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Image / Editorial

Attractive Women: Untrustworthy

12th May 2015

Bad news for very attractive women on dating websites and applications. As though the life of a digital dater wasn’t hard enough, new research suggests that women who appear as rather attractive in their dating profile imagery are also rated to be less trustworthy. On the flip-side, men who appear more attractive to women, also appeared to be more trustworthy. Um, how is that fair?

Arriving at this unfortunate conclusion, 305 heterosexual participants were asked to rate profile pictures of the opposite sex. All through our lives, we’re reminded not to judge a book by its cover, and then along comes online dating to reverse that entire learning. Are we only as good as our profile picture?

Those involved were asked to rate the profile pictures as either ‘beautified’ (meaning that they had gone to town in hair/make-up/lighting departments) or just nice photos in which the same person had only really benefited from good lighting.

The results, all of which will be presented by researchers at the 65th Annual International Communication Association Conference, were disappointing.

Men found the ‘beautified’ women to be very attractive but also less trustworthy. Still though, they said they’d date them. Meanwhile, men’s enhanced photos were rated as more attractive and more trustworthy.

David Gandy. Attractive? Yes. Trustworthy?

Why is this, we wonder? Do we assume that men who make more effort as far as their photos are concerned are more likely to be reliable? What about those of us who find ourselves drawn to men who don’t place so much importance on their appearance? And why is it the opposite for women? Further putting us off the world of dating apps, it’s not exactly encouraging to learn that men are willing to brush untrustworthiness under the rug for the sake of more favourable physical attributes.

Our advice? Maybe avoid enhancing your photos beyond recognition to avoid this whole imbalance.

We’d be interested to see more in-depth research of this kind to really get our heads around our online dating habits.


Pic: Kim Kardashian’s Instagram/ David Gandy’s Instagram