July 20th, 2012
An interesting piece of sociological research surfaced in both the Daily Mail and The Sun recently, analysing the romantic tastes and preferences of post-recession men. Sort of. Here’s the article in the Daily Mail, July 11th, 2012:
It’s the credit crush! British men now rank brains, wit and sophistication in women above good looks due to economic slump
High-maintenance trophy wives, physical attractiveness and TOWIE-type party girls are these days being shunned by British men in favour of women personality, wit, brains and sophistication, according to new research.
And it seems both the Duchess of Cambridge and the economic downturn are to thank for this shift.
Thanks to the former Kate Middleton’s elegance, classic style and intelligence, British men have now decided they are most attracted to smart, dark-haired women with sophisticated dress sense and a sense of humour.
Psychologists also believe that poor economic conditions have led to people becoming less materialistic, seeking partners who can provide happiness and security rather than manicured nails and good cleavage.
As you can probably imagine, this is pretty robust scientifically-sound research. Unlike a very similar article in The Sun:
Brit men prefer brains to beauty
SEVEN in ten men say they prefer personality to looks in a woman, a poll suggests.
Brit fellas would also snub TOWIE stars such as Lauren Goodger for a Kate Middleton type who is smart, with dark brown hair and a touch of bronzed skin.
Half the men asked said they were most attracted to brainy girls with a sense of humour and a sophisticated dress sense.
Oddly, then, the status of the scientific research in the Mail has been downgraded to a tawdry ‘poll’ in The Sun. So who should we believe – The Sun or The Daily Mail? There’s a real Rock/Hard Place scenario if there ever was. Still, discovering who commissioned this research may give us a clue. From The Sun:
In addition, she should be funny, sensitive and thoughtful whilst also being outgoing, the research for Lynx found.
That’s the 4th body paragraph of The Sun article, laying the source of the poll bare. The same confession doesn’t appear in the more serious-angled Daily Mail until the 16th – and penultimate – paragraph:
Kavi Tolani, brand manager at Lynx, the company which conducted the research, said: ‘We’ve always known guys have preferences for different personality types and it’s great to see this in our results.
So the ‘research’ into what type of woman men prefer is actually commissioned by teenage-boy-fragrancers Lynx. And how was this entirely legitimate research conducted? That’d be via a poll on their Facebook page, featuring the photo of a girl they’re labelling as High Maintenance, Sporty, Brainy, Flirty or Party Girl.
So, not exactly PHD-standard research. Also, as you’ll note, nothing at all to do with the economic downturn or the emergence of Kate Middleton – just a simple case of ‘click on one of these pictures of hot girls please, teenage boys!’. It’s fair to say the Mail’s interpretation and extrapolation of the results into a socio-economic commentary is something of a stretch.