A profusion of studies have demonstrated that body size is a major factor in mate selection for both men and women. The particular role played by weight, however, has been subject to some debate, particularly with respect to the types of body sizes deemed most attractive, and scholars have questioned the degree to which body size preferences are constant across groups. In this paper, we drew from two perspectives on this issue, Sexual Strategies Theory and what we termed the cultural variability perspective, and used survey data to examine how body size was associated with both casual dating and serious romantic relationships. We used a United States sample of 386 African American adolescents and young adults between ages 16 and 21, living in the Midwest and Southeast, and who were enrolled in either high school or college. Results showed that overweight women were more likely to report casually dating than women in the thinnest weight category. Body size was not related to dating status among men. Among women, the results suggest stronger support for the cultural variability argument than for Sexual Strategies Theory. Potential explanations for these findings are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 14, 2015
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