Colored more attractive if I'm colored?

Is it true that the majority of people find people of their own colors more attractive than those of different colors?

Or is it, generally, prettier if lighter?

I’m guessing that this thread will be moved to a different forum where polls are taken, but as for me, and I think you’ll find this to be so in the wider spectrum - darker is more attractive. More attractive in the opposite sex and more attractive in the same sex. I find darker people better looking if they’re darker. That’s it.


What I MEANT to say was that I find people better looking if they’re darker.

And, more to the point, I, myself, am a white person.

And what I meant was Is there something in the genetics of humans that make them tend to like people of there color? I’m not talking about white persons liking darker white persons. Do the majority of black people like blacks?

Going to be hard to find a universal rule on this. People tend to be wary of “the other” but what they perceive to be “the other” is difficult to predict. For some people it’s skin color, for some people it’s facial features, for some it’s signs of class or status membership. I can be attracted to anyone across the color or ethnic spectrum as long as they don’t have strong, heavy facial features, and as long as they are educated and intelligent.

And then there are people who intentionally seek out “the other.” So really this is a difficult question to answer. I think the only universal attractor identified so far is symmetry of body and facial features, curvature in women’s bodies, and height in men.

This is a complicated subject and IANAAnthropologist. But I have read that people tend to be attracted to people who look like them but not too much like them (i.e., from your own tribe, maybe your second cousin, but not your sister). There was a layperson’s article about this in Discover, which I couldn’t find, although I found a related one (“Go Ahead, Kiss Your Cousin”, Richard Conniff, DISCOVER Vol. 24 No. 08, August 2003) which discusses the risks of intermarriage within families as well as the unjustified exaggeration of such risks.

Well for me, skin color has nothing to do with if I’m attracted to a woman, generally I’d do 'em all if it they would let me and I had the time. :smiley:

CC, Stephen Lynch agrees with you!

Yahh, she ain’t hot, being a whitey and all.

Highly unlikely, but do you honestly think that scientists have found a “color of skin preference gene”? Wouldn’t a culturally absorbed preference be much more likely? I mean, think of all the hundreds of thousands of years of human evloution when it would be almost unheard of ever to see another human being with a markedlly different color. What survival pressure would have produce such a gene?

Black people as in African Americans or Black people as in sub-Sahara Africans?

In some Asian cultures, light skin is desireable, but more as a status symbol than a real sign of beauty. People with lighter skin (women, particularly) haven’t had to work out in the sun all day. This cultural practice is taken to extremes in the makeup of a Geisha-- face painted almost stark white.

Do the majority of black people like blacks? I’m sorry, but this seems like a crazy question since black people are not heading towards extinction and there are plenty of dark-skinned people all around the world. So apparently someone out there likes dark skin.

I once had a Nigerian guy ask me if I had some kind of disease. He’d never met a black person who was so pale, and he thought I was suffering from some kind of anemia (and also because I don’t have a butt, no joke). So no, “lighter” is not necessarily “prettier”…especially if you are accostomed to darker skin. Even among white people, lighter is not necessarily prettier. If this were so, people wouldn’t be spending millions at the tanning salons.

I did have a scientist friend tell me that there does some to be higher incidences of darker-male, lighter-female pairings amongst humans. The hypothesis is that humans subconsciously pick up on subtle cues that indicate healthiness in potential mates. Men might be attracted to paler-skinned females because against the paler skin, they may be able to see lesions, parasites, and other ugly signs of sickness more easily. It’s interesting, but I’m not sure I buy it.

Females in general are lighter skinned than men in populations. The reason for this - and the preference for lighter skin - is debated, but I think the strongest evidence for it points to the vitamin D hypothesis. Lighter skin lets more UVB rays to penerate a person’s body which increases her production of vitamin D which in turn enables her to absorb more calcium in her diet. Women need more calcium than men, ergo, lighter skin.

Richard Conniff’s excellent article can be found here

That’s an article about cousin marriages, not light skinned women.

There’s a hypothesis of sexual attaction that’s called ‘the exotic becomes erotic’. However, this usually refers to the development of sexual orientation, rather than something like skin color.

Anyone who thinks that white people can’t be attractive has never been to Finland. :slight_smile:

I’ve often wondered about it, I have brown eyes and find that I only find lasses eyes attractive if they are significantly lighter than mine.

I definitely find a tan a turn on

I suspect that we are programmed to go for a degree of diversity

  • also finer features

Another thing I’ve noticed is that the best looking girls tend to come from areas around ports - and the best dogs are mongrels

  • for a smart dog or cat, get it straight from a working farm
  • Darwinian principles ensure health, cunning and intelligence

Lacking evidence to support that hypothesis, I’d say it’s a modern day folk tale designed to fit the current political climate rather than something based in science.

Best dogs for what? The best sheep herding dogs are those that are bred specifically for sheep herding. Purebreds are often plagued with health problems, but that’s a different issue.

“Darwinian principles” are that organism evolve in response to environmental pressures. If there are no environmental pressures for cunning and intelligence, there is no reason to think they will evolve. Witness the giant tortoises of the Galapagos. Lacking natural predators, they did just fine being slow, dim-witted creatures.

Care to speculate why this might be genetically programmed? A person with “finer features” doesn’t make me think of someone who can hunt down a lion, crawl on all fours to get to the bush with the good berries, or shoot out a bunch of babies without dying in child birth. The fact that many people have quite robust features (full lips, pronounced cheekbones, broad nose, rounded chin, sturdy body frame) indicates to me that if there has been natural selection for finer features, it is so small as to be insignificant.

Actually, no they don’t. “Survival of the fittest”, as Darwin proposed it, had nothing to do with health, cunning, or intelligence. If unhealthy, dimwitted people have more children in a particular environment than the “healthy, intelligent” folks, they will be the “fittest” in that environment. Fitness is context-specific; there is no general archetype of a fit person besides fecundity.

I remember having read about this. I believe there is a link between melanin and testeorone, but I can’t remember what triggers production of which.

John Mace, CookingwithGas mentioned that article in his post and I found it online for yall to read because I found it very interesting. If you want a cite for women have lighter skin/this is because of hormone levels, read this article with more details here. I recall from when I when I studied this subject that women’s skin is 3 to 4% lighter on average than men’s, but I haven’t been able to find an online cite to back that up.

Monstro, there are some who think that darker skin is due to more testosterone but I haven’t seen much evidence backing that hypothesis.

My specialty is pop-culture, not biology, so I have nothing to back up the idea of men being naturally darker than women within populations. However, I did find some sources that address the OP while doing research for a paper on how erotica reflects ideals for mate selection.

My research was focusing on women, though I do have some sources on men’s preferences for contrast. In general, there was almost perfect uniformity when it came to issues of prestige/wealth, physically masculine attributes such as wider jaws and being taller than the women, and autonomy. Skin color was generally described as being darker than the female protagonist, but this was not as widespread as the other traits. While there was not a single example of a male fantasy figure who was poorer, shorter, or weaker-willed than the female protagonist, there were several examples where the man was lighter in coloring. The most popular traits shown in the male fantasy figures in erotica were also found in Bible stories that are most popular with female audiences, and reflected actual mate selection in one study.

I can post some of the examples from my research as well as the cites from other studies if anyone is interested. This isn’t a question that is ever going to truly be answered to everyone’s satisfaction, but I’d say that attraction to one’s own ethnic group or to other groups is controlled by personal experience and cultural factors, rather than anything biological. It simply doesn’t appear to have as much of an influence on whether someone will be a good mate as so many other factors.