WSJ - Mar 10 - OkCupid asks male and female users to rate the attractiveness of members of the opposite sex on a six-point scale, in which 0 is the least attractive and 5 is the most. The light line in the nearby chart shows the distribution of female attractiveness as rated by men. As you can see, it is close to a normal distribution--call it the belle curve. That is, the average woman's looks are "medium," or 2.5. Male beauty turns out to be distributed quite abnormally. Women rate an incredible 80% of guys as worse-looking than medium. One possibility is that women are simply pleasanter to look at than men. The OkCupid ratings measure how men see women and how women see men.The heavy lines in the two charts measure the behavior of the rating sex. When it comes to actual messaging, women shift their expectations only just slightly ahead of the curve, which is a healthier pattern than guys' pursuing the all-but-unattainable. And what the divergence between the charts really shows is that looks matter far less to women than to men. That women remain interested in men at all, despite finding most of us aesthetically repugnant, suggests that the attraction has some other basis. It is men's looks that are socially constructed, while female beauty is a force of nature.
by James Taranto
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