While looking for a potential partner, women are likely to choose men who are physically attractive, no matter how respectful, friendly, ambitious or intelligent the others may be, a study has shown.
“This may signal that unattractiveness is less acceptable to women than to their mothers,” said Madeleine Fugere of the Eastern Connecticut State University in the US.
The findings revealed that mothers are not quite as picky though, and will choose a man who is only reasonably attractive for their daughters.
In the study, published in the journal Evolutionary Psychological Science, mothers rated all men, even the least attractive ones, as potentially desirable partners for their daughters.
Daughters, on the other hand, were found to be fussier than their parents. They prefer an attractive man, irrespective of his personality traits.
“It might also mean that women and their mothers may have different notions of what constitutes a minimally acceptable level of physical attractiveness, with mothers employing a less stringent standard than their daughters,” said Fugere.
Further, though women and their parents always rate traits like respectfulness and friendliness as more important than physical attractiveness, yet they assume that the potential mates at least meet a minimally acceptable standard of physical attractiveness, the researchers said.
“However, when a range of attractiveness levels is presented, physical attractiveness takes priority over other characteristics,” Fugere explained.
In the study, men with the most desirable personality profiles were rated more favourably than their counterparts only when they were also at least moderately attractive.
Even when unattractive men possessed the most desirable traits, the mothers and daughters did not view them as potential dating material, the researchers said.
“We conclude that a minimum level of physical attractiveness is a necessity for both women and their mothers,” Fugere stated.