Attraction & the 3rd Shift

[We have socially redefined what the biologically predisposed markers of attraction are.]

Financially Attractive

Research generally finds that financial prospects and status in a long-term mate are a higher priority for women than for men (Buss, 1989, Buss, 2016; Buss & Schmitt, 2019; Fales et al., 2016; Walter et al., 2020; Wang et al., 2018; Williams & Sulikowski, 2020).

Academically Attractive — Michael M. Kasumovic et al., 2021

“Performance in a university course can affect how an individual perceives their own self-worth (Crocker et al., 2003); especially since grades are an objective marker of performance & placement within a hierarchy.”

Height — Valentova et al., 2016

A study focusing on relative body height showed that heterosexual individuals prefer a man to be taller than a woman, while non-heterosexual individuals prefer partners of similar height (Valentova, Bártová, et al., 2016).

Anderson & Escobar, 2022

“Men rated women as more desirable than women rated men, consistent with a considerable amount of literature which suggests that men are generally more romantically interested in women than women are in men (Buss & Schmitt, 1993; Schmitt, 2003)” (Anderson & Escobar, 2022)

Attractiveness (Bradshaw & DelPriore, 2021)

[Assume Direct Quotes]

3rd Shift

Jennifer Haskin, 2015

“According to 2014 U.S. Department of Labor employment statistics, “57% of women participate in the labor force,” over 64% of whom are mothers with children under the age of 6” (Jennifer Haskin, 2015).

Makeup (Toledano, 2013)

Makeup application tends to mimic our biological predilections

Cosmetics Influence Perceived Status

The status effects of cosmetics differed based on whether the raters were male or female (Mileva et al., 2016). That is, female raters evaluated women wearing cosmetics (vs. barefaced) as having more dominance, while male raters evaluated the same targets as having more prestige. These findings mirror previous work on the status benefits of women’s attractiveness, illustrating that women’s appearance enhancement may similarly allow them to exert authority over same-sex peers and garner favor from [opposite-sex peers.]

Skirts & Nightclubs

(Salter et al., 2005)

For women, the shorter her skirt, the more skin she showed, the faster doormen approached her to help her enter the nightclub.

Shockingly, the bouncer seemed less interested in males who wore revealing clothing compared to when it was a woman.

Determining why the dudes guarding the nightclub’s entrance had such a difference in behavior towards males compared to females requires further research.

All male groups were more likely to be refused entry than were all-female groups.

Thin Ideal — Whitney Stefani, 2019

Women are expected to tend to their appearance and make themselves aesthetically pleasing (England et al., 2011). Attractiveness is indeed a particularly salient issue for women. Women report body dissatisfaction at higher rates than men (Fallon et al., 2014; Grogan, 2016) and experience significant pressure to be attractive (Stuart & Donaghue, 2011). Appearance investment, or one’s preoccupation with their appearance, is greater for women than for men (Cash & Labarge, 2011). Appearance investment is also associated with body dissatisfaction, internalization of societal beauty standards, and more frequent negative affect related to their appearance (Cash & Labarge, 2011). Societal standards for male beauty do exist (Law, & Labre, 2002) and do impact men’s lives (Schuster et al., 2013).


Bias, stereotyping, and discrimination based on physical attractiveness has been conceptualized as “lookism” or “beautyism” by a growing body of research (Sims, 2017; Saiki et al., 2017). The present study uses the term “beautyism” because this term appears more intuitive than “lookism.” Beautyism is generally conceptualized as conferring privilege to more attractive people (Rhodes, 2010).

The Pinup Model & Feminine Sexuality

— (Jeannette Mageo, 2022)

The Pinup is an American model for being a perfect sexual image that fits another’s or one’s own romantic-sexual imaginings. I use this archaic term to trace this model’s early to mid-20th century roots in movies and pinup posters of [the era’s] female stars. During World War II, Pinup posters wallpapered barracks; after the war, boys began to pin them up inside lockers or on walls (Buszek, 2006). This model took center stage in comic books, in films featuring “vamps,” and in magazines at supermarket checkout stands. Later this model thrived in music videos where beautiful scantily clad young women posed, sang, or danced. It remains core to American visual culture, to the contemporary rating of female bodies, and to campus “hookup culture” (Bogle, 2008). Social media were wed to the Pinup model from their inception. Facebook, for instance, begins with Mark Zuckerberg posting pictures of female college students to compare their “hotness” (Mezrich, 2009; Sorkin, 2010).

Higher IQ & Income Increases Romantic Interest — Jonason & Thomas, 2022

“Evolutionary and sociocultural researchers agree that variation in local contextual factors can affect the magnitude and direction of sex differences in mating psychology (Eagly & Wood, 1999; Schmitt et al., 2017).

Resource-acquisition ability enhanced the attention of men’s more than women’s profiles [the increase was almost 2.5 times stronger in men than in women], [and] the effect of resource-acquisition ability was reduced in countries that were richer (GNI) and had more women of reproductive age than men (OSR), which was slightly enlarged in countries with greater gender equality (GDI).

[This finding is associated with the reality that,] according to UNICEF, raising a child from birth to 17 years of age costs between US$900/year in developing countries and US$16,200/year in developed countries” (Higher IQ & income Increases Romantic Interest — Jonason & Thomas, 2022).

Jonason, P. K., & Thomas, A. G. (2022). Being More Educated and Earning More Increases Romantic Interest: Data from 1.8 M Online Daters from 24 Nations. Human Nature, 1–17.


The status benefits/gains experienced by dark skinned minority’s acquisition of an light-skinned partner are the result of hegemonic anglicized ideals of beauty (Chou 2012; Collins 2004; Roberts 1997). The cultural internalization of White hierarchies of desirability within Asian (Pyke 2010; Rondilla and Spickard 2007), Black (Hunter 2005), & Hispanic (Hunter 2002, 2007; Villarreal 2010) communities is well documented across disciplines.

Social Attraction — Danya Brewer, 2019

Interracial Dating

In 1958, only 4% of individuals approved of an interracial relationship. By 1983, 50% were accepting of these affairs (Carroll, 2007). The acceptance continues to increase into the twenty first century. In 2007, 77% of Americans were approving an interracial relationship. Nonetheless, 70% of the population still disapproved of the interaction despite being nearly 40 years after the Civil Rights movements (Carroll, 2007).

Emetu et al., 2022 — Lesbians’ preference for Lesbians & Health

“Educational resources surrounding adequate sexual health [for lesbians/ bisexual women] is limited, which contributes to misconceptions and stereotypes (Gorgos & Marrazzo, 2011, 2017).

Physiognomic Homogamy — Alyssa Altieri & Duane Lundy, 2021

Physiognomic homogamy constitutes the cross-section between physical attractiveness and homogamy. Homogamy, which will be more thoroughly depicted within the paper, encompasses each trait shared by both partners that determines the success rate of a relationship throughout all stages. Physical attractiveness is one of these traits — it is the scale on which we dictate the level of aesthetic pleasantness associated with the physical features of us and those around us (i.e., physical beauty).



Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store
Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

Dr. Jarryd Willis PhD

I'm passionate about making a tangible difference in the lives of others, & that's something I have the opportunity to do a professor & researcher.