A picture is worth a thousand words, and when it comes to online dating, maybe even more: Various apps, like Tinder and Hinge, allow you to ‘swipe left’ or reject someone based on their appearance only. It may seem difficult to judge books (and humans) by their covers, but almost half of people think they can understand the real personalities of strangers from their photos, and even prefer certain photographic trends over others. For example: Posing with animals.
Previously, research has shown that having pets plays an important role in choosing who to date them and that women prefer men who have cats and dogs over those who don’t. animals at all. Having said that, they favored those with dogs. Intrigued by the aforementioned findings, researchers at Colorado State University set out to find out how having cats in the photos would affect an individual’s online dating experience, if at all.
For the study, the CSU team interviewed 1,388 heterosexual women, asking them to rate several images of men – some with cats, some without – as well as “masculinity,” “femininity.” and “rendezvous capacity”. Finally, they were asked whether they identified themselves as “dog person”, “cat person”, neither or both.
Much to the researchers’ surprise, the majority of participants found men holding cats to be “less datable,” despite previous studies showing that women preferred men with pets as mates. When shown pictures of men without a feline, 38% of those polled said they would date him casually, while 37% would consider a serious relationship. However, in response to the same man holding a cat, the numbers dropped to 33% for each category. Overall, women were more likely to completely exclude men with cats as potential mates.
Respondents to the study felt that men with cats were less outgoing, more neurotic, pleasant and open, perceiving cat owners as “less masculine” than those without feline friends. That said, women who identified as “cats” were more likely to be willing to date cats or have no opinion.
“We suspect that old cultural norms may play a role in the responses,” the study authors wrote of the findings. “Previous research suggests that male femininity and homosexuality are still seen to be linked. Given that cats are sometimes more closely associated with the owners of women – and therefore considered a female pet – posing with cats may have prompted the women in our survey to adopt this outdated trope by default, despite some popular media efforts to elevate the status of male cat owners. . “