There is no denying it. Swedish girls are gorgeous. They are what happens when Vikings have an amazing taste in women for hundreds of years. The Swedish blonde look is one of the coolest things about the country.
No offence to castles, and beautiful beaches, and the Northern Lights. But what exactly makes that stunning Swedish blonde look?
Let’s take a little journey in history, genetics, and what is beautiful in the first place!
How Does the Typical Swede Look?
Swedish girls top most attractive polls all around the Internet but what you see online is not always the reality of Sweden.
Yes, they are thin and tall, most of them over 5’5. In fact, the national average for height is ~5.6 inches for women.
In the U.S. an average girl is 5 ft 4 inches tall. This might not seem like a lot, but statistically speaking it is. No wonder so many runway models come from Sweden.
The surprise comes when you notice how many brunettes there are in Sweden. The Internet has us believe that all Swedes are light-haired…not exactly the case.
The Swedish blonde look is still very common but not as widespread as you would expect. Finally, in recent years Sweden has been struggling with increasing obesity. While most of the Swedish women are still quite thin, they have been getting “curvier”.
The Swedish Blonde: Genetics
A.k.a. the section, in which we finally talk about Vikings. For Sweden, the Viking Era lasted between the 8th and the 11th centuries. During this time the entirety of what we know as Sweden was populated.
Swedes travelled East and South, to Russia, the Baltics, Finland, Belarus, Ukraine and the Black Sea. They reached as far as Baghdad, passing through Constantinople.
10th-century Arab traveller, Ahmad ibn Fadlan described them this way (here ‘the Rus’ refers to Swedish Vikings):
I have seen the Rus as they came on their merchant journeys and encamped by the Itil. I have never seen more perfect physical specimens, tall as date palms, blond and ruddy;
Swedes were hotties even during the Middle Ages. The tall Swedish blonde look dates back to those times. It is no secret that Vikings were not simply merchants. They would attack and ravage towns and claim the most beautiful women (as any good barbarian would).
Obviously, that improved the gene pool in the Swedish population. More ‘pretty’ genes entered. Hence, today’s Swedish blonde look.
The Thing About Vikings And Their Women
Movies and TV shows are almost never an accurate representation of what Vikings were like. When it comes to concepts like love, beauty, and sweet lovemaking, ancient Swedes saw the world a bit different than what you’d think.
For instance, Vikings did not make a distinction between male and female beauty. Men would often dress in bright colors and wear intricate jewelry just as women did.
Fun fact: You can check out 100 great Viking names here – perfect for your son or daughter!
In fact, Swedish guys were probably as much of chick magnets in the Middle Ages as they are today because an English cleric once accused them of:
undermining the virtue of married women and even seducing the daughters of nobles to be their mistresses
Of course, for men, it was about physical strength as well as not being facially challenged. The beauty standard for women would include:
- Very long blonde hair. Length was key, and if a women were to be punished for adultery, they cut off her hair.
- Fair complexion.
- Being on the curvier side.
Funnily enough, shiny long locks and pale skin were also what a good-looking man was for the Vikings. And although they did ravage and claim women, they were also a bit of closet romantics.
The word for desire, for instance, comes from the root words “love” (mun) and “thought/memory/mind” (hugr). Marriage was the norm in Viking culture and it happened at a much younger age. Girls would marry as young as twelve and then spend their lives as housewives.
Personal life was probably exciting, but this barbaric bunch was surprisingly shy about it. They never directly spoke of it and had just as many euphemisms as we do today.
Also, Viking women had a lot more rights than other European women of the time. They could even divorce their husbands if they failed to perform in bed or if they were gay/transgender. That is pretty progressive for the 10th century.
How Viking Women Relate To Swedish Girls Today
Other than giving them their awesome genes, that is. Well, for one, Viking women set the foot for female independence. It would be a little too much to say that these medieval ladies were independent themselves.
But then again, maybe their no-BS personality is also a part of Swedish women’s appeal. Girls of Sweden are self-sufficient and unbothered with other’s opinions.
A lot of their fashion is androgynous or focused on comfort. Puffer jackets, oversized sweaters, and no-fuss hairstyles like the messy bun (or recently, the side shave) all the way.
To some guys, the Swedish blonde look is a lot like the Slavic look but Swedish girls are nothing like Russians or Ukrainians in personality and style.
Arbitrary And Non-Arbitrary Beauty Standards
Still, for the most part, beauty standards are arbitrary. The Viking’s taste in women just happens to be similar to ours.
Or maybe not even that because there are plenty of dudes who prefer brown women or Asian women to tall white chicks. I am assuming you are not one of them since you ended up on an article about Swedish blonde girls. But this is a reminder that everyone has a type.
Here is the thing:
While the preference for certain skin colour or body type is entirely personal, attraction to youth and health is not. We have a multi-million dollar anti-ageing cosmetics industry to prove that.
On a biological level, we are designed to prefer partners that could give us healthy children. Obviously, young and healthy girls are more likely to do that.
How The Swedish Blonde Look Fits Our Evolutionary Preference
Darwinian aesthetics include things like symmetry, feminine face features like big eyes and fuller lips (which are ‘estrogen markers’), smooth, blemish-free skin, and… averageness.
Yes, being average is, in fact, an evolutionary advantage. If a group of girls look significantly similar, what your brain sees is genes that have had a long, long time to mix.
That sort of out-breeding is related to better immunity as genetic resistance to disease has built up in the generations. It is the science behind the cheerleader effect.
When you think about a group of Swedish blonde girls, they fit those four criteria perfectly. They are similar-looking, their skin is remarkably clean, huge blue eyes are pretty much the norm, and the symmetry of their faces is pretty ideal.
Even Swedish girls’ blonde hair has an evolutionary explanation. Less pigment in the skin and hair allows for more ultraviolet B rays to enter and they are crucial to vitamin D production.
Sweden is pretty far up North. They need to take advantage of every last ray of sunshine they get. Natural selection gave you today’s Swedish blonde look.
Back to History, This Time No Vikings
Let’s go way back to the Paleolithic era. In the lands of modern-day Sweden, food was scarce and the weather conditions were brutal. Men had to go on long, perilous hunting trips if they stood any chance of survival.
Sadly, those exact perilous hunting trips were what killed a lot of males. Numbers of females almost surely exceeded those of males.
The theory goes that there was very brutal rivalry among females. Since blonde locks were a sign of better health (because of the vitamin D thing), males would usually choose these gals and their genes were the ones that stuck.
On top of that, blonde hair is also a sign of youth. As you grow older, your hair eventually becomes darker with few older women still having the golden locks of their younger years.
Young women are more likely to successfully bear children so we prefer them, and our Paleolithic ancestors were the same.
There are numerous factors that shaped the way Swedes look today. Genetics are at the core, of course, and evolution is what influenced genetics.
So while you can thank our good friends the Vikings for some of the Swedish blonde look, remember to also pay your respects to Mr. Darwin and evolution.