Homo Consumericus

The nature and nurture of consumption

Do Gentlemen Prefer Blondes?

Are blonde women more likely to be approached at a nightclub? Are they judged differently (by men) on a broad range of traits (e.g., intelligence, promiscuity, neuroticism)? Read on for the findings from two studies conducted in England. Read More

"Settling" for a blonde?

Would it be possible to reconcile the two studies by focusing on the perception of blondes as "needy", versus brunettes as "arrogant" and redheads as "temperamental"? Perhaps the men, in making a decision on who to approach, are partially asking who they think they can "get" (e.g. who will be easy to talk to, likely to say yes, etc). With brunettes being perceived as "arrogant" and redheads as "temperamental", perhaps blondes as "needy" are seen as the most attainable partners by default? That could certainly account for the fact that, while brunettes are judged as the most attractive, they are selected less frequently. Men may all "want" the same thing...but they could be "settling" for what they think they can get.

Then again, I usually go for redheads. So, I'm personally an outlier in this discussion :)

Makes sense.

The authors of the article make the same point regarding the greater perceived neediness of the blonde confederate (and hence this might partially explain the findings of study 1). Here is their quote (p. 598):

"Another possibility is based on the findings of Study 2, where we found that our confederate was rated as more needy when she was a blonde than when was a brunette or redhead. Being perceived
as needier may have facilitated men’s approach behavior in Study 1, possibly because it induced greater feelings of dominance or confidence among men, which in turn reduced their behavioral inhibition."


fake hair color may be a factor here

Hair that's been dyed blonde is quite apparent on most women, and it sounds like these subjects dyed their hair multiple times, leading to further wear and tear and a potentially "unnatural" look. I imagine peroxide blondes might be considered needy or in need of male approval, i.e. attempting to conform to ideas of what men find attractive. (Not to knock fake blondes).
But I wonder whether these results would obtain with real blondes who then wore wigs in the other conditions.

Good point Kaja. Thanks for sharing.

The authors refer to this exact possibility (hair dye) on p. 599 of their article:

"Similarly, although the hair dyeing was done by a professional hair stylist, it is possible that some participants perceived that our confederate’s hair was dyed in two conditions, which affected
their perceptions of her. That is, in Study 1, participants may have been responding to our confederate’s apparent choice of hair color, rather than to the hair color itself."


Fake hair? What about other features...

Potential suitors may absolutely have been affected by the fake color. However, I would argue that at least one underlying issue that must be taken into account if the following: the correlation between facial hues and hair color.

I would hypothesize that natural blondes have certain common facial hues in their skin, eyes, eyebrows etc., while brunettes and redheads have their own characteristic facial hues. So, in order to properly control for this type of study, we would have to have a natural blonde be approached in three different hair color conditions, and a natural brunette be approached in three different hair color conditions, and a natural redhead be approached in three different hair color conditions.

Without reading this study, the worry would be that men would find facial hue - head hair incongruency to be less attractive than facial hue - head hair congruency. In other words, there may be a natural tendency for some type of color symmetry to be more attractive.

Since a variety of other physical symmetries seem to be viewed as honest fitness indicators, perhaps facial hue - hair hue symmetry is also an important evolutionary indicator of fitness.


Correction: I meant congruence or correlation above, not symmetry.

Is there a study on self

Is there a study on self image with different hair colour? I noticed that when my friends dye their hair blonde, they act differently. More open and more fun despite no difference in attractiveness. I would suspect that artificial blonde might be approached even more than natural blonde due to their change of attitude.

Same thing with my guy friends when they buy a new fancy car. Even when no one knows they bought a new BMW, they act more confident and therefore more attractive.

Another thing I notice about night club is that women in glasses are rarely approached even when they are very attractive. Some men see the glasses as a sign that the woman is not showing she's avaliable. Even for guys who like women with glasses, they have a feeling that they would be shot down when in the night club situation.

This is an excellent point.

This is an excellent point. Was the target blind to condition, or did she know what color her hair had been dyed? If she knew her hair color, then she may have also known the hypothesis of the study, or have formulated her own hypothesis. Her behavior likely influenced the subjects more than her hair color.

The confederate's behavior was standardized across conditions.

From p. 597 of their article:

"At each setting, the confederate was instructed to sit at the bar of the nightclub and look out to the main part of the dance floor, but not to look a man in the eyes (following Guéguen, 2007).
Two observers independently watched the confederate and noted the number of men who interacted with her in a one-hour period (always beginning at 8 pm). Inter-observer agreement, assessed via qualitative notes made by each observer, was near perfect. If a man interacted with the confederate, she was asked to state that she was waiting for her partner, which Guéguen (2007) reported was effective in ending the interaction."


on the other hand

Yeah, but body language and facial expressions can be very subtle. It would be impossible to control them completely.

On the other hand, I've often wondered, is blond hair recessive? And if a woman displays many recessive genes, would her children look more like their father? Maybe men have greater parental certainty when they mate with a blond woman.

Similarly, I've noticed that many male movie villians are blond and blue-eyed. Could men with recessive genes be more of a threat to other men, because their children would be more likely to look like the mother? That is, it might be easier for a blond/fair man to conceal his infidelity with a woman.

What do you think?

Governing Dynamics: Ignore the Blonde

A Beautiful Mind - John Nash


Thank God someone is studying this.

Same Observation

I've been blonde, brunette and a redhead. I absolutely got more attention from men when I was a blonde.

some men, anyway

I've been blonde, brunette and redhead as well. Under normal circumstances, the amount of attention I got from men didn't differ. Drunk men, however, were a different story. Blonde hair attracts drunks like a magnet. Just my personal experience, of course. And no, I wasn't blind to condition.

Fiery and more!

As a real redhead, I have found that men definitely subscribe to sterotyping. We are said not only to be more "fiery" of temperament, but the same sexually. I have found that to be true in how I have been approached by men. But, I always tell them that anything they have ever heard about red-heads is absolutely TRUE!

I agree with the comment about going after who they think they can get. I sense the belief that a blonde may be an easier catch. You have to be on top of your game for the attention of an auburn haired beauty. In a bar setting, that may be too much work.

Blondes are treated more gentle....

I am a medical intern at a large, public hospital. During my MD I noticed that because of my blonde hair, professors would talk differently to me than other students with darker hair. I could never quite pin point why, and since working in my internship I have realised that patients are much less grumpy with me than other doctors. They seem to really want me to advise them on their health issues, although they do ask for second opinions from other staff members. Either they don't listen to what I am saying due to being distracted by my blonde hair and swedish accent, or that they think that I may not have the same set of skills given to my fellow brunette interns. Very interesting......

Thanks for sharing your personal experience

I removed two sets of your comments as these were posted in triplicates.


blonds always win

i liked few guys all seem to want the blond woman yet another guy i like has made friends with stunning blond not even 2nd week of this year .long blond hair , blue eyes,flawless skin,fit, huge boobs long eyes lashes,snow white teeth, he had no problem adding her. he just met her i have talking to same guy for year he never added me because i am not stunning blond ,seems unfair they guy is very intelligent but full muscle but short in height about 5 ft6 " tall. blonds like that make feel just awful how i look just awful because he seem have no interested in brunettes who may be pretty or not does n,t interested him in slightest

he very shallow for short guy .makes me feel bad how i look how i am not perfect looking like her how has zero interested in me in comparison to her

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Gad Saad is Professor of Marketing at Concordia University and author of The Evolutionary Bases of Consumption and The Consuming Instinct.


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