It is a well-known fact that men place a great deal of value on how a woman looks, while women focus on how much money a potential mate earns. Men who have high incomes and beautiful women are more likely to secure second dates. This is a substantial gap in values that needs to be bridged.
What Men Want
A quick perusal of dating discussion forums reveals the major emphasis men put on appearance and how women do not appreciate it. As an example, a common thread is handling a date who appears heavier in person than she did in her photos. Most posts on this topic from men are very clear on the issue. If a women posted pictures that made her look more attractive than she is in reality, it is considered a form of "false advertising," and there is no chance of a relationship at all.
In the end, men want a physically appealing mate. They also want honesty.
What Women Want
Women look at dating and assessing a potential mate differently. They do not see an old photo as being misleading, but they do think that men's high standards of beauty are unfair. Women want to be valued for the beauty they carry within and want men to look past the exterior to find it. They feel they are pressured by both men and society as a whole to be sexy and very thin, and to uphold impossible standards set by celebrities and other wealthy women who have a great deal of money and time to spend on their appearance.
The comments from women imply that they do not judge their dates by rigid standards but focus more on valuable inner traits without being shallow. This is not actually true. Women are no different than the men they are criticizing.
Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, conducted a study that examined the values that are most important to each gender. The male participants were quick to say they want a mate who is attractive. When women were asked if they wanted traits such as affection, great communication skills or kindness, they said they wanted a mate who earned a lot of money.
The bottom line is that most women in the dating pool are attracted to men with high earning power. The irony is that women will openly criticize men as being superficial for judging their female dates on their looks because they do not value that trait, but the fact they do judge men on their earning ability makes them equally as superficial.
Men have become more aware of this tendency by women and have created forum topics that ask where all the women are who are not looking for earning power and general wealth, which addresses the other part of the issue.
It seems that these basic preferences in men and women are both primitive and deeply tied to biological needs, despite being independent from other factors, both socially and economically.
-Do men prefer highly attractive women because a larger breast size or a symmetrical face triggers the primitive areas of their brains into thinking "fertility" and "good health?"
-Do women want men with high earning ability because the primitive parts of their brains translate that into "good life" and "support of children?"
Both of these questions are very important even though there is still no clear answer. It is important to note that neither gender is thinking about these things consciously. A retired women in her mid-60s is not looking for someone who can support her children. She is responding to her brain's biological programming, which gives the same results as it would to a younger woman. Another irony uncovered by the study from Northwestern University is that when the primary attractions of earning potential and physical beauty are set aside, the real-life choices of both genders reveal they actually place a high value on both of these traits.
While having good looks stimulated attraction for both women and men, an ambitious individual with good earning potential was valued highly as well, said Northwestern University professor Eli Finkel. In addition, the ability to earn money and having good looks, did not differ between women and men. Ultimately, each gender places value on the very things it criticizes the other gender for emphasizing.