Female status predicts female mate preferences across nonindustrial societies
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Most studies demonstrating the contribution of economic constraints on women to sex differences in mate preferences have used samples from postindustrial societies with similar social structures. The authors investigate the effects of female status on female mate preferences in a subsection of the Standard Cross-Cultural Sample. Whyte's (1978) codes provide indicators of female status, and mate preferences are obtained through qualitative analysis of ethnographic data in the Human Relations Area Files. Two measures of female status are found to relate to the relative importance of physical appearance to access to resources in attraction to a partner: Domestic authority is associated with greater importance placed on appearance relative to resources, whereas ritualized female solidarity is associated with lower importance of appearance relative to resources. Results are discussed in the context of the contribution of social and economic constraints on women to sex differences.