What do men want from women? Don’t believe in stereotypes!
Men are the most misunderstood creatures. This misunderstanding also influences what you believe you know when it comes to answering the question – what do men want from women?
You might think you have figured out how men think based on what you see around you, but you are probably wrong. Both men and women are victims of gender stereotypes. Here are some examples of assumptions people make about men:
Men are supposed to be successful in everything they do.
Men cannot cry, no matter what happens.
Men are supposed to be the breadwinner of the family.
Men cannot communicate or express their emotions.
Well, these assumptions are just stereotypes painted by the media and cultural practices. Men are guilty of believing in these stereotypes and reinforcing them by acting in such a way that it fits the profile of what everybody believes a man should do. These biases also skew our understanding of what do men want from women.
We are not making this statement just to shock women and men. We have strong proof to back our claim.
Men are no different than women!
Janet Shibley Hyde, Ph.D., of the University of Wisconsin in Madison, concluded through her research that men and women are more alike than different based on a study that spanned two decades. Her paper, “The Gender Similarities Hypothesis” concluded that oversimplification of what we know about men causes problems in our relationship.
In this report, men and women were asked to respond to stressful situations while being told that their gender will not be revealed. Surprisingly, most men reacted less aggressively while women reacted more aggressively! This proves that if we are not self-conscious about our gender, our behavior is different!
The study also found that differences between men and women are not the same all the time. It varies based on the age and the stage in our lives which once again points to perceived role differences between men and women influencing how men behave. The fundamental premise for the question – “what do men want from women?” assumes that men are vastly different from women. This fundamental assumption is wrong!
How societies think about male and female roles
Target is a large retail chain in North America. They have products for everyone and for all ages. One customer tweeted this photograph (see below) and it went viral.
The customer was protesting at the practice of calling out “girl’s building set” implying that boys and girls prefer a different type of building set. Target reacted by phasing out separate boys and girls toys sections in their stores and making it gender neutral.
This is an example of how gender differences are reinforced by society and how things can change for the better. The gradual realization that men and women are alike should eventually make the question – “what do men want from women?” irrelevant. The question should always be “what does anyone want from a marriage or a relationship?”.
Stay at home dad?
Shelly Walia is an arts and culture journalist who writes about Bollywood, gender identity issues, Indian start-ups and entrepreneurs, and technology. She is a reporter for Quartz. One of her articles talks about the stay at home dad from Pune.
Atul Agnihotri is a 49-year-old stay at home dad from Pune. He is the “house husband” and his wife is the sole breadwinner in the family. Here is a picture of Atul Agnihotri and his family along with Aamir Khan.
Here is what he told Quartz about his life and his choice as a homemaker.
I finished my bachelor’s degree in production engineering from Pune University in 1988. Soon after, I started work and continued for five years. In 1993, I was married to Arundhati, my wife, who hails from Ahmednagar, a small town 60 miles from Pune. The following year, we had our daughter, Mrunmayee.
At the time, my father was bedridden. All of us lived in a small house, and being the eldest son, I started feeling very pressured. Nobody had forced me, but I knew I needed to arrange the money for his treatment, give my wife a better life by moving to a bigger house, and so forth.
I was all of 23.
My father’s health deteriorated. Matters went from bad to worse, and I started feeling helpless but found hope in alcohol. I started drinking sometimes. As my obligations increased over the next two years, I started drinking round-the-clock. I was out of control.
One of the darkest periods of my life was the day my father died. It was in 1996, and I wasn’t in my senses to perform the last rites. Somebody held my hand, somebody else supported me to stand on my feet, so that I could light the pyre. That day should have never come. I have no memory of seeing him for the last time.
My wife, though, was not easy to defeat. She—and she alone—took the step of taking her addicted husband to Muktangan, a residential rehabilitation center in Pune. I had troubled her deeply, but she stood by me.
As the procedure is, I was admitted for 35 days to break the cycle of alcohol and overcome addiction.
My wife was familiar with the recovery program. She wanted to be careful that there were no chances of a relapse. So, she offered me a solution: I could look after the house while she supported the family with her income.
I readily accepted her offer and today, I haven’t touched alcohol in 17 years. This inspired me to become an active social worker at the rehabilitation center. In fact, it was through Muktangan and a few media publications where I have been interviewed earlier, that Satyamev Jayate came across my name.
At the time, my daughter was very young. I gave her all my time. I would cook for her; drop her to school, the playground, tuitions, everything. And I think the upbringing has had a very positive impact on her. Today, she wants to be a social worker, and I am very happy with her decision.
Growing up, I had seen my mother toiling hard. I used to help her a lot—with cooking and cleaning—but I also knew her contribution to our family wasn’t ever acknowledged. Every day, she would make a rangoli at the doorstep of our small house. Nobody would ever see it or appreciate it. But her kindness, her selflessness, deeply impacted me.
In India, we correlate how much we work with the income the person earns. So if I don’t bring a paycheck home, then I am not doing anything.
You can read the rest of the story here.
The moral of this story is, yes, Indian men can be nurturing and are quite capable of running the household provided we give them an opportunity and treat men inclined to household work with disdain! This story also takes away the implied mystery behind the question – “what do men want from women?”.
What do men want from women and everybody else during weddings!
Here is the interesting infographics on what do men want from women and others during a wedding. Get ready to be surprised!
Now that we have proved that what we know about men and how they think is probably biased, let’s look at conclusively answering the question – What do men want from women?
Experts reveal the secrets!
We decided to examine results of numerous studies in different parts of the world to find out what do men want from women. As we had indicated, these studies go against the common understanding of how men behave (read “how should men behave”).
1. Men want commitment when women are scarce
University of Utah anthropologist, Ryan Schacht and anthropology professor Monique Borgerhoff Mulder from the University of California, Davis were on a quest to find an answer to the question – what do men want from women. They conducted an interesting study on men and women in of the Makushi people in the Guyana (South American country). Here is an interesting tidbit – Leading cricket players like Carl Hooper, Clive Llyod played for Guyana!
When we think of the number of men and women, we will agree with one conclusion. When there are more men compared to that of women in a population, men are likely to fight with one another to pair with the limited number of females. But the researchers came to a diametrically opposite conclusion.
Here is one of the conclusions they drew from their research to find an answer to the question – ‘what do men want women?”.
According to Ryan,
“Our data suggest the opposite: when there are more men, this is when they are more interested in settling into a committed, long-term relationship. When women are difficult to find, a man should attempt to attract and maintain a single partner and not fight with other males – it’s not what women want.“
The law of supply and demand (sounds very impersonal and crude!) comes into play when it comes to answering the question “what do men want from women?”.
2. Men are more likely to remarry when compared to women
In a 2013 study by Pew Research that covered adult population in the United States, four in ten couples are getting remarried in the US. About 42 million people in the US remarried as per the 2013 data while it was 22 million in 1980. Here are some additional interesting data and possible conclusions based on this survey.
It was found that men tend to remarry much more than the woman. Let’s look at the numbers as provided by Pew.
Here are some possible reasons for why men tend to remarry more than that of women.
Men seem to desire more for fulfilling relationships as life expectancies have steadily grown. We have more time to live and are determined to have a great relationship.Clearly, the role of women as the “caretaker” of men and family may have lead to the lower incidence of remarriage of women! They don’t want to care for men the second time and lose their freedom!
This data once again overturns yet another stereotype about men being cowboys that prefer a carefree life and shy away from commitment! Somebody said, “once bitten, twice shy” but this idiom seems to be applicable more to women than men. Men that have gone through a failed relationship actually want to give it another shot. Here is one answer to “What do men want from women” – more women!
3. Men are attracted to the colour ‘red’
In an interesting study, men were told that they have $100 to spend on a date. They were then shown photographs of women wearing different coloured dresses. Now they were asked how much money would they spend on a date with each of these women shown to them. The study results showed that men elected to spend more money on women wearing red clothes when compared to women sporting any other colour! Not only that, men found that women wearing red to be more attractive as well.
According to this article from the University of Rochester,
“Although this aphrodisiacal effect of red may be a product of societal conditioning alone, the authors argue that men’s response to red more likely stems from deeper biological roots. Research has shown that nonhuman male primates are particularly attracted to females displaying red. Female baboons and chimpanzees, for example, redden conspicuously when nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal designed to attract males.”
Research has shown that nonhuman male primates are particularly attracted to females displaying red. Female baboons and chimpanzees, for example, redden conspicuously when nearing ovulation, sending a clear sexual signal designed to attract males.”
In summary, there are some biological preferences that hold strong among men in spite of evolution. A simple takeaway to the question “what do men want from women?” is a woman in red!
As a woman, you can use this information to your advantage. We are not recommending you actively manipulate men based on their weakness for the red colour!
4. Men try hard to be funny
Dr Laura Mickes tried to be funny in her lectures hoping to win over her students with wit and humour. But when the students turned in their ratings, she was shocked to note that her ratings weren’t all that great!
She then conducted a study that involved 32 students writing captions for 20 New Yorker cartoons. The captions were then rated by another set of people. The outcome was men were only slightly funnier when compared to women! According to this article from The Atlantic, that analysed Dr Mickes’ studies,
Men wrote some of the best jokes, but they also used more profanity and sexual humor, and those jokes weren’t rated very funny. If men were truly the funnier sex, though, wouldn’t they be more consistently funny?
In another study, Dr Mickes gave some random words to a group of men and women and asked them to write anything that involved the random words. The men in this study wrote funny paragraphs involving these words while the women were more creative and serious with their writing. Then she asked a group of men and women to write funny paragraphs using the same random words to see if men produced funnier paragraphs. The result was a tie in this case.
So what do we learn from these experiments – Men try harder than women to be funny!
So why do men try to joke around more than women?
Women always preferred smart men as this has an evolutionary significance. Smart men tend to have good genes, they are skillful and successful in what they do. Their social standing is better. Partnering with smart men gives women a greater chance of raising a successful family.
Being funny and cracking jokes that a lot of people like is a sign of smartness. Cracking jokes require an ability to empathise with others and required a greater power of observation and creativity in looking at mundane things from a different perspective.
In summary, men are trying to demonstrate to the world that they are smart by trying to be funny. This is one way of attracting adulation and women! So what do men what from women? Actually, they want women that can appreciate a good joke and not necessarily crack jokes!
5. You can’t be just friends with a man
Can men be just friends with women? Men and women interact a lot at work and elsewhere. Most of these interactions are non-romantic and it’s easy to assume (mostly by women) that you can just be a friend with a man. But men have difficulty in maintaining a strictly platonic relationship.
Scientific American has reported details of a study that explore this topic in-depth.
88 pairs of undergraduate opposite-sex friends were 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 study result was as expected. Men assumed there was a mutual attraction with their female friends much more than what the women agreed.
On the other hand, women assumed men were just friends and that men also think the same about their friendship. In summary, men overestimated the level of attraction they thought women had for them.
- Men assumed there was a mutual attraction with their female friends much more than what the women agreed. On the other hand, women assumed men were just friends and that men also think the same about their friendship. In summary, men overestimated the level of attraction they thought women had for them.
- Men were also inclined to have a romantic relationship with female friends that were already in another relationship with! Women, predictably, wanted to steer clear of men who are already in a relationship.
- Men were also like to say that “getting into a romantic relationship” was an advantage of having a female friend while women are more likely list this as a disadvantage!
So if you are a woman, remember that men are always looking to justify their assumption that their women friends are romantically attracted. Touching them, revealing personal problems, or any other form of closer interaction will lead men to assume that women are romantically inclined. It appears when we look at the question “what do men want from women”, it’s mostly a romantic relationship as men are constantly looking for imaginary signs that tell them if a woman is attracted to them.
It appears when we look at the question “what do men want from women”, it’s mostly a romantic relationship as men are constantly looking for imaginary signs that tell them if a woman is attracted to them.
6. Men prefer intelligent women
According to Professor David Bainbridge from the Cambridge University, men tend to prefer women who are intelligent. It is instinctively understood that intelligent women can produce intelligent children or raise children properly.
Men actually don’t care about the breast size or long legs. Symmetrical body features are considered normal and attractive. Any other understanding of what a beautiful and attractive women should look like is a product of popular media and cinema.
But women with curvaceous features are more attractive to men. This has an evolutionary reason as well.
According to this article from The Telegraph,
Men do like women to be curvaceous with voluptuous thighs and bottoms, and a waist that is much slimmer than their hips. Carrying a bit more weight on the thighs and the bottom suggests that a woman has stored enough fat during puberty to adequately provide for the huge requirements of a growing baby.
In fact the development of babies’ brains relies on fat supplies stripped directly from their mothers’ thighs and bottoms, especially during breastfeeding, and that the quantity of such fat supplies may directly affect a child’s intelligence and chances of survival.
Clearly, the answer to the question – “what do men want from women?” also includes an ability to bear healthy children that can propagate their genes.
Our verdict on – What do men want from women?
What do men want from women seems like a simple question to answer. Our instinctive response to this question is “men want to drink, have sex, and lead a carefree life.” But, that’s not true always.
We have seen how some common myths that men cannot stay at home, men run away from commitment or relationships and other popular misconceptions have been proved wrong.
Experts have also provided evidence for certain behaviour such as men’s preference for curvaceous women and their inability to stay just friends with women.
We can safely conclude that making broad assumptions about men and what they like is not a great strategy when it comes to relationships and marriages.
If you are a prospective bride looking for a groom, insights about “what do men want from women” can be put to good use. Here are simple tips that can help you in your search.
Pay attention to what you are wearing in your matrimony profile photograph.
Laugh if your prospective match cracks a joke. The least you can do is not to embarrass him! At the least, you know he is interested in you.
We hope this article gives you new insights about the question “what do men want from women”. Do you think there are other facts about men’s behaviour that deserves a mention? Share your thoughts and insights by adding your comments.