Does self-rated attractiveness predict women's preferences for facial masculinity? Data from an Arab sample

Sarah A. H. Alharbi, Iris J. Holzleitner, S. Adil Saribay, Benedict C. Jones, Anthony J. Lee

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Because more attractive women may be better able to attract and/or retain masculine mates, many researchers have proposed that women who consider themselves to be more physically attractive will show stronger preferences for men displaying masculine facial characteristics. Empirical evidence for this putative association between women's self-rated attractiveness and preference for facial masculinity has come almost entirely from studies of Western women. Thus, we investigated whether this pattern of results also occurs in a sample of non-Western women.

We investigated the relationship between self-rated attractiveness and facial-masculinity preferences in a sample of Arab women (N = 281). Facial-masculinity preferences were assessed from attractiveness judgments of masculinized versus feminized versions of face images.

By contrast with previous findings for Western women's self-rated attractiveness, we observed no compelling evidence that Arab women who considered themselves to be more attractive showed stronger preferences for masculine men.

Our results suggest that previously reported associations between self-rated attractiveness and masculinity preferences might be somewhat culture specific, potentially reflecting cultural differences in typical mating strategies.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)105-113
Number of pages9
JournalAdaptive Human Behavior and Physiology
Issue number2
Early online date8 Mar 2021
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jun 2021


  • facial attractiveness
  • mate preferences
  • cultural differences
  • individual differences
  • condition-dependent preferences
  • market value


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