It is seen as a truism that, while women are attracted to nonconformist men, men tend to prefer conformist women. That is, they see more conventional women as more feminine, safe, and predictable. The trope that women are attracted to edgy, seemingly dangerous bad boys has been around for a long time, as the Sandy character gravitated towards Danny in the movie Grease.
But is the attraction of Greg for Dharma equally possible? (Dharma and Greg, an old television show.)
But is the preference for attraction really non-symmetric? Matthew J. Hornsey and his associates at the University of Queensland and Griffith University did a series of four experiments to test this proposition.
In general, they found that both men and women preferred nonconformist romantic partners. In fact, the less conforming a woman was, they greater the likelihood of dating success she was likely to have. However, women tended to see men as preferring more conventional, nonthreatening romantic partners. So what does this tell us?
It tells us that there is a disconnect between perception and reality in this case. Women need not fear to fly their freak flag if they also want to get along with guys. Think of that: no need to present yourself as colorless, conformist, or uninteresting any longer. It may be that seeing a young woman acting confidently nonconforming boosts their courage to follow their heartfelt desires more and not be so conforming. After all, an obvious freak is less likely to disapproving of someone else's departures from the norm!
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