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Past research has identified these factors as important predictors of marital partner choice or body type preferences.Although our focus is on racial–ethnic and gender differences, we also consider the influence of other factors that have typically been studied in conjunction with mate selection including age, level of education and geographic region (see Kalmijn for a comprehensive review of intermediaries in marriage trends).Further, if a dater skips a question about his or her dating preferences, the answer is automatically set to “no preference.” As such, controlling for selectivity will mediate the effects of having daters who did not put much effort into filling out their profiles or who do not wish to specify their preferences.Among our sample there are significant racial–ethnic differences with regard to own body type so it is particularly important to control for a dater’s own body type.
While not the focus of their college student speed daters study, Kurzban and Weeden , p.626) find men significantly more likely than women to “express a desire for specific body types, typically for thinner bodies over heavier ones.”While both men and women are held to standards of attractiveness and body ideals, these remain much more demanding for women than for men (Bordo ).
The second model examines the main effects of race–ethnicity and gender while adding controls for how selective a dater is overall as well as a dater’s own age, own level of education, region of the country, own body type and racial–ethnic preference for dates.
We use logistic regression analyses to test this hypothesis because this method allows us to examine the main effects of gender and race–ethnicity on body type preferences while also controlling for potential racial–ethnic group differences, such as daters’ own body type, level of education, and racial–ethnic preference for dates.
It is the first to systematically test the extent to which African-American, Asian, Latino, and white men and women of different ages, and in an actual dating context, may similarly prefer dominant portrayals of ideal bodies; that is thin women and muscular men, in dating preferences.
By investigating internet daters’ body type preferences, this study examines the importance of race–ethnicity and gender in determining the extent and type of body type preferences that may or may not adhere to culturally prescribed standards of beauty in date selection.