Dumb blondes, temperamental redheads–the stereotypes regarding hair color have always been around; but is one hair color really superior to the others? In my Econ 102 class we watched a video that showed that blondes raised more money fundraising than any other hair color. Are blondes more desirable? I wanted to learn more.
First I hit up google. There are multiple psychological studies on hair color and the responses humans have to the certain hues. Nicolas Guéguen from the Université de Bretagne-Sud, in France, executed an experiment where he sent a woman to a night club for one hour over a span of 16 days for four weeks wearing four different color wigs. Then it was recorded to see the number of men that approached her with the different hair colors. The results are as follows: blonde-127 men; brunette-84 men; black-82 men; red-29 men. These results would suggest that blonde females are significantly preferred. As for the other way around, four 20 year old men were instructed to ask females to dance to a slow song at the club, and the black hair was accepted the most, then brunette, blonde, and finally redheads. But how does this come about?
Viren Swami and Seishin Barrett, psychologists at the University of Westminster, London performed a similar experiment, and developed the following hypothesis. Blondes appear as more “needy” which lowers the male’s fear of rejection so they are more willing to make the move. Brunettes are viewed as intelligent, but also arrogant. Redheads are the most temperamental and sexually promiscuous.
Still, I wanted to see what the main preference was just by recording opinions. I created a survey on surveymonkey.com and posted the link on my personal Facebook and the Penn State Class of 2018 page. The free version only allowed me to see the first 100 results submitted. The results were as follows:
Hair color preference: Blonde- 27 people; Brunette- 70; Red- 3.
This information goes against the previously mentioned experiments where blondes were the more desired, so I looked further into the information. I evaluated the individual results and recorded the preference in retrospect to the gender of the person taking the survey. This helped clarify the results.
Female preference: Blonde-14; Brunette- 57; Red-1
Male Preference: Blonde-13; Brunette-13; Red-2
Females typically preferred the darker hair, whereas the men were evenly split between blonde and brunette. Redheads were always dead last (sorry redheads).
72 females completed the survey, whereas only 28 men did. Since I could only see the first 100 submitted, I was not able to create balanced testing groups. This is something I would alter if I were to do this experiment again.
This helps explain why the connection to the psychologists experiments and my surveys were different. They tested it seeing which is typically desired on a woman whereas my results focused more on what a girl looks for in a guy.
The results show how important it is to have a randomized trial to make sure the information would apply to the general population. This is notable from the imbalance in male-female ratio of survey participants and how my results were focused on what a woman wants and that contrasted with what a man wants from the previously mentioned experiments. It only focuses on late teen years to the twenty-somethings, so it’s difficult to say what a group of 80 year olds would find more attractive. Perhaps there are generational trends in this.
Other correlations I noticed were interesting. I added eye color preference to have another aspect to compare the hair preferences to. For the most part, if blonde hair was selected, blue eyes were also selected. Blue eyes were preferred by about 40% of both genders. In another question, all but one of the participants selected that they only moderately require their favorite hair color in a partner, or they don’t really care. A question I wish I had asked is whether or not the hair/eye color the person was attracted to is the same or different as their own.
All in all, your hair color really doesn’t determine whether you are attractive or not. Each person has their own preference, and most cases those preferences aren’t even important.
Here is the link to the survey.