left, taken from Karupspc (adult site), reveals clothing deformation resulting from well-formed, prominent breasts, which surely isn’t displeasing to heterosexual men.  This may prompt one to say that female fashion models are selling clothes to women, not men; the implication being that the looks of fashion models are consistent with the preferences of most women.  However, men and women generally judge female attractiveness similarly, i.e., most women aesthetically prefer feminine looks in women, as already noted previously.  Most women neither aesthetically appreciate nor want to be flat- or small-breasted.

Women do not buy clothes with the sole intent of hanging them in their closet.  The typical woman is going to have prominent breasts, and she would obviously be interested in how a person, especially herself, would look in the designer clothing being displayed, i.e., the argument that prominent breasts on the part of high-fashion models will introduce crinkles/folds/bulges into the fabric, and that this may obscure frontal design or otherwise look undesirable is not tenable; the only undesirability is from the perspective of gay fashion designers.  In other words, normal- to somewhat above average-sized breasts would be appropriate in high-fashion models used for fashion photography.

In the event that someone argues that prominent breasts would be inappropriate on the runway because they will bounce up and down and distract attention away from clothing, one need only point to numerous instances of deliberate exposure of nipples/breasts on the runway and the use of braless-but-clothed fashion models with non-flat breasts, whereby the breasts bounce up and down to an extent greater than what would be the case if they were wearing bras.

Even if one accepts that breasts need to be small among high-fashion models, it is an easy matter to find small-breasted women, also lacking excess fat elsewhere, that happen to be more feminine-looking than the norm among high-fashion models, on average, but such women will not be used as fashion models because they are too feminine for the tastes of gay fashion designers.

Masculinized looks of fashion models as an artifact of selecting tall women

Are some seemingly masculinized skeletal proportions of fashion models an artifact of their height rather than masculinization?  For instance, the gonial angle [marked in the top image shown in Table 3] becomes sharper with both masculinization and increased size.  Therefore, one could say that the sharp gonial angles disproportionately seen among high-fashion models reflect their larger size, but not their selection for masculinized jawlines.  However, high-fashion models are not randomly drawn from the population of tall women, and it is easy to find tall women with feminine jawlines (Table 3).  One can easily find tall women who look feminine overall.  For instance, see this comparison of 6-feet-tall fashion model Elle MacPherson with an equally tall glamour model.

Table 3.
Heidi Klum

From top to bottom: Heidi Klum, Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins and Charlize Theron.  These women have roughly the same height.  Heidi Klum has a very masculine face overall and sharp gonial angles.  On the other hand, the gonial angles in both Jennifer Hawkins and, especially, Charlize Theron are less sharp, which is in agreement with their greater overall facial femininity.  Therefore, the sharper gonial angles seen in Heidi Klum compared to the average in white women are not entirely attributable to a large face size, but also reflect masculinization.

Miss Universe 2004 Jennifer Hawkins
Charlize Theron

The dieting industry is responsible for very thin fashion models

Is the dieting industry in cahoots with the fashion industry so as to create greater demand for weight-loss products?  It is an easy matter to come across very skinny or slender women that have skeletal proportions that are too feminine for gay fashion designers (Table 4).  In accordance with the general public preference for femininity in the looks of women, the dieting industry could easily select skinny women with feminine skeletal proportions to promote its products, but it is simply not involved in selecting fashion models.

Table 4.
A skinny, small-breasted woman with a pelvic/torso region and facial features that are much more feminine than the norm among high-fashion models. A skinny, small-breasted woman with a pelvic/torso region and facial features that are much more feminine than the norm among high-fashion models.
Caroline Zonath A slender woman with pelvic/torso skeletal proportions sufficient to result in a feminine hourglass figure in spite of small breasts.  Picture taken from Mabuhay beauties.

There are heterosexual and lesbian fashion designers

Indeed, not all fashion designers are gay; some are lesbian and some are heterosexual.  However, the ranks of the top fashion designers are dominated by gays, whose preferences are responsible for the central tendency of the looks of high-fashion models approximating the looks of adolescent boys.  Non-gay fashion designers, not being dominant, would be expected to comply with the status quo.  One should also consider that lesbians are often masculine-looking and are not expected to strongly object to the selection of masculinized female models; indeed, butch-femme pairs are not unusual among lesbians, i.e., some lesbians are specifically attracted to masculinized women.  Also, heterosexual women are often jealous of feminine and attractive women, and some heterosexual female fashion designers are undoubtedly not very keen on selecting feminine and attractive fashion models.

Why don’t gay fashion designers use boys in their early teens as male models?

Why indeed don’t they use boys in their early teens to market clothes to adult men?  Simple.  They couldn’t get away with it.  It would be a dead giveaway of their sexuality, and the Western public hasn’t warmed up to pederasty yet.  On the other hand, the homosexuals will obviously attempt to push the boundaries.

There are feminine fashion models

A few feminine high-fashion models do not change the central tendency among high-fashion models, which is the adolescent-boy look.  Fashion designers are known to occasionally deviate from the norm in their choice of female models, even including plus-size models, obviously to attract attention.  Some non-gay fashion designers may also be responsible for the uncommon feminine fashion model.  On the other hand, when one comes across high-fashion models with a couple of feminine-looking features, it is rarely the case that these women are feminine-looking overall (Table 5; see also Table 1 here).

Table 5.
Mona Johannesson Mona Johannesson, top, has an unusually feminine-looking face for a high-fashion model.  The other pictures are of a young Cindy Crawford, who had an unusually prominent backside and very large breasts compared to the norm among high-fashion models, earning her recognition as a voluptuous model among high-fashion models, but these feminine-appearing features were accompanied by broad shoulders, well-developed muscles and the face of an effeminate man.
Cindy Crawford
Cindy Crawford

Lines of Influence

The choice of models in fashion magazines could result from the influence of clothes designers, the editorial team, people who finance the magazine, magazine designers, advertisers, the photographers or the buyers.  How then can one be sure that the fashion designers are primarily responsible?

Fashion magazines are mainly about fashion (mostly clothing).  Therefore, the clothes designers (the top-ranked or dominant ones being homosexual men) are the most potent force behind the choice of models.  The magazine editors (usually women) had better please their [unofficial] bosses (fashion designers) who are responsible for the existence of the magazines in the first place by providing what these magazines pitch: clothing.  The finance people are primarily concerned with the financial aspects of running a magazine, not the contents of the magazine, which is the concern of the editors.  The subordinates do mechanical work, not entrepreneurial work and are not the decision makers.  The magazine designers are primarily concerned with putting together the package -- sent to them by the editors -- in a visually appealing format.  The advertisers are concerned with sales, not with how the sales are achieved as long as the methods are legal and not politically incorrect. Additionally, as noted above, the buyers’ (primarily women) preferences are most certainly not behind the selection of models.  Since the main selling point of fashion magazines to heterosexual women is fashion, not the looks of the female models, in the absence of alternatives, many heterosexual women will patronize magazines selling what they are interested in, i.e., designer clothing in vogue.

Some fashion magazines, like Cosmopolitan, disproportionately feature the more feminine among fashion models compared to mainstream fashion magazines such as Elle, but how feminine do feminine fashion models really get?

Dressing for sexiness

Consider the following passage by Nancy Etcoff:

Fashion may chatter about many things, but the conversation is mainly about sex and status. That fashion is about sex is obvious, and even the designers of the fashion vanguard agree. ‘Men and women both, to an extent, get dressed to get laid,’ said British designer Katherine Hamnett. ‘Fashion is all about mating…Think about an 18-year-old. And that energy trying on twenty different T-shirts before going out…to them it is so important…True fashion obsession is something to do with sex,’ said Gucci designer Tom Ford.(5)

If donning high-fashion wear is about making oneself sexually appealing, given that most women would want to make themselves sexually appealing to men, if a fashion designer were to select women to model his designs taking into account the tastes of heterosexual men, he would select sexy women for modeling purposes.  Sexually appealing looks are sexy, and feminine beauty is sexually appealing to men, but there is another element to sexiness, namely an appearance that suggests that one would not have to go through a lengthy courtship process or promise commitment prior to obtaining sexual favors.  Women with sexy looks in accordance with this concept of sexiness have the somewhat masculinized appearance disproportionately found in call girls.  Sexy women can be expected to manifest medium-to-small breasts since big breasts look too maternal, possess mildly prominent cheekbones since they are not as gracile as regressed cheekbones, and not display too wide or highly-rounded hips since they look too maternal.  Sexy women manifest slightly masculinized skeletal features.  This is consistent with physiology in that elevated testosterone levels in women correlate with a greater number of sex partners and also with requiring less commitment from a man before engaging in sex.(6)  In addition, a number of women with low sexual desire manifest low testosterone levels.(7-10)  Furthermore, in a comparison of highly promiscuous women with normal women, the promiscuous women were more physically[1] and behaviorally masculine, recalled elevated sex-atypical childhood behavior, and regarded themselves as less feminine and more masculine in adulthood compared to other women.(11)

Does the masculinization among high-fashion models reflect their selection for sexiness? maintains a top-50 list of female fashion models and a top-25 list of sexy female fashion models.  Almost all of the top-25 sexy fashion models are not among the top-50 fashion models, and those who browse through these lists will note that the top-25 sexy fashion models are, on average, more feminine than the top-50 fashion models.  Yet, most of the top-ranked "sexy" fashion models are too masculine for the tastes of heterosexual men; see some examples of the level of masculinization that would confer a call-girl look to a woman and still keep many heterosexual men strongly interested in her.  It should be clear that gay fashion designers are the people who find the adolescent-boy look sexy.

Artistic considerations and a need for unconventionality

A possible explanation of the typical looks of high-fashion models is the necessity -- felt by fashion designers -- for unconventionality, whereby skinny and masculine looks are not conventionally appreciated and hence are appropriate choices.  However, there are several unconventional selections to choose from: models in their 30s, overweight models, muscular models, etc.  How come the central tendency of the unconventional choices bears an uncanny resemblance to adolescent boys rather than other unconventional looks in models?  If other unconventional types cannot be used because of their unattractiveness, then whose idea of appealing unconventionality is an adolescent-boy look? 

Elite adopting style that others cannot afford

It may be pointed out that the elite need to distinguish themselves from the masses by adopting style that most people cannot afford; hence, the typical looks of high-fashion models.  However, it is sufficient for women in elite society to be non-overweight and as attractive as they can afford to be.  Why should the elite promote extreme skinniness and masculinization in women to distinguish themselves from the masses?  Most women are not feminine and very attractive (two-thirds of American women at present are either overweight or obese) and if women in elite society wanted to distinguish themselves from the masses, they could very well achieve this goal by trying to be as feminine and attractive as they possibly could.  Another way of looking at this issue is to consider the ease with which one can achieve a tall, skinny and masculine figure vs. a tall and very feminine figure with a healthy amount of body fat.  Whereas there is not a whole lot one could do about one’s height, a woman could easily make herself more masculine and skinny as follows.  First, a woman needs to start weightlifting to add muscle mass and bone mass.  Unlike men, women who lift weights to make their musculoskeletal system more masculine will not return to their pre-weightlifting level of physique feminization after they stop weightlifting for good.  Thus, a woman can achieve a more masculinized physique after one to two years of weightlifting.  Thereafter, the woman could shift to excessive endurance training for a year in order to disturb her menstrual cycle and reduce her estrogen levels, making herself less feminine, and she will also lose excessive muscle mass in the process.  After this, drastic dieting for a prolonged period, if necessary, will leave her with a skinny physique that is more masculine compared to baseline.  On the other hand, exercise and/or dieting will not make a woman more feminine, and the few ways to achieve more feminine looks involve drastic and dangerous measures such as cosmetic surgery and some combination of estrogen plus anti-androgen supplementation, which are prescription drugs, and which altogether will nevertheless be of limited help.  Therefore, it is obvious that the typical looks of high-fashion models cannot be explained in terms of the elite adopting standards that most people cannot achieve since the most difficult to achieve looks are those of tall and very feminine women with a healthy amount of body fat.

Feminist explanation(s) of skinny fashion models

Feminists have long-berated the pernicious effects of skinny fashion models, and have offered curious hypotheses as to the skinniness of high-fashion models, hypotheses that those familiar with feminism would obviously expect to be based upon the alleged malevolence of patriarchy, heteropatriarchy to be more precise.  Indeed, Rhodes Scholar Naomi Wolf has argued that having been scared by the increasing successes and power of women in the West, some men decided that the best way to put women in their rightful place is to occupy their thoughts with self-appearance and starve them.(3)  However, this notion is easily refuted.

Heteropatriarchy has nothing to do with the preferences of gay fashion designers.  Heterosexual men clearly prefer women who look feminine and have a healthy level of body fat (e.g., here and here).  Therefore, the only way they would end up promoting masculine and skinny women as the epitome of models is if their dislike of female empowerment is greater than their like of feminine and attractive women, which Naomi Wolf has not proven.  Naomi wolf’s thesis requires a high prevalence of eating disorders or else it would be difficult to argue that heterosexual men will employ thin models as a tool to keep women subordinate, and indeed, Naomi Wolf has grossly exaggerated eating disorders statistics.  Since the prevalence of anorexia is very low, why would heterosexual men persist with undermining their visual pleasure and promoting thin models?

As far as the preoccupation of a number of women with self-appearance goes, women generally have high standards when it comes to the men they would be willing to get romantically involved with, and know that such men, usually having their choice of women, tend to go after the more attractive ones.  Thereby, it is intuitive to many women that they had better improve their looks to obtain a high-quality man; hence, the preoccupation of a number of women with their looks.  Since some men will have sex with almost anything that one can have sex with, if women reduced the high standards they harbor for a male mate, they could obtain a man with hardly any effort directed toward improving their looks.  Surely, patriarchy cannot be blamed for instilling high standards for a male mate in women.  Indeed, men would prefer that women have lower standards; this way, they would not have to work so hard to obtain plenty of money to impress women.

It may be pointed out that the skinny and masculinized norm among high-fashion models can be attributed to the freedoms of Western women who are no longer bound to the “drudgery” of repeated pregnancies, which is symbolized by the "far from maternal-looking" physique of high-fashion models. Additionally, the skinny and masculinized physiques of high-fashion models may also be alleged to reflect the independence of Western women, who can have a job to support themselves rather than be dependent on a man, which would make it necessary for them to look feminine and pretty to attract a decent man.  However, among women, feminists are the most likely to conceptualize repeated pregnancies as drudgery and are also the most likely to strongly dislike women's dependence on men.  But, it is very clear that feminists are not behind the prominence of skinny and masculinized high-fashion models.  If feminists had their way, many female models would lose their modeling jobs because modeling on their part allegedly objectifies women, and the few female models that would exist would tend to be often overweight or obese so as to reflect the natural physiques of the feminists themselves, which is often overweight or obese.

Professor Mary Campbell of Brandeis University has explained (personal communication):

I do not need a homophobic explanation to understand why masculine-looking women are preferred, not just by fashion designers (NOT all of whom are gay by any means, and many of whom are straight women in fact) but by the population of the United States as a whole. This is a culture that has been trained up to find what is feminine ugly, stupid, weak, passive and inferior. "Where are their penises?!" squealed Freud in fear and disgust. A hundred years later the USA seems stuck in the same mindset. Straight men routinely report finding women's genitalia 'ugly.' That's not because they're gay! It's because they fear and dislike femininity (and can only conquer it one of two ways--through penetration in the missionary position, or self-loathing, aggressive and often abusive sex with prostitutes).

Heterosexual men who have a low opinion of women still prefer feminine-looking women.  Even the most misogynistic men, i.e., the Middle-Eastern mullahs, would rather ogle at or sleep with feminine-looking women rather than physically masculinized women.  Additionally, straight men do not sleep with prostitutes to conquer their fear and dislike of femininity, but because their female partner would not please them enough, say, via fellatio; or for variety, which they can't have otherwise; and to a lesser extent, for sex if they do not have a girlfriend or wife.  Besides, I have never known a straight man who reports finding female genitals disgusting; only some straight men suffering from clinical disorders do.  Furthermore, since patriarchy is alleged to attempt to restrict women to “feminine roles,” this goal would appear to be best achieved by using high-fashion models who are very feminine-looking and have plenty of babies rather than childless women who usually do not have enough body fat to sustain pregnancy.  Additionally, consider the following 1920s passage by Berman,(4) which feminists are fond of quoting:

A woman who has delicate skin, lovely complexion, well-formed breasts, and menstruates freely will be found to have a typical feminine outlook on life, aspirations, and reactions to stimuli which, in spite of the protests of our feminists, do constitute the biological feminine mind. Large, vascular, balanced ovaries are the wellsprings of her life and personality. On the other hand, the woman who menstruates poorly or not at all is coarse-featured, flat-chested, heavily built, angular in her outlines, will also be often aggressive, dominating, even enterprising and pioneering, in short, masculinoid. She is what she is because she possesses small, shriveled, poorly functioning ovaries.

Berman’s statement above is obviously exaggerated and the ovarian link is unnecessary, but several commentators back then would have noted the more masculine physical appearance, on average, of feminists, something that is common observation:

top officials of the U.S. National Organization for Women (NOW) as of 2005; Olga Vives (Vice President - Executive), Kim Gandy (President), Melody Drnach (Vice President - Action) and Latifa Lyles (Vice President - Membership).  Also shown: Naomi Wolf.

The 4 women shown on the left are top officials of the U.S. National Organization for Women (NOW) as of 2005; shown from left to right: Olga Vives (Vice President – Executive), Kim Gandy (President), Melody Drnach (Vice President – Action) and Latifa Lyles (Vice President – Membership).  All three white NOW officers shown have heavily masculinized facial features.  The gracile facial features of Melody Drnach can be confounded with femininity, but her gracile features are not related to feminization and reflect, instead, ethnic traits most extensively found among Northern Europeans; her face shape is clearly seen as heavily masculinized (see the subtlety of masculinity-femininity).  Although the African-American is masculine-looking, too, addressing her features is not relevant because one cannot be sure that she has earned her position via merit.  You see, NOW subscribes to the belief, “underrepresentation of a particular group equals evidence for discrimination against the group,” i.e., it is bound to place a non-white female among its top officials -- irrespective of merit -- lest it be accused of racism.  Incidentally, the African-American woman has been assigned to the least intellectually demanding position among the top-ranked officials.  The picture on the right shows ostensibly-heterosexual feminist Naomi Wolf with heavy facial masculinization, which also happens to be accompanied by broad shoulders, a muscular build and obesity (not shown).

Obviously, people like Berman would be the least likely to select masculinized women as the epitome of female models.  On the other hand, it may be argued that times have changed and many men today do not have a problem with women involved in masculine roles and that some have been so strongly conditioned to egalitarianism that they have a strong desire to see women involved in masculine behaviors, and the egalitarianism of these men even extends to the physical appearance of women that are supposed to epitomize the female form.  However, whereas it is true that many men do not have a problem with women involved in masculine roles, Table 6 clearly shows what kind of women heterosexual men would like to see involved in masculine roles.

Table 6. Models from Action girls.
Shane from Action girls Shane from Action girls Raylene Richards from Action girls


The considerations above should it make it clear that the central tendency of the looks of high-fashion models, which is to approximate the looks of adolescent boys, reflects the aesthetic preferences of the homosexual men who dominate the fashion business.  If I encounter novel arguments to the contrary, I will be addressing it on this page.


[1] The promiscuous women had a lower waist-to-hip ratio (WHR): 0.75 ± 0.06 vs. 0.81 ± 0.07, p < 0.05.  Women with a masculinized physique can have a low WHR as a result of lower abdominal fat and more muscular buttocks compared to women with an overall more feminine physique.


  1. Goss, F., Stars of style (Influential gay individuals in fashion), in The Advocate, Vol. 735 (June 10), pp. 27 (1997).
  2. Lemon, B., Gucci's gay guru, in The Advocate, Vol. 735 (June 10), pp. 28 (1997).
  3. Wolf, N., The beauty myth: how images of beauty are used against women, William Morrow & Co. (1991).
  4. Berman, L., in The glands regulating personality, Macmillan, New York, pp. 208 (1928).
  5. Etcoff, N., in Survival of the prettiest: The Science of Beauty, Doubleday, New York, pp. 209 (1999).
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