A sociocultural framework for understanding partner preferences of women and men: Integration of concepts and evidence

Marcel Zentner*, Alice H. Eagly

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations

Abstract

In the current sociocultural framework for understanding mating preferences, we propose that gender roles affect sex differences and similarities in mate preferences. Gender roles, in turn, are shaped by the unequal division of labour between women and men. As a consequence, mating preferences and choices should converge across the sexes as the weakening of this division puts the sexes in more similar social roles in their societies. To evaluate these assumptions, we review relevant findings from three domains that show variability in gender roles: (a) cross-cultural variability related to differences in societies’ division of labour, (b) historical variability related to temporal changes in the division of labour, and (c) individual variability in gender attitudes that reflects the gradual and uneven spread of shifts toward gender equality throughout each society. The bringing together of multiple lines of evidence puts the sociocultural framework on a new and more secure foundation.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)328-373
Number of pages46
JournalEuropean Review of Social Psychology
Volume26
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015

Keywords

  • Gender equality
  • Mate preferences
  • Sex differences
  • Social role theory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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