Women are attracted to power and wealth, as this means good protectors and providers for offspring. Men are attracted to beauty as it is a sign of health and fertility, leading to off spring. You can consider these facts to be sexist, but there’s biological hard-wiring behind them ~ and science to back it up.
If you’ve been wondering just how this impacts dating, including online dating, there’s a study for that too. And this new study, published in the Archives of Sexual Behavior, also backs up the biological facts we’d often like to dismiss as superficial and sexist.
Evolutionary theorists have long argued that men and women look for different things when choosing a long-term partner because they face different reproductive costs. The basic argument is that men tend to look for women who are healthy and fertile, while women tend to look for men who can provide. As a result, men tend to be a little more focused on looks and women on status and wealth.
The researchers therefore predicted that online personal ads placed by women would receive more replies to the extent that they emphasized physical attractiveness. Likewise, they expected ads placed by men to receive more replies if they focused on professional success.
The researchers correctly predicted the study’s findings:
As expected, the women presented as thin and attractive received significantly more replies from male suitors than women who were described any other way.
Women presented as successful and ambitious received the second highest number of replies. Their response rate was significantly higher than the sensual/passionate and generic ads, which were essentially tied for last. Thus, both good looks and success increased the likelihood of a woman getting a reply.
What about the guys?
As expected, men who were described as successful received the vast majority of all responses, with the remainder being split about evenly between the attractive, hopelessly romantic and generic ads. Among men, success was the only trait linked to an increased likelihood of getting responses from women.
…These results tell us that men and women seem to respond to different things online, with ads emphasizing women’s looks and men’s accomplishments being the most successful.
Image Credits: Scene from Gold Diggers Of 1933.