It’s a fact that women in general have larger buttocks in relation to their bodies compared to men. But have you ever asked yourself why this is the case? Why do women have bigger buttocks compared to men? What purpose do these larger butts serve?
It is important to note that when you see a big bum, it may not necessarily be big in comparison to other women or men’s butts. What you could be seeing is a low waist to hip ratio. According to Wikipedia, the waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) is the dimensionless ratio of the circumference of the waist to that of the hips. It is calculated as waist measurement divided by hip measurement.
Men generally have higher WHR compared to women. In females, the circumference of the hips is larger than that of the waist. A low WHR means that your waist size is small compared to the hips and you will appear to have a bigger butt in relation to your body size.
In this article, we are going to delve into the reasons why women’s buttocks are larger in relation to their bodies compared to those of men.
1. Genetics and Hormones
Genetics and hormones determine fat deposition or where fat is stored in our bodies. According to Patrick J. Bird, dean of the College of Health and Human Performance at the University of Florida, the hormone estrogen in women drives the deposition of fat around the pelvis, buttocks, and thighs (gluteal-femoral region). In men, the hormone testosterone is responsible for the deposition of fat around their bellies (visceral, or abdominal, region) and all over their bodies. Numerous other studies have confirmed this observation.
During the adolescent growth spurt, the rate of fat increase in girls almost doubles that of boys. It is marked by more and larger fat cells, and it is seen mostly in the gluteal-femoral area and, to a much lesser extent, in the breasts. This general acceleration in body fat accumulation, particularly sex-specific fat, is attributed mostly to changes in female hormone levels. In the next section, we discuss in details the body fat deposition in women and men.
It is also worth noting that the level of estrogen in women varies from one female to the next. Women with high levels of estrogen have more fat stored in the thighs and buttocks while those with lower levels of estrogen have fat stored around the abdomen and the midsection (waist area). This difference in the level of estrogen is a major contributing factor the shape and size of the female buttocks from a pear and heart shape to a box and inverted shape.
2. Body Fat Deposition
Body fat is, of course, necessary for life. Besides being a source of energy, it is a storage site for some vitamins, a major ingredient in brain tissue, and a structural component of all cell membranes. Moreover, it provides a padding to protect internal organs and insulates the body against the cold.
It is well established that women generally have a higher percentage of body fat than men. By 25 years of age, for example, healthy-weight women have almost twice the body fat that healthy-weight men have. According to Robergs and Roberts (1997), a healthy range of body fat for women is 20-25%, and a healthy range of body fat for men is 10-15%.
This gender difference begins early in life. Scientific research has shown that in early childhood, it is difficult to distinguish the buttocks of boys from those of girls. However during growth and adolescence, something phenomenal happens. As the levels of estrogen increase, the girls’ bodies start to mature, develop larger breasts and buttocks compared to the boys. This body metamorphosis continues until the end of the adolescence stage. The fat accumulates in the typical female distribution fashion in the breasts, hips, buttocks and thighs. The buttocks in human females thus contain more adipose tissue than in males, especially after puberty. The result is a gynoid, or pear body type with the fat going to the buttocks giving them more shape and curve.
In men, their high level of testosterone means that they carry more of their body fat in and around the abdominal area and have an android or apple body type. The android body type is associated with a higher risk for cardiovascular disease.
3. Sexual Signal to Attract Mates
You may have heard a saying that “men are visual beings” meaning that they are sexually cued visually much more than women. Evolutionary psychologists suggest that rounded buttocks may have evolved as a desirable trait because they provide a visual indication of the woman’s youth and fertility. They signal the presence of estrogen and the presence of sufficient fat stores for pregnancy and lactation. Additionally, the buttocks give an indication of the shape and size of the pelvis, which impacts reproductive capability. Some researchers propose that it evolved as a sexual signal to attract mates. Evolution has made men perceive wider hips in women as more attractive. This is the reason why men prefer women with prominent hips because they are more suitable to carry their child. In primates, it is more obvious as their butt actually enlarges and changes color during sexually active periods.
Biological anthropologist Helen B. Fisher said that “perhaps, the fleshy, rounded buttocks attracted males during rear-entry intercourse”. Bobbi S. Low et al. said that the female buttocks “evolved in the context of females competing for the attention and parental commitment of powerful resource-controlling males”.
4. The Pelvis Size and Shape
According to a New York plastic surgeon Dr. Matthew Schulman, one of the determinants of the butt shape and size is the placement of the pelvis in relation to the hip bones. The pelvis is the region between the upper body (trunk) and the legs.
The female pelvis is structurally different from the male pelvis in that, it is larger and broader primarily to create space during child birth. This causes the femur or thigh bones to also be positioned wider. This manifests itself as larger hip. The male pelvis is taller, narrower and more compact. This difference becomes very apparent during puberty and is responsible for the physical appearance of a wider butt in ladies. The posterior side of the pelvic region holds the butt muscles. There are many muscles in the buttocks region but the main ones that contribute to the shape of the buttocks are the gluteus maximus and the gluteus medius.
5. Built to Reproduce
According to Polish researcher Boguslaw Pawlowski of the University of Wroclaw, another reason for fat storage in the gluteal – femoral region in women is that the fat helps to meet the balance requirements of walking during pregnancy and lactation. During advanced pregnancy and when nursing, a woman has an additional load that makes movement more difficult and energetically inefficient. The addition of weight below and behind the center of gravity reduces those ill effects by offsetting the baby’s load. Thus Pawloski suggests that evolution promoted buttocks and thigh fat deposits to compensate for the biomechanical handicap imposed by carrying a baby.
One of the biggest observations in women trying to lose weight is that they note it is generally challenging to shed fat from the pelvis, buttocks and thighs than it is to trim down other areas of the body. However, during lactation, the sex-specific fat cells are not so stubborn. The fat cells in the rest of the body burn with lactation whereas fat storage increases in the mammary adipose tissue. This suggests that the fat stored around the gluteal – femoral region of women appears to act as reserve storage for the energy demands of lactation.
In conclusion, having looked at the myriad of possible explanations as to why women have larger buttocks than men, there are exceptions to this. There are women who have smaller butts and there are men who have large butts. Even among women, the booty sizes and shapes vary. There is no single buttock that looks exactly like another one in shape and size.