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For storytelling purposes I need an plausible explanation why men are considered more beautiful than women in a country in the world I am building.

So far in every country I have visited in my life either women are considered better looking (Poland, Brazil, Japan...) or both sexes are at about same level of attractiveness (Argentina, Germany, Italy, UK..) with women having a slight edge.

Could such country plausibly exist?

P.S. I'm talking about "raw" (genetic) attractiveness of healthy individuals, so habits such as diet, exercise, grooming, fashion should not be part of explanation.

For all the posters that say that beauty is subjective please read this:

women rate an incredible 80% of guys as worse-looking than medium Male attractiveness from https://theblog.okcupid.com/your-looks-and-your-inbox-8715c0f1561e

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closed as primarily opinion-based by adaliabooks, AngelPray, Mołot, MichaelK, Frostfyre Oct 10 '17 at 12:18

Many good questions generate some degree of opinion based on expert experience, but answers to this question will tend to be almost entirely based on opinions, rather than facts, references, or specific expertise. If this question can be reworded to fit the rules in the help center, please edit the question.

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    $\begingroup$ I'm voting to close as too opinion based; I think the premise of your question is basically flawed. I'm going to assume your male and that is why you feel women to be more attractive in various places. I'm sure if you asked a large group of people you'd get enough dissenting opinions. On top of that everyone finds something different attractive; my ideal of beauty probably isn't the same as anyone elses and therefore the question is too opinion based. $\endgroup$ – adaliabooks Oct 10 '17 at 8:42
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    $\begingroup$ Unless you can link some good studies to show that this is a thing (as opposed to your own subjective experience), I'd tend to agree with @adaliabooks that this is opinion based (or perhaps too broad?). If such studies don't exist, then, as it's subjective, I don't believe that this would actually need an explanation - hope that helps at least a bit $\endgroup$ – Mithrandir24601 Oct 10 '17 at 8:50
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    $\begingroup$ I'm sorry and I really hate to say this, but I must: this question is based on one of the stupidest premises that I have ever seen here. The idea that since you personally are attracted to woman more than to most men, then women must simply be objectively better looking is simply ridiculous and flawed on so many levels (the sheer egotism of the proposition for one). I'm going to assume (and dearly hope) that you're still young and this is just a stage of your development into maturity. $\endgroup$ – AngelPray Oct 10 '17 at 8:50
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    $\begingroup$ In a word: norms. Beauty is on the eye of the beholder. The fact that women are considered beautiful while men are not regarded as eye-candy is a norm. The easiest way to make this happen is to make the norm be: matriarchy. Reverse the gender roles and make women be the leaders, the appointed doers and decision makers. That reduces the men to eye-candy... the pretty decoration. "Oh don't bother your pretty little head with that sweet boy... just sit there and be cute for me". Just as happens with women in the real world today... $\endgroup$ – MichaelK Oct 10 '17 at 9:11
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    $\begingroup$ @MichaelK He doesn't need to reverse gender roles. Ancient Greeks believed women to be so imperfect that men were considered more beautiful. $\endgroup$ – Alberto Yagos Oct 10 '17 at 10:31
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Maybe but it stretches the imagination.

Attractiveness is a visual a proxy for your genetic quality. Facial symmetry, healthy waist-to-hip ratio, height, long hair, etc all serve as signals to potential suitors that you are a mate-worthy specimen. Since men could father hundreds of children a year, while women can bear only one, they are the less picky sex when it comes to no-strings-attached dalliances. When it comes to long term pairing both sexes are picky. You want someone attractive but not if they are borderline insane.

Since you want men to be the more attractive sex, women should not give much weight to the other traits that make a desirable mate. So in your country being a stable provider, a good father, an upstanding member of your community shouldn't matter much. If in this world "nice guys" complain that they finish last in your country they shouldn't finish at all, generation after generation.

How you gonna build a country under such circumstances is left as an exercise for the reader.

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    $\begingroup$ This sounds like solid reasoning $\endgroup$ – Pureferret Oct 10 '17 at 12:24
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It's possible but unlikely.

Since sperm is cheap and eggs are expensive, women through the history desired men who were willing to invest in their offspring as opposed to one night stands. There were also subject of women not being able to choose their mates either due to physical violence (rape, conquest) or due to social customs, have an affair with a poor scoundrel and village will ostracize you and you'll die alone.

Average women looking for a mate must make compromise between their genes and their resources.

So design your country to be safe and egalitarian. Women must be able to feed themselves and her offspring. Man should not be able to use violence against women. And social customs should allow women to choose their own mate.

For some ideas read Sperm Wars

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This is largely cultural, linked to who actually makes the choice.

In our cultures first approach is from male (sometimes, especially in the past, but not only, an approach "difficult to resist"). This means a female needs to attract who would "fight for her" (in some times/places quite literally).

OTOH other species have the reverse situation: many female birds are perfectly able to "bring up their family" without male help, are usually bigger and stronger than males and make the choice. Unsurprisingly males get the most eye-catching plumage.

So, aside from some natural bias about being an hetero male and thus having a sweet eye for females, having a race/civilization where women are strong, independent and choosy will lead (in the long run) to ugly women and pretty men.

Note: this is arguably the case with early humans (before the link between sex and birth was recognized)

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  • $\begingroup$ Good to see cultural factors considered. Plus one. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 10 '17 at 11:47
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Firstly there is no such thing as "raw" genetic attractiveness. The attractiveness of the genders is determined culturally. In your question you cite the different levels of gender attraction in a selection of countries. Therefore, depending on social, economic, political and historical factors it is not implausible there could exist a country where men are deemed the more attractive gender.

Before anyone claims this is not possible, well the comments to the question are full of persons with these opinions, you should take into account that the relevant expertise to deal with this question lies in the province of anthropology. Thus, moving it out of the zone of primarily opinion-based.

The above answer considers the general anthropological factors that might make males the more attractive gender.

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    $\begingroup$ False even blind men prefer women with hourglass figure 0.7 nytimes.com/2010/04/18/magazine/18fob-Bergner-t.html which signals fertility and health $\endgroup$ – NaamNaamSaddam Oct 10 '17 at 9:34
  • $\begingroup$ @NaamNaamSaddam This only relates to female attractiveness. Cultural factors still can determine which is the more attractive gender. Certainly there are powerful factors that place a premium on women for attraction. The power of reproduction not just biologically but culturally too. Fertility & health are then important indicators for the reproduction of children. Please don't confuse biology with culture. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 10 '17 at 9:53
  • $\begingroup$ You are missing the point. If we take pictures randomly of 100 heterosexual men and women each in their 20's and rate them by enough people on a scale of 1-10 which gender will get a better grade. I'll bet my money on the fairer sex and I'm one of those who are hurting the brethren chances. I will take that bet in any country in the world. Culture doesn't appear from thin air there must be something underneath. $\endgroup$ – NaamNaamSaddam Oct 10 '17 at 10:06
  • $\begingroup$ @NaamNaamSaddam Not quite.My background may be in the natural sciences, but I have studied anthropology. Yes culture doesn't come out of nothing. Factors I mentioned above. I suggest the OP's country is plausible, the probability of its existence is another matter. Your argument about pictures is mere sophistry. Personality is a greater determinant of attraction than appearance, for either gender. $\endgroup$ – a4android Oct 10 '17 at 11:54
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As we know the beauty is in the eye of the beholder. So the beholder need to have certain social rules to have such opinion.

The result is ancient Greece. Men were men, the most beautiful beings, the pinnacles of muscles, beards and brains. Women were "meh". Some of them were attractive but most of them were treated as human incubators.

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There are a few comments to your question that already point out the biggest flaws in your question.

But let's try to be a bit more objective.

There are biological factors coming into play, such as choosing a mate to provide best for your offspring, but i consider these known / handled by other answers, so i will stick to societal factors here.

In most western countries, women tend to spend more on things that are directly linked to beauty.
The most obvious and quantifiable factor is your local hair stylist: where i live, women pay more than double for a haircut compared to men's prices. Then there is the cliché of shoes, which seems fairly verifiable: women, for all i know, on average own a lot more shoes than men, choose clothing more for their looks than their practical value, and generally (again, on average) spend more time and money on making hings beautiful than men do.

There is a joke outlining this: "Looks are more important for women than brains are, because there are a lot fewer blind men than morons".

What it boils down to is that most western cultures stem from patriarchaic societies, and for most parts still are (although, fortunately, this changes, albeit slowly)

In turn, that means that successful men (as in rich, have a good standing in society, and whatnot) can choose women (to a degree), or, seen from the other angle, more women compete for those men.
In societies where men earn more than women, are more often employed and / or fill more of the roles in society that are deemed important, women "need" to fill in the roles the men can't or don't want to fill in, and thus want complemented. That, in turn, are features that are hard to transport into public life. Looks, on the other hand, are. So, in order to increase the chance of being noticed by a wealthy and important member of society (who is mostly male), looks are a airly simple and efficien way.
Imagine you can either try to project an image of being an interesting partner for conversation, caring, gentle, and a good cook, to projecting the image of being a desirable mating partner. Let's be honest: the latter is much, much easier. (Again, see the joke above)

So to turn this around, i.e. to have a society where men care more about their looks, and invest more into them, than women do, all you need is a matriarchal society. If people commented more on a man's looks than his money/job/car/status object of choice, men would (on average) invest more on those traits that are noticed quickly and provide rewards from the surroundings.
As explained above, settings that favor women over men in society should encourage men to invest more in their (subjective) beauty.

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