I missed the “Johnny Depp” boat. I never understood why women swooned over Johnny Depp. I could see he had great bone structure, a modest personality, good acting skills. But was that it? Apparently not — according to some, Johnny has a perfect blend of many feminine features with some masculine features. In other words, he is the type of man many women dream of.
The theory that women like feminine men is a fairly new one. Men and women alike presume that women like the rugged, athletic, and muscle-bound men. But the idea that women like feminine men has been supported by a variety of unrelated studies.
In one popular internet study done in the United Kingdom, men with traditionally feminine features were rated as being better for long-term relationships. Judging digitally altered photos, participants chose the most feminine-looking men as warmer and more committed. Men with more masculine features were seen as better for the short-term.
The theory that women are more inclined to feminine men is used to support another theory. Amongst those researching the idea that homosexuality is partly hereditary, a prominent theory is that genes which predispose to homosexuality are actually several feminizing genes. These genes survive in the population because they are beneficial to those who only get a few of them. These feminized men have greater success with women and a better chance at reproducing.
A large study involving self-identified gay and straight men and their siblings found evidence which supported both hypotheses. Brothers of gay men scored more “feminine” on a self-assessment than brothers of straight men, and these feminized men also had more female sexual partners on average. The most feminine men had better success with women. The study and similar ones are discussed by Simon LeVay in the detailed popular science piece Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why.
If feminine men are more attractive overall, but masculine men are better for the short-term, then Johnny Depp’s mix of feminine and masculine creates the ideal man. Whatever the reason, one thing is certain: I still don’t find Johnny Depp that attractive. But at least I have some idea why he is so alluring to others.
- Gay, Straight, and the Reason Why: Chapters Six and Seven — second study examined