The concept of the “search image” image in animal behavior and evolutionary studies is an important one. (1) In more derived organisms, the nervous systems enable plasticity in the characteristics of the search image for prey. Search images also exist for sexual partners. The brain responds, even powerfully, to body type as well as, in humans, facial features. There are extremely charged aspects of this topic that this present article will not attempt to sort through. (2) The matter of plasticity of the search image can be considered in more general terms for the moment, without considerations of ethnicity or race. These ruminations are applicable to members of all races.
Most humans are extremely conformist when it comes to social behaviors, expressed opinions and attitudes and preferences. Thus, the power of the advertising industry–at least partially–is explained. In particular, we will want to consider that humans also appear to adjust who is attractive and who is not based on social conformity.
Reduced to its basics, the image of another as a sexual object (we all are unavoidably potential sexual objects, which is an absolutely good thing, by the way), is an informational quality that generally makes its initial, impression primarily through the visual system. We are all familiar with the notion that for men, the form of the woman, certain mathematically definable curves, as well as facial features are important. For women, though not exclusively, behavior of the male is a strong signal for attractiveness–perhaps more so than the reverse.
There is an interfering, intrusive interjection of information into what would be the normal relationship of image gathering, conformity & modification of the search image and the availability of individuals actually in one’s encounterable proximity. Welcome to the world of electronic communication and manipulation through advertising.
More to come.