With so much talk about race lately, I can’t help but wonder if and how that is influencing who we choose to date. I keep hearing the statistic that black women and Asian men are the least desirable groups for American singles to date. A colleague recently shared an article written by journalist and former DC news correspondent Vesko Cholakov (@cholakovv) entitled ‘Rules of Attraction: Why White Men Marry Asian Women and Asian Men Don’t Marry White Women’. In this article, Cholakov talks about his interview with cognitive psychologist Michael Lewis at the University of Cardiff in Wales in the U.K. in which Lewis states that “Darker skin is always associated with more masculine faces,” as a possible explanation as one reason why black women might get less attention online.
Least desirable singles: Black Women & Asian Men?
Online dating site OKCupid also posted their online statistics in a blog post entitled ‘Race and Attraction 2009-2014’ where it discusses dating trends from users on its site based on race over that time period. In each chart and graph listed, black women and Asian men rated the lowest in regards to the amount of matches they received. Most singles have a type that they prefer dating, but as a black woman I have to admit that it was weird hearing that I fall into one of the categories considered ‘less desirable’ compared to others. So the question becomes, what might make one race of people less desirable than another in the dating game?
We can all agree that communication & social skills, physical appearance, and personality are factors when it comes to who we choose to date. If we take these things out of the equation, what other factors could account for black women and Asian men being last groups chosen online.
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Is geographical location a factor? I live in Los Angeles, which is a very diverse city with a large variety of cultures, ethnicities, religions, and lifestyles. Most of my friends are dating or have dated someone of a different race or religion at some point in time. Of course LA does not represent the whole country, which is clear when you look at OKCupid’s statistics. I actually know this very well. I grew up in a small town in the Midwest and didn’t really date until I met my first boyfriend sophomore year of college. I’ve since had former classmates tell me that “they wanted to ask me to prom but their parents wouldn’t have disapproved because I was black.” If a single person lives in a town where it’s seen as inappropriate to date someone of a different race or they feel like they’d be made fun of, harassed, or even disowned for dating someone of a different race, they will probably avoid dating that group of people to avoid unnecessary drama. If these attitudes are present, people could also be more likely to believe the negative stereotypes associated with a specific race and therefore avoid or even be afraid of interacting with that race. I was fortunate enough to grow up in a family that was open-minded and non-judgmental in those ways. I’ve always been someone who was intrigued by interracial couples and as silly as it may sound, I saw them as a small example of the world coexisting in harmony. Living in California and in Europe I started noticing that interracial dating was less taboo. I saw that as an indicator that location can definitely be a factor when it comes to dating preferences.
Are societal opinions and media stereotypes to blame? Do some singles consider Asian men less attractive because they’re not considered to be as Alpha as the men in some other cultures? Are black women not as attractive to some singles because of our perceived opinionated sassiness? What about Beyonce and Halle Berry? Daniel Dae Kim (Lost) and John Cho (Harold and Kumar)? What makes them attractive? These celebs are considered hot and racially they fall in the least desirable category. If they weren’t famous and you saw them on your fave online dating site or app, would you check them out?
The statistics and theories are interesting to analyze, but they don’t really matter as long as people are still finding each other. I do believe in the idea that ‘there’s somebody for everybody’ regardless of your race, gender, sexual orientation, or lifestyle preference. Even those of us considered to be the ‘less desirable’ can find companionship since ultimately beauty is the eye of the beholder. You can live the dating life of your dreams by being your best self, doing what you can to avoid being the stereotype that society expects you to be, and interacting with people who find you attractive in spite of what stats say.
Hugs and love,
Erin ‘The Dating Advice Girl’