The Correlation Between Intellect and Pulchritude
In my possibly biased observation, the female students at such schools are not only smarter than average, they are better looking as well. That raises an interesting question. Assuming my observation is correct, why would there be a positive correlation between intellect and pulchritude?
One possible answer is that intellect is an input to pulchritude. The abilities that make a woman academically successful might also make her successful in improving her appearance, whether by diet and exercise, choice of clothing, or in a variety of other ways.
Another possibility is that intellect and looks are both affected by some common cause. Poor nutrition, for instance, might affect both. So might genetic factors or environmental ones, pre or post-natal. Something goes right or wrong with the process that builds a human being, and it goes right or wrong with both intellect and whatever determines physical appearance.
Another and perhaps more intriguing possibility is that the correlation is due to selective pressure in past societies. Consider a society where male status is in part dependent on intellectual ability; Imperial China would be one example, since positions in the Imperial civil service were high status and were obtained by success in competitive exams. But the same pattern could be expected in any context where individuals compete for status and success depends in part in intellect.
Further, assume that the society is polygenous—high status males are able to mate with multiple females, whether as wives, concubines, or mistresses. Men prefer attractive women, so men with unusually high intellect will be mating with women with unusually good looks, producing children with both.
There is one other possible explanation for my observation. I am attracted to smart women. Women I am attracted to appear better looking—to me—than women I am not attracted to, whether or not they actually are in some more objective sense. The phenomenon I am trying to explain may not exist; the observation may reflect characteristics of the observer, not the observed.