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It is a popular belief that being physically attractive is of greater importance for women than for men in todays society particularly in attracting the opposite sex Several studies have found support for this difference in the context of dating and mate selection In an early study Strauss 1946 asked what traits would be most critical in a marriage partner and found that males rated physical attractiveness significantly higher than females did Coombs and Kenkel 1966 asked a similar question about potential dating partners and found a similar gender difference Harrison and Saeed 1977 examined a series of advertisements and found that females were more likely than males to emphasize their physical attractiveness In a study conducted by Nevid 1984 subjects were asked to rate various physical social and personality characteristics in terms of their importance in determining choice of romantic partners The results of this study indicated that males placed greater importance on characteristics such as weight body shape and overall build while females emphasized characteristics such as warmth honesty and fidelity On the basis of this frame of reasoning it can be appropriate to infer that women are socialized to believe that to be an adequate sex partner they must conform to societal norms regarding physical attractiveness As a result women are continually faced with meeting the demands prescribed on them through society They are expected to present themselves as attractive appealing sexy individuals Accordingly the low sexual esteem that may ensue from the pressures of conforming to the dictates of society among women is an often overlooked phenomenon It is abundantly clear that physical attractiveness among women serves a puissant element in sexual relationships This emphasis on physical attributes continues as relationships become more solidified and couples are married Margolin and White 1987 Contrary to the belief that the component of physical attractiveness declines in value through years of marriage it has been demonstrated that this is clearly not the case
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