Does height matters in love? Apparently yes. A new research has found that a large percentage of women still want men who are taller than them. Men, on the other hand, don't care much about their partner's height, but some of them still prefer partners shorter than them.
For the study "Does Height Matter? An Examination of Height Preferences in Romantic Coupling" published in the Journal of Family Issues Jan. 21, researchers George Yancey, of the University of North Texas and Michael Emerson, of Rice University's Kinder Institute for Urban Research analyzed data from Yahoo! personal dating advertisements of 470 females and 455 males in the United States.
The researchers found that 13.5 percent of the men preferred to date women who are shorter than them while almost half of the women or 48.9 percent of the women wanted to be with men who are taller than them.
For the second half of the study, the researchers asked 54 male and 131 female participants from a university in the U.S. to answer an online survey with open-ended questions. They found that the results were almost the same as the outcome of the first part of the study. Only 37 percent of the male respondents wanted to date shorter partners but 55 percent of the female respondents wanted to date men who are taller than them.
Women want taller men mainly because they feel protected and more feminine with a taller partner. "Results from the online survey indicate that women wanted tall men for a variety of reasons, but most of the explanations of our respondents were connected to societal expectations or gender stereotypes," the researchers concluded. "Gender-based legitimation of height preferences seem to be more central than evolutionary-based legitimation, but future work may discover a more nuanced interpretation."
The researchers also said that the height preference between men and women are likely the outcome of expectations in the society, such that being tall is considered a personal asset for men.
"The masculine ability to offer physical protection is clearly connected to the gender stereotype of men as protectors," Yancey said. "And in a society that encourages men to be dominant and women to be submissive, having the image of tall men hovering over short women reinforces this value."
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said that average male height in the U.S. is 5 feet and 7 inches while average female height is 5 feet and 3 inches.
"Evolutionary psychology theory argues that 'similarity is overwhelmingly the rule in human mating,'" Emerson said. "However, our study suggests that for physical features such as height, similarity is not the dominant rule, especially with females."