Sex Roles

, Volume 54, Issue 3, pp 201–211

A Critical Test of the Waist-to-Hip Ratio Hypothesis of Women's Physical Attractiveness in Britain and Greece


    • Department of PsychologyUniversity College of London
  • Nicholas Antonakopoulos
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity College of London
  • Martin J. Tovée
    • Department of PsychologyNewcastle University
  • Adrian Furnham
    • Department of PsychologyUniversity College of London

DOI: 10.1007/s11199-006-9338-3

Cite this article as:
Swami, V., Antonakopoulos, N., Tovée, M.J. et al. Sex Roles (2006) 54: 201. doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9338-3


Body mass index (BMI) and body shape as measured by the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) have been reported to be the major cues to women's bodily attractiveness. The relative importance of each of these cues was examined cross-culturally in two distinct countries, Greece and Britain. Fifty Britons, 25 British-Greeks, and 25 participants in Greece were asked to rate a set of images of real women with known BMI and WHR. The results showed that, regardless of the cultural setting, BMI is the primary determinant of women's physical attractiveness, whereas WHR emerged as a significant predictor for the Greek groups but not the British group. This finding is discussed in terms of the different gender roles occupied by Britons and Greeks. The discussion critically evaluates evolutionary psychological and sociocultural explanations of preferences for body weight.


physical attractivenessbody mass indexwaist-to-hip ratiogender roles

Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2006