T Nation

Paul Carter's Article About Beauty


I agree with a lot of what Paul Carter said about physical beauty, but I do believe he is underestimating the role culture plays. Yes, on a basic level, we are genetically programmed to be attracted to the physically fit, but at the same time, the standards of beauty can be fudged by cultural requirements. When rich people spent most of their times indoors and poor people indoors, white skin became preferred over tan, but when poor women’s jobs moved indoors (factories, clerking in stores) and rich women took up tennis and laying around on beaches, tan skin became more fashionable. As a overweight man who has lived in America, England, Vietnam, and China, I can also tell you that the harder it is for a woman to find a good man with a good job, the less she cares about some extra pounds, but at the same time, in America I found I did all my dating when my chest stuck out further than my belly. Growing up in a capitalist, urban society but with bodies that evolved in the wild causes complications to the attractiveness equation.


Not really. Women take other things into consideration when selecting a mate. Carter simply spoke of beauty and attractiveness, not relationships. A women may want to bang a poor hunk, but ends up with a rich fatty. She is still more attracted to the poor guy.


I quit reading when he attributed the fall of the Roman Empire to a fat, weak ,and lazy Rome.


Do you normally quit reading something as soon as you disagree with someone? I have found some of my most enjoyable reading came from those who I didn’t agree with in the slightest. Really helped me understand their perspective.


Skin colour is not the same as physique
I get the comparison you make,but social programming cannot change everything

Also,you say women do not mind a few extra pounds.’‘Do not mind’’ and ‘‘are attracted to’’ are a world of a difference

I am not biggest Paul’s fan.He sometimes gives me the impression that he tries to be hardcore for the sake of hardcore.But like him or not,when it comes to fitness related stuff he’s usually right


Hardcore, but willing to try to understand other guys perspective.


I just wanted to say that I really enjoy Paul’s writing.


The fall of the roman empire is a complex issue with many causes that is still debated. Saying it was because they got fat and lazy is just trying to make an article sound more interesting by making up facts.

Not that I disagree with the overall topic.


I apologize; my statement was not intended to be an endorsement or refutation of Paul’s theory on the Roman Empire.


I also think that attractiveness can not being reduced purely to evolutionist/biological reasoning. So the culture plays a big role.

Also, if we are looking only the biological aspects of mate-choosing/attractiveness, there is much more than what is showing. Hormonal levels, scent etc. attract people subconsciously and do not always show outside or can not be always developed with lifestyle.

And yes. Rome did not fall because people got fat/lazy. Imperial overreach is maybe the best term to describe why the imperium did fall down.


I find it ironic when people who use PEDs start writing/talking about health and the “less healthy” choices of others.


That article was just a sophisticated form of bro-science.

To me he is second to Mike Sheridan in term of shit articles and opinions.


Let’s face it. He’s been on this rant since Ashley Graham made the cover of SI Swin Suit.


People like him get pissed off when a magazine tests the waters and releases a cover like that but then they go back to their normal magazine covers so its basically a non-problem. There are a lot of women who reject this idea of what the main stream tries to sell as sex appeal but I that’s just some push back for them marketing it too hard.


SufiAndy beat me to it.
If someone needs to make sh*t up to fit the needs of their article I will surely stop reading it.


Ah. It’s a shame. I have seen that literary technique pan out. Sometimes the very next sentence or paragraph even admits the dishonesty of the first. Nietzsche did this a bit; would throw me off a lot and force me to reread everything again to reorient my perspective.

Still, I get it. I am a bit guilty of the opposite. I have abandoned articles I found myself agreeing with too much, as I didn’t really know what I was going to get out of it.


Was the article about health?


I grant that skin color is not the same as physique, so I shall address that as well. I would argue that in societies where inherited wealth is considered better than created wealth, a slender man is more attractive than a muscular man, because muscles imply working for a living. And in sub-cultures in America that reject money and work as a measure of success, slender men are also more attractive.

But I agree that “do not mind” and “are attracted to” are very different; Confucian romances have generally implied a preference for slender, scholarly men and slender, artistic women. Generally. For most of Chinese history, the Exams have been the best way to rise in society, so being studious was key. Meanwhile the Greeks and Romans saw no contradiction between mind and muscle, and the relationship between intelligence, strength, and courage was a theme of the Iliad. Different characters represented different relationships between those three qualities.


you guys sure are reading awfully deeply into an article which basically only said that jacked people are sexier.


That’s why some people become professors. So they never have to give up being in college.