Am I shallow or superficial for thinking Australia’s aboriginals are the least attractive race of humans in the world?

By: | Post date: February 9, 2017 | Comments: No Comments
Posted in categories: Australia, Culture

Fascinated why I got A2A’d this. I mean, I have my self-flattering theory as to why, but Robert Thompson, who A2A’d me, do get in touch!

Kia Ora, OP, my Māori fellow antipodean! Do me a favour. Google pictures of the Khoisan. (Previous unfriendly names: Bushmen, Hottentot.) Tell me whether you find them more unattractive.


Lots of the answers are close to castigating or hectoring OP, which is counterproductive. (So’s Quora’s sanction “This question should be phrased with neutral and sincere language”.)

Lots of the answers given were “politically correct”, and I don’t think most of them, politically correct or not, were satisfactory. The answers I think got it were by Gita Gavare Marotis, Paul Scott, and User.

The related question Am I racist I only find Australia’s white women attractive and I don’t find any of Australias aboriginals that aren’t white attractive? did not do even that well in its answers.

What’s attractiveness? Is it an abstract universal mathematical property? Artists would like to tell you it is, but of course it isn’t. Artists swim in the same cultural sea as the rest of us.

Is it genetically coded, somewhere along with Chomsky’s blueprint for language? Evolutionary biologists would like to tell you it is, but evolutionary biologists are only dealing with differences within a tribe—which aren’t going to be the kind of difference we’re talking about here, between major branches of the human diaspora.

Our notion of attractiveness, I’ll posit, is culturally grounded in (a) familiarity and (b) hegemony.

  • We are going to find the body types and features we see around us every day, in our parents, our relatives, our leadership, familiar; we are likelier to base our notions of attractiveness on a subset of those familiar features. People with drastically different phenotypes, we will see as alien first, and the alienness will freak us out, Uncanny Valley style. “They look like people, but not as I know them.” Some of the time, that will lead us to exoticise them, especially where their features are more of what we already find attractive. Some of the time, we will exoticise them in the opposite direction.
  • If we are being ruled and/or propagandised and/or indoctrinated by a different group of people, we’re going to take on their beauty ideals. That applies to British colonialists ruling New Zealand, and it applies to American media pumping out Hollywood’s notion of what a good looking person is to the world. So even if someone Chinese finds Westerners to be big-nosed coarse-featured orangutangs—so long as they’re on a regular diet of Hollywood and/or San Fernando Valley, that reaction is going to be subdued.

Now. Australian Aboriginals aren’t the hegemonical class in New Zealand, or, well, anywhere really; so they don’t have that cultural advantage towards looking attractive to a Māori (which Pakeha do).

Moreover (and this is critical): Australian Aboriginals diverged from the human diaspora out of Africa at a very early time. If you allow the time for them to walk out of Africa, maybe 50 thousand years? 60? And for the Khoisan, the time of divergence is even greater. On the other hand, Polynesians and Europeans are closer to each other by phenotype, and I assume by date of divergence, maybe more like 30 thousand years ago. (Those migration charts are hard to read, and there is a lot of guesswork.)

So Western culture biases your beauty ideal, OP, away from Aboriginal Australians and towards Europeans. And familiarity biases your beauty ideal away from Aboriginal Australians and towards Europeans and Polynesians—who look closer to each other than to Aboriginals. And if my theory is right, you’re not going to find Khoisan people physically attractive, either.

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