Saturday, April 25, 2009

Sexy Accents

Why are accents sexy? Why is "exotic" sexy?

It may simply be novelty, but I'll make up a just so evolutionary story:

Gains in trade are extremely valuable - and are a great positive. However, the asymmetry of "hard come, easy go" [i.e. it is very hard to build things up, and very easy to smash them down] makes fear of outsiders and violence a prudent behaviour, a behaviour that is detrimental to trade.

However, if your tribal group becomes linked via family and marriage to another group the risks go down and the benefits of trade and exchange can be more easily achieved.

Thus, any group that found outsiders sexcellent would marry into other groups and gain the tools, ideas, and products of others in peaceful and mutually advantageous exchange. These advantages would lead to better survival odds and thus select for the trait of finding difference and other cultures sexy.

The legacy of this is our love of foreign accents and other "exotic" features.


  1. Perhaps I should have subtitled this "markets in everything"

  2. Eh.. but people still seem to overwhelmingly attracted to the similar - same race/culture.. My guess is exotic features are attractive just because they stand out from others, calling attention to the interesting or unique quality.

  3. "but people still seem to overwhelmingly attracted to the similar - same race/culture"Ah, but the "just so" story suggests that the fear of other groups should keep the level of attraction to others versus self group "reasonable" and the "others are sexy" feeling should not extent to too many members of the society, or be too strongly felt - it is a fine balancing act... This is what I like/dislike about the just so stories - they are fun/ungrounded.

    I agree, it is likely novelty.