Human Sexuality Gender Differences Essay, Research Paper
The following research is a study of gender differences in selecting romantic partners. The goal of the study was to determine if males and females place different values on characteristics of the opposite sex, while selecting a romantic partner. To research this situation, surveys were distributed at random to both males and females. The survey asked these people to rank features they felt influenced their decision in selecting romantic partners. Through analysis of the surveys, it has discovered that men and women are more similar then expected. On average, both men and women responded that they put more weight in personality traits then they do in physical traits.
From person to person, one thing that seems to differ the most is values. Where one person may put a great deal of importance, another might not put any. Such is the case in which people choose romantic partners. An attribute one person may find very attractive or important, another might not be interested in at all. Do values differ between sexes? Many people would say yes, while others may refute this. The issue that this study is concerned with is whether males assign greater weight to physical attributes in selecting romantic partners, while females assign greater weight to personality features.
An article in the Journal of College Student Development reported that research found that African American men favored physical characteristics, while African American women favored “Social stratification variables”. Research published in the journal, Personality and Individual Differences showed that men reported to find themselves attracted to physical traits, while women found themselves drawn to commitment and intimacy. An article in the journal of Evolution and Human Behavior, women reported to use non-physical traits to form a pool of potential partners. Another article published by the same journal reported that characteristics at which males and females use to judge potential partners depend on how long the relationship is intended to last. Criteria used for a short-term relationship may differ from that of a long-term relationship.
Based on prior research, the research conducted in this study hopes to prove the hypothesis that males place greater weight in physical characteristics while females place more weight in personality. It is believed that the major force that attracts a male to a romantic partner is their physical appearance, while females focus on areas such as cleanliness and ambition. The goal of understanding this relationship is to improve communication. By understanding what drives each sex to choose a romantic partner, communication between the sexes can be improved. Improved communication leads to a more open forum and healthier relationships between the sexes.
The sole source of information for this study was collected through the use of a survey. The survey was created specifically for this study and the questions were developed to be unbiased to sex and attractive. The survey listed 25 traits of both physical and non-physical nature. Participants in the survey were then asked to rank the characteristics in terms on importance on a Likert scale of 1 to 5. 5 being very important and 1 being not important at all. The objective of having people rank these traits was to important and which traits they found unattractive or unimportant. Athletic body, sense of humor, financial status, physically active, independence, and trustworthy are examples of traits that participants were asked to rank. The surveys were calculated by adding together all the scores that a person assigned to each appearance trait. The same was done for the personality traits. This created, for each participant, a personality score and an appearance score. By calculating the rankings assigned to each trait, it could be determined if a person favored physical traits over non-physical traits, or visa-versa. The survey also requested the participants age, sex, and sexual preference. The survey was handed out randomly to people in Syracuse University dorms, dining halls and lecture halls. 19 females and 25 males participated in the study. Their ages ranged from 17 years old to 24 years old, with the average female being 18.2 years old and the average male being 18.9 years old.
Contrary to the hypothesis, the results of the survey showed that males and females answered the survey questions very similarly. Both males and females favor personality traits over appearance traits. For the personality traits, females averaged a score of 47.37 out of a possible 77, and males averaged a score of 47.68 out of a possible 77. The highest score a female assigned to personality traits was a 57. The minimum score that they assigned was a 38. The maximum score a male assigned to personality traits was 60, and the minimum score assigned was a 39. For the appearance traits, females averaged a score of 40.63 out of a possible 70, and males averaged a score of 38.38 out of a possible 70. The maximum score a female assigned to appearance traits was 59, the minimum score was a 22. The maximum score a male assigned to appearance traits was a 60. The minimum score they assigned to appearance traits was a 26. Included in the 19 females and 25 males sampled, there were four people who responded that their sexual preference was not heterosexual. This group included one bi-sexual female, one gay female, one transvestite female, and one bi-sexual male. The bi-sexual female assigned a score of 51 to the personality traits and a score of 38 to the appearance traits. The gay female assigned a score of 47 to the personality traits and a score of 42 to the appearance traits. The transvestite female assigned a score of 58 to the personality traits and a score of 47 to the appearance traits. The bi-sexual male assigned a score of 50 to the personality traits and a score of 47 to the appearance traits.
The results of the survey clearly show that the research done does not support the original hypothesis. Originally it was expected that males would place greater weight on appearance while females would place greater weight on personality. The results of the survey show that this is false. The survey shows that males and females put almost identical weight in personality traits (47.68, 47.37 respectively). The survey also shows that females put slightly more importance on appearance then males do (40.63, 38.38 respectively). These results show that the original hypothesis is unfound. The results found in this study seem to refute the popular belief that males favor appearance. These results are different from those of prior studies. Based on those studies, the original hypothesis is correct, but research here shows that to be false.
This study does however have a few problems that may lead to the results being inaccurate. One of the most obvious problems of the survey is the low number of people that it was given to. The 19 females and 25 males add up to only 44 people, too few to get an accurate random sample. With a sample size this small, there is only a 15% chance that the information is 95% accurate (O’Sullivan 147). In a sample of this size, one person who answers far differently from the others has the ability to alter the averages greatly. Another issue that needs to be addressed is age. The age range of the survey’s participants was 17 to 24 years of age. This range is significantly smaller the age range of people relevant to this study. The survey ignores all people younger and older then this range who may have a different opinion then these college aged people.
The results of this survey show that perhaps people are spending too much time working on improving their appearance. People spend millions of dollars a year on products and procedures to alter their appearance, to make themselves more attractive. Research shows that people care more about personality traits then they do about appearance. Both men and women feel that honesty, cleanliness, and ambition are more important then how a person looks. To become a more attractive romantic partner, research shows that it is more profitable to work on becoming more attractive personally than physically.
I thought that these articles would be a good way to express the things I learned in class. You are always saying that the object of this class was to learn how to “actually learn how to truly love someone.”