Gender Differences on Mate Preferences

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This experiment was conducted to study gender differences in mate selection preference. 82 participants, aged 17-23 years and have never been married were randomly selected for the experiment in a convenience sample. Participants were given a survey- listing considerations important to people in choosing a life partner- to complete. Participants had to rate how willing they are to marry a person with a certain characteristic; each characteristic is rated individually on a 7-point scale (1=not willing, 7=willing). The mean ratings for each characteristic were calculated; mean ratings were determined individually for males and females, and as a whole. Results show that males ranked physical attraction to be more important in choosing a life partner, while females placed more importance on financial stability. Both genders equally emphasized personality and similarity. The ratings for social approval are somewhat equal, though males reported a higher need for friend approval and females, family approval.

Mate Selection Preference 2

Gender Differences in Mate Selection Preference
The New Times Los Angeles newspaper (January 29-February 4, 1998) had on page 66 what was titled as telepersonals. The sub header read: PRESENTS: “THIS WEEK’S TOP ADS”. A “woman seeking men” personal ad read “I’m a single white woman. I’m 5’7” tall, 125 lbs with honey blonde hair and brown eyes. I have a nice figure with feminine curves, a pretty face and pretty hair. I have a tall, slender, sexy look. I’m college educated, intelligent, confident and not a bad cook. (…) I’m looking for a single white man who’s 36-47 years old, professionally employed, educated, successful, charming, fit, honest and relationship-ready. (…) If you meet these qualifications, please leave a message at Box 1788. Moving right across the page, a “man seeking a woman” ad described, “I’m 6’2” tall, 185 lbs, with light brown hair and green eyes. I’m single, professionally employed as a writer, with a defiant, wild side. I’m looking for a practical, sexy, intelligent and fun lady to keep up with me on the weekends. I enjoy the finer things in life, such as travel, working out, fine dancing, dancing the night away, and I’m looking for possibly you. Box 6371.”

Given an ad under an anonymous identity and no specifications to gender, we would still be able to identify the gender of the personal ad writer with a relatively high accuracy. We are able to do this, because of some rather distinct characteristics that are emphasized by males and females. What do people look for in choosing a life partner? What differences are there in the choices of males and females? This experiment attempts to study gender differences in mate selection preference. Mate Selection Preference 3

The study of mate selection evoked interest in early biologists; Darwin (1871 as cited in Bailey J.M., Gaulin S., Agyei Y., Gladue B.A. 1994), noted that in most species, males fought for the females, and theorized that the competition played a key role in increasing reproductiveness rather than merely surviving. Darwin’s writings on sexual selection promoted a topic of interest among theorists. The study on mate selection however, was not extensively researched until the 1980’s, sparked off by the development of evolutionary psychology on human behaviour. The evolutionary standpoint on human mate selection preference was developed from Darwin’s original theory of sexual selection. Evolutionary theories (Buss & Barnes, 1996; Kenrick & Trost, 1993 as cited in Doosje B., Rojahn K.,  Fischer A. 1992) emphasize that current human mating strategies are biologically inherited and shaped by the obstacles humankind faced in early human history. Evolutionary theories predict gender differences in age preference, importance of physical attractiveness, and financial status. Females, for instance, are biologically predisposed to raise and care for the family....
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