Counterintuitive Study Of The Day

According to a new study, men prefer smart women to pretty women:

NEXT time a man throws you an admiring glance, he’s probably just heard the intelligent things you’ve been saying.

Many women will find it hard to believe, but new research suggests men increasingly value intellect and character in a partner over a shapely figure.

Apparently, traditional wifely skills such as being a good cook are also becoming less important to modern men, British scientists claim.

They say in Western societies where men and women are equal, interest in a woman’s appearance is in decline.

However, women now tend to be more interested in a man’s looks than before, and less preoccupied by their wealth as they are able to depend on themselves financially.

Dr Marcel Zentner, a psychologist at York University, said: ‘We found in societies like Britain, or especially in Scandinavia, men place increasing value on other qualities, like intelligence, rather than curvy figures or skill at cooking’.

Yea, sure. And, before long, strip clubs will be replaced by salons where men flock to watch women give lectures on nuclear physics, philosophy, and French literature.

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Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Janis Gore says:

    They want women who are smart so they can put together stuff without nagging while their men drink beer and watch football on TV.

  2. PD Shaw says:

    Women are becoming more like men?
    Men are becoming more like women?

    I blame gay marriage.

  3. Hal 10000 says:

    Oh, Jeez. Another one of these sociology studies. Here’s the key sentence:

    His team surveyed 12,000 people in more than 30 countries asking them to describe which traits they most valued in a potential partner.

    They *asked* them. They didn’t actually find out who was getting more attention or more dates or whatever. The asked them. And, surprisingly, the answers were a little bit more politically correct than what what people actually *do*.

    I call BS.

  4. James Joyner says:

    Beyond the methodological flaw @Hal 10000 points to, I’d note that “pretty” and “smart” are not mutually exclusive qualities. Indeed, my own extensive anecdotal study of the matter—something of a hobby of mine for more than three decades now—finds that smart girls tend to be pretty and dumb girls tend to be, well, less so.

    The old pop culture version of this exercise—Ginger or Mary Ann?—confirms this hypothesis. Men overwhelmingly choose Mary Ann because Ginger’s annoying while Mary Ann is not only sweet and proficient at a variety of domestic tasks but, um, pretty damned attractive.

  5. Janis Gore says:

    @James Joyner: Ummm, Sir, let me know how the girls are, hunh? Email if you want.