Mating Strategies of Young Women: Role of Physical Attractiveness

  • Singh D
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The female physical attractiveness stereotype has been reported to contain both desirable (sociable, poised, interesting) and undesirable (snobbish, likely to request divorce and have extra-marital affairs) personal qualities. To investigate whether such an attractiveness stereotype is cross-cultural, I asked men and women from Azore Island, Guinea-Bissau, Indonesia, and the U.S. to judge the attractiveness of female figures differing in body weight and waist-to-hip ratio (WHR) and to rank these figures according to perceived personal attributes. There was a strong cross-cultural consensus for attractiveness; figures with low WHR were judged to be more attractive than figures with high WHR within each weight category. Participants also judged attractive figures as less faithful than less-attractive figures. To explore the basis of a possible "darker side" of the attractiveness stereotype, behavior tactics of young U.S. women were examined. Compared to women with high WHRs, low-WHR women reported engaging in more flirting to make dates jealous, suggesting some truth to the attractiveness stereotype. Taken together, these findings suggest that female attractiveness influences the type of mating strategies employed by women.

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  • Devendra Singh

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