modern mate selection - are the textbooks out of date ?

I keep reading in books on evolution that women rank money highly and men are basically just interested in looks.

This seems out of date in our modern world where women go out to work.

Many of my male friends talk about a womens job and things and tonight on the way home from the sports centre I noticed 3 women in sports cars but no men.

Why are they showing off if men really only care about looks ?

Any ideas ?

Perhaps the women are gay? Or maybe they are not showing off but enjoying life? Those books do seem out of date. When were they published?

Evolution doesn’t get overturned in a few generations. If the books were originally right 40 years ago, they are still right now.

The real question is whether the books were right in the first place. And that, I don’t know - though the distinction in mate selection by sex appears to hold true in at least some other species.


What leads you to the conclusion that women driving sports cars is not an attempt to look good? One could view it as a logical extension to makeup. If you assume that makeup is intended to attract the attention of men, then doesn’t a sports car serve a simlilar purpose?

Women look for power, not money necessarily. That, of course is a broad generalization but it also is not going to change any time soon. Power can be many different things and more so to different women. It can be money, political power, intelligence, physical strength, etc.

Plenty of men are happily married to women who are less “powerful” (in the broadest of meanings) but rarely do you see a woman who has selected a mate to whom she considers herself superior. Extremely rare I would say.

That is the way things are and culture is not going to change that any time soon.

so obvious but not

i bow to your big brain !

At this point, I’d like to point out one of my favorite webpages on evolutionary psychology:

Be warned, though, that the above page has animated penis GIFs in it.

But it’s not a logical extension of looking good. Wearing makeup has the purpose of making a woman’s body, ie, that with which a potential mate may actually mate, look good. Driving a sports car merely demonstrates that the woman can acquire expensive possessions. Unlike clothing or makeup which enhance femine physical features, a sports car actually obscures a male’s view of a significant portion of the female form while she is sitting in it.

This was exactly dude’s question. If we accept the premises that the women were showing off in the sports car to attract men, and that men are primarily attracted to a woman’s physical appearance, then it is something of a mystery how the sports car serves the purpose of attracting a mate. As far as I know, no culture’s ideallization of the female form has ever included a sports-car-shaped protrudence attached to the butt.

My guess is that men will be attracted to the women in the sports car because men do find a woman of means attractive. While men may, in general, place more emphasis than women on the physical appearance of a potential mate, they are also interested in the resources to which a woman has access, because mating with this woman may grant them access to these resources.

Not that I feel that my guess is firmly established by the evidence (else I wouldn’t call it a guess). Another explanation might be that the women want to appear “foot-loose and fancy-free”, which might make men believe that they are more accessible. Perhaps this will effectively attract the men they seek.

By “mating”, do you mean “fucking” or “marrying”?

I would assume we are under the pretext of fucking, and that marrying is just the societal context in which one tends to operate.

LOL. It’s a good thing you have the phrase “idealization of the female form” in your sentence, because otherwise I might have to protest… I have seen things in Spandex that frightenly resembled a “sports-car-shaped protrudence.”

I like this explanation. The sports car functioning as the human version of big antlers (virility and ability) is really a male phenomenon.

In support of your evolution books: much as I hate to admit their existence in my gender, I have time and time again met “maintenance” women who really don’t want to work, use all their looks and wiles to get a guy with lots of money, and really just want to be looked after. These include educated, intelligent women even in good jobs. Some sort of biological imperative is still overriding emancipation in some cases.

If a woman wants to be a stay-at-home-mother to raise her kids in their formative years, I have no problem with that. It is a natural and positive desire.

But to my mind a woman that just wants a nice lifestyle, and will be a “trophy” type for some rich guy, do no work, nothing of value, spend all day in beauty salons and being a manipulative greedy lazy designer-clad label whore bitch, to my mind this selfish lazy specimen is a perversion of the stay-at-home/traditional-womans-role instinct.

Just as appalling are the men that fall for such women, and spend their hard-earned cash on them. Including buying them zippy little designer sports cars. So in some cases, these cars may be an extension of the guy’s ego.

However if the woman has earned her car herself, with a job or whatever, and likes it because it looks good, drives fast and gives her an exciting ride, go sister!

It seems to me that not everything a woman does to “look good” is to attract a mate. I know numorous women who continue to feel the need to dye their hair, wear makeup, dress up despite their mates not caring.

I believe that they are not JUST looking for a mate, but showing up OTHER women. As such, a car could be an extention of that.

This is pretty close to my take on it, but you have to pay attention to your premises. It is, IMO, true that the woman is driving the zippy little red convertible in order to get attention and appear attractive, but attractive has a specific meaning when you’re talking about evolutionary psychology.
At its most basic, a male is attracted to a female who can bear and raise his offspring, and this requires that the female be healthy. From a purely physical standpoint, this can be shown by wider hips and large breasts, which show that she isn’t wasting away, and will be able to provide food for the child. She should also have healthy skin, rosy cheeks and bright eyes, hence makeup.
In modern society, this has been extended to lifestyle choices which make the woman appear healthy, thus the car. She’s showing that she’s flashy and energetic. If she’s got the gusto to zip around town with the top down, hey, she’s probably got the oomph to raise my pups, too.

I think this thread shows the futility of pop-sociobiology.

med student, and in a class which is 60% female.

i can tell you that most of the guys are looking forward to working in hospitals to meet the cute nurses, and most of the girls are looking forward to working in hospitals to meet the cute consultants.

i don’t think THAT much has changed!

I don’t know if I can provide a cite for this, but I’m quite certain that, several years ago, I saw a magazine article which featured a survey taken of female students at Harvard Medical School.

Can we all agree that harvard Medical School is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world? Can we agree that a woman with a degree from Harvard Medical School stands to make a LOT of money? That she’ll never need a man to support her? Good, glad we agree.

The kicker: the survey showed that something like 75% of the women at Harvard Medical School said it was either “important” or “extremely important” that the men they’d marry would make more money than they did.

What can we conclude from this? Nothing with certainty… but it DOES indicate that, even though the world has changed greatly, women’s attitudes HAVEN’T necessarily changed much. Even ambitious, successful women who don’t NEED rich men to support them seem to want such rich men anyway.

More support for snobby Harvard types? :wink:

You guys have got it all wrong.

Women don’t wear makeup and drive sports cars to impress men, they wear makeup and drive sports cars to impress other women.

Women don’t attract men, they choose men. They try to appear attractive in order to scare off other women. They seek the most powerful men because it makes them powerful by extension, among women.

Notice the obvious:

a) most of the things women do to make themselves attractive are completely lost on 95% of men, but are easily recognized by 95% of women.

b) men could be attracted with far less effort: Short skirt, lowcut top, and lipstick would probably do it for 95% of men. Where do fashion, hair styling, and 56 pairs of shoes come into this? By the way, the main reason women wear short skirts, lowcut tops, and lipstick, is so that they can accessorize with drooling men. Ooh, this one matches my earrings!

jawdirk, I have found that not even the short skirt, low cut top, or lipstick is necessary.

All it seems to take to attract at least one heterosexual male at any time is to be there and possess breasts.

Effort beyond that seems, to me, to be more for the other women than it is for the men. Intimidation factor is my impression. It’s a message from chick to chick to ‘give it up, I’m obviously a better mate than you are.’

Make up, panty hose, wonder bras, it doesn’t seem to matter to the men as much as it does to the women.