Why I Stopped Dating Black American Men When I Decided I Was Ready A couple of years ago, after a string of failed relationships, I took. Daily experience suggests that non-romantic friendships between males Although men were equally as likely to desire “romantic dates” with. I'm an African-American man engaged to a Sierra Leonean woman who was born in London, but her parents are from Interracial Dating and Relationships.
The Role of Body Size in Mate Selection among African American Young Adults :
Because this representation is still being circulated throughout popular culture today, blacks continue to fight against each other in terms of maintaining control. Also, dating patterns formed in young adulthood tend to presage patterns across the adult life course. The movement, which can be traced back the s, sought to acquire economic power and to infuse among blacks a sense of community and group feeling.
Men and Women Can't Be "Just Friends"
African american intergender relationships dating - African American relationships more difficult to navigate today
Few other questions have provoked debates as intense, family dinners as awkward, literature as lurid , or movies as memorable. Still, the question remains unanswered. Daily experience suggests that non-romantic friendships between males and females are not only possible, but common—men and women live, work, and play side-by-side, and generally seem to be able to avoid spontaneously sleeping together. In order to investigate the viability of truly platonic opposite-sex friendships—a topic that has been explored more on the silver screen than in the science lab—researchers brought 88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends into…a science lab.
Privacy was paramount—for example, imagine the fallout if two friends learned that one—and only one—had unspoken romantic feelings for the other throughout their relationship. In order to ensure honest responses, the researchers not only followed standard protocols regarding anonymity and confidentiality, but also required both friends to agree—verbally, and in front of each other—to refrain from discussing the study, even after they had left the testing facility.
These friendship pairs were then separated, and each member of each pair was asked a series of questions related to his or her romantic feelings or lack thereof toward the friend with whom they were taking the study. The results suggest large gender differences in how men and women experience opposite-sex friendships. Men were much more attracted to their female friends than vice versa.
One day my therapist forced me to make a list of the things I wanted in a husband. And as we reviewed my list, one thing became clear, and that was that I had no business dating Black American men.
Initially, I felt bad. Almost like I was turning my back on them if I agreed with these findings. Surely, I could mold a potential mate into the guy I wanted, right?
If I wanted to make it work despite what the evidence stated, I could. The first thing I indicated on my list was that I wanted to marry a man who wanted to be married. Various factors played into this phenomenon which has yet to be identified in any other ethnic group. Whatever we attribute this to, many Black millennial men do not consider marriage to be a personal milestone. We research program offerings, campus life, tuition costs, etc.
In contrast, other non-American Black communities view marriage as a part of maturing and coming of age. Marriage is celebrated and seen as one of the most important cultural traditions, not just for little girls, but for little boys as well.
Those boys grow up to desire marriage for themselves, without guilt from potential mates and without coaxing from external influences. My belief that I could convince adult men that marriage was suddenly of value was severely misguided and up until the point that I acknowledged that, I had actually convinced myself that my efforts were noble.
I was dating men for their potential, not the realities of who they were and that was on me. The second item on my list was that I wanted the option to stay home once children were brought into the equation. Sexual Strategies Theory One of the most widely used theoretical frameworks for understanding the association between physical appearance and mating is Sexual Strategies Theory Buss Sexual Strategies Theory hypothesizes men and women form attractions and act on them with the goal of maximizing the likelihood they will produce offspring that can survive into adulthood.
The theory emphasizes the biological and evolutionary roots of traditional gender roles, highlighting ways men and women differ in their priorities, behaviors, and bases of attraction Buss and Schmitt Sexual Strategies Theory argues body weight is a crucial component of attractiveness because it signals both health and fertility and Sexual Strategies Theory researchers cite work done across both time and culture to support this finding Buss et al.
Men place greater emphasis on attractiveness and body size, the theory argues, because they maximize their reproductive advantage by mating with as many healthy and fertile women as possible Gangestad and Scheyd and weight is a valid and visible indicator of both.
Sexual Strategies Theory does not formally specify the particular body size range men should prefer but instead states it would be the range most strongly associated with health and reproductive fitness.
Almost no Sexual Strategies Theory studies have explicitly examined African American men and their preferences or dating decisions. One exception is a study examining preferred waist-to-hip ratio among a group of African American male college students; it concluded average sized women with a low waist to hip ratio were most attractive Singh A review of literature using Sexual Strategies Theory to examine attractiveness preferences in general noted African Americans had body size preferences similar to other U.
No Sexual Strategies Theory research has explicitly examined the preferences of African American women but a review of research on the association between male attractiveness and health among western societies noted that both very thin and very overweight men are considered unattractive. Sexual Strategies Theory also draws attention to the importance of context when making predictions about the role of body weight in definitions of attractiveness Buss and Schmitt In particular, Sexual Strategies Theory hypothesizes body weight should be most important when individuals are looking for short term mates where information is limited and there is no expectation of a permanent relationship and will be less important to long term serious relationships Buss , a contention that has been tested among U.
To our knowledge, it has never been examined among African American undergraduates or in samples including high school students. As discussed here, Sexual Strategies Theory literature has generated a substantial framework for studying the bases of attractiveness. Sexual Strategies Theory researchers have acknowledged the potential that local conditions can influence attractiveness standards Buss and Schmitt but have not studied the phenomena in depth nor incorporated it into their overall theoretical model.
This suggests the following hypotheses: Women in the low normal body size category will be more likely to casually date or be in a serious relationship relative to women in the high normal or overweight, body size categories. Men in the high normal body size category will be more likely to casually date or be in a serious relationship relative to men in the low normal body size category.
Among both men and women, the association between body size and dating status should be stronger for casual dating than for serious romantic relationships. Evidence of Cultural Variability?
Although Sexual Strategies Theory is one of the most widely applied theories of attraction and mate selection, it has also been the subject of critique Pedersen et al. The criticisms most relevant to this study are that it has received little testing outside of undergraduate populations in the U. The substantial literature documenting body size preferences among African Americans makes them a particularly important group to consider. In this section, we review this literature focusing on those studies with African American participants attending either high school or college; from this we derive a hypothesis.
Based on our review, the most extensive research in this area has looked at college students and primarily examined the female body size African American men find most attractive.
Finally, one study concluded African American men found overweight female bodies most attractive Harris et al. Two papers have looked at the preferences of African American college women regarding the body size of the men they date. Women using a 9-point rating scale to specify the male figure they found most attractive chose an average of 5. Only one paper has examined body size preferences among high school aged African Americans and this paper focused only on the preferences of males Thompson et al.
This study also employed a 9-point figure rating scale and determined that the mean ideal female body size was 3. We are aware of no research that has examined what body size high school age African American women believe is ideal in the men they date.
A second arena of research has looked specifically at the association between weight status and dating among African American high school students and focused largely on the dating statuses of women. This work has produced mixed results. One study focused solely on the dating status of African American high school women and reported no association between obesity and dating Ali et al.
Importantly, though, this study only compared obese to non-obese women and did not look at ranges of body size e. Two other studies examined associations between weight and dating for multi-racial samples of U. Both found, for girls of all racial groups, the probability of dating dropped as body size increased. The one study to date that has examined the association between body size and dating among African American high school males found an insignificant association Cawley Taking these findings as a whole, the literature suggests there is evidence both high school and college men hold attractiveness preferences about women that suggest a high normal or overweight body size would be considered ideal.
The limited research available on the preferences of African American women about men suggests results consistent with the expectations of Sexual Strategies Theory.
Thus, with respect to this literature, we offer only a hypothesis for women. Women in the high normal or overweight body size categories will be more likely to casually date or be in a serious relationship relative to women in the low normal body size category.
High School versus College As discussed above, high school and college students have been the subjects of most research on dating and body size. Sexual Strategies Theory predicts that low normal body size women and high normal body size men should be most attractive in all cultural contexts Buss et al. Research from the cultural variability perspective has been done in both high school and college populations Jackson and McGill ; Webb et al. Other research, however, suggests that body size should be a more important factor in high school dating than in college.