Of “Gay Germs” and “Manjaws”

I have previously argued that homosexuality is likely to be a developmental anomaly, not caused by a germ as one contemporary theory has it:

Sleeping Beauty and the Homosexuals“.

I had meant to provide some comparative figures on the relatively high occurrence of other developmental anomalies affecting sexuality, such as hypospadias, but I see that a commenter (“Sam”) on the West Hunter blog has done so already:

“However, from the perspective of other traits influenced by fetal androgen signaling, and in which there is gonad-trait discordance, the high prevalence of homosexuality is not unusual. For example, the prevalence of hypospadias (gonad-trait discordance for urethral length) varies from 0.4% to 1% in newborns, and when including milder cases (ascertained in three years postpartum), its prevalence can be as high as 4% (Boisen et al. 2005). This phenotype is expected to interfere with sperm transfer during copulation, but despite this fitness cost, it persists at substantial frequency. Cryptorchidism (gonad-trait discordance for the position—abdominal versus descended—of the gonads) is associated with reduced fertility and increased rates of testicular cancer. The prevalence of this androgen-influenced trait is 2-9% (Bay et al. 2011).”

While on that thread, I found my way to this comment at Chateau Heartiste from “Georgia Boy” on the subject of “manjaw” in women:

“I dunno man, the masculinity isn’t all new if you ask me. Some of the old-school female movie stars look really masculine in my opinion. Bette Davis kinda had a manjaw, and the rest of her face looks masculine to me by modern movie star standards: big prominent forehead, wide cheekbones. Katherine Hepburn, no manjaw but same deal with the forehead and cheekbones, and with a flattened bridge of the nose. Joan Crawford, fuhgedaboutit, change up the hair and clothes and she’d easily pass for a male. Of course it’s not all of them, you also had Audrey, Elizabeth, and Marilyn, but it’s just distracting when you watch some of the old movies on TV, I’m like that’s the supposedly pretty female lead?”

I have previously written about the phenomenon of the “handsome woman” and her popularity in times past. Perhaps some of these women have a somewhat masculinised face with “manjaw”. However a little of such an effect can add pleasing definition to a woman’s appearance (e.g. Olivia Wilde).

Of course, if men increasingly prefer tall, rangy, long-limbed women with relatively broad shoulders (a shape between the ectomorph and mesomorph, and not so much of the plumper endomorph), a side-effect may be some masculinisation of the face.

I previously wrote about Maud Gonne, the Irish society beauty and somewhat reluctant lover of poet WB Yeats. Her physiognomy was much admired, but it could lead to modern accusations of “manjaw”. I will use the photo of her below because it shows the Italian edition of her autobiography “A Servant of the Queen” and because it gives her full married name, Maud Gonne MacBride. John MacBride was an Irish revolutionary executed by the British after the 1916 Easter Rising.



5 responses to this post.

  1. […] that homosexuality is caused by a germ. I have no problem with this, in theory. But in practice, as I have noted here, there is a much simpler explanation that would occur to someone who understood fully that mammals […]


  2. Posted by Julian O'Dea on December 28, 2015 at 8:48 am

    “Does homosexuality make evolutionary sense?”


  3. Posted by Julian O'Dea on December 29, 2016 at 8:52 am


    “Homosexuality may be caused by chemical modifications to DNA”


  4. Eh. The squarest jaws I have ever seen were those of certain women. My mother, my ex-girlfriend, Olivia Wilde, Sophie Ellis-Baxtor… Men have narrower skulls, relatively. Stronger bone growth doesn’t mean masculine, it’s just more “archaic”, stop believing this internet non-sense.


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