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Looks Do Matter

Daniel Akst has a fascinating piece on how much, and how, Looks do matter. The best observation:

Although looks in mating still matter much more to men than to women, the importance of appearance appears to be rising on both sides of the gender divide.

In a fascinating cross-generational study of mating preferences, every 10 years different groups of men and women were asked to rank 18 characteristics they might want enhanced in a mate.

 The importance of good looks rose “dramatically” for both men and women from 1939 to 1989, the period of the study, according to David M. Buss, an evolutionary psychologist at the University of Texas.

 On a scale of 1 to 3, the importance men gave to good looks rose from 1.50 to 2.11. But for women, the importance of good looks in men rose from 0.94 to 1.67.

In other words, women in 1989 considered a man’s looks even more important than men considered women’s looks 50 years earlier.

Since the 1930s, Buss writes, “physical appearance has gone up in importance for men and women about equally, corresponding with the rise in television, fashion magazines, advertising, and other media depictions of attractive models.”

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