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Partner Selection: Evolution Or Social Learning?

Partner Selection: Evolution Or Social Learning?
Attraction can be defined as a power which brings things or persons together. In the process of partner selection, attraction plays an important role. But why are men attracted by some aspects, and women by others? Can the evolutionary theory explain it? Or does the social theory have another explanation?
Claudia Miclaus
A man's attraction towards a woman is very much determined by her physical appearance. Women are also attracted towards good-looking men, but the physical aspect is less important for them when it comes to choosing partners, compared to other features like success. Moreover, men prefer younger women, whereas women prefer slightly older men. This trend is typical for a considerable chunk of the population, and of course, there are exceptions according to the Gaussian Curve. But, why do these differences exist? This can be explained through a series of perspectives, and the two most popular are the social theory and the evolutionary theory with arguments pro and against it.
Social Theory
Social roles: When talking about the social roles, there is a distinctive feature that exists all over the world. It is an observation that women are seen to have less power and a lower social status compared to men. In the United States, women gain 25% less than men do, and also occupy less political positions. Another characteristic of the social roles in the modern society is the work division based on gender. For example, only 3.4% of the plane pilots and 1.2% of the carpenters are women, and only 2.9% of the social care workers and 1.9% of the dentists' assistants are men. So, because of low access for women to important jobs which offer big salaries, are we still to wonder why successful men are more attractive for them?
An important aspect of the role of women is beauty and heterosexual attraction. It is highly visible in the society, and it is used for selling every kind of product, from mattresses to sport cars. Young women soon learn that they ought to be pretty, and young men learn that they ought to select beautiful partners. Gender roles have another unwritten rule which specifies that the formation of pairs amongst people of differing ages is acceptable.
Social Learning: How and why every new generation of children adopts the behavior which fits the specific gender roles? The answer can be found in the process of social learning. The violation of the behavioral patterns receives, especially during adolescence, severe punishments. For example, John invites Anna to a dance class, because she's a friend. As she is not very pretty, John's friends annoy him mercilessly. John will never make the same mistake again. Justin, one of John's friends, observes what happens, and he decides that in the future, he will be very cautious while inviting a girl to the dance class. According to the cognitive theory of social learning, Justin only has to see John's example and decide that boys shouldn't date unattractive girls.
The Evolutionary Theory
This is another theory that tries to explain the formation of couples. Some scientists do not agree with it, because they claim that evolutionists don't point out the mechanisms that lead to certain predispositions. Another argument against the evolutionist explanation for this issue lies in the opposition of the two theories they have. On one hand, they say that man's capacity to produce a lot of children draws man towards promiscuity, but on the other hand, they state that the need to be assured that the descendants will survive until they are capable of reproduction, creates an opposite need for monogamy. In other words, the evolution theory can be used to explain both the promiscuity as well as fidelity of men.
Furthermore, there is another perspective that points out two different categories of partner relating. The first category presumes that the partner is selected with no intention of commitment, just for hedonistic purposes. When this is the situation, physical attraction plays the most important role and can be reduced to the evolutionary perspective. The second category talks about those who begin a relationship with the desire of permanence and commitment. For these people, physical attraction does not mean a curvaceous body and looks, but it is rather emphasized by what lies within the person's soul. They know that appearance is not enough when trying to form a long-term relationship and that it is only the spark that starts a fire which is preserved by respect, fidelity, love, and patience.
It is well known that attraction is a component in the process of partner selection. Men being attracted by physical features and women by abstract ones is just natural. So, it is all a question of mentality.