Previous research on interpersonal attraction and dating preferences has shown that personal advertisements from newspapers have been sensitive to the changes in societal gender-roles from the 1970s to the 1990s. Therefore, we thought that examining personal advertisements from the Internet would reveal the most recent societal developments in attracting potential mates. We suspected that the methods used to find a mate on the Internet would be different from the information and techniques used in a newspaper setting. Previous literature has found strong evidence indicating that newspaper advertisers adhere to traditional gender-roles. We believed, however, that the non-traditional nature of the Internet might cause advertisers to be less influenced by traditional gender-roles.
As expected, our results show a break from traditional reciprocity on the Internet, especially for financial security. While traditional reciprocity still existed for financial security in the newspaper, males and females offered financial security at an equal rate on the Internet. We suspect that this is because Internet users are more affluent than the general population; both male and female Internet users are therefore able to offer financial security. This explanation is also consistent with the finding that females on the Internet sought financial security at a lower rate than females in the newspaper. Although we found a decrease in traditional reciprocity on the Internet, we did not find that the Internet is completely free from traditional norms. Males sought financial security at an equally low rate in both the Internet and newspaper advertisements.
Dana Snyder, ’01 Cedar Rapids, IA
Majors: Psychology and Biology
Shana O’Grady, 01 West Bend, WI
Camellia Watkins, 02 Omaha, NE
Major: Sponsor: William Dragon