Remember the study from this past summer that claimed single men with cats are perceived as “less masculine” and are less likely to score dates than their cat-less counterparts?
Now Match.com has some bad news for us as well, saying their internal data shows men who have cats are less attractive to women on the popular online dating platform. From the Wall Street Journal:
‘If you’re a heterosexual man looking for love this Valentine’s Day, here’s something you probably don’t want to do: include a cat in your online dating profile.
“Chicks don’t want a guy with a cat,” said Rachel DeAlto, chief dating expert for Match, an online service that promises to connect compatible romantic partners.’
The Match.com data mirrors the data from the earlier Colorado State University study, which showed women photos of men with and without cats. When the authors asked women whether they’d consider dating those men, the female participants said they were less likely to date the cat servants by a margin of about five percent. Match.com’s data says men with cats are five percent less likely to receive “likes” than men without cats.
“Men holding cats were viewed as less masculine; more neurotic, agreeable, and open; and less dateable,” said study authors Lori Kogan and Shelly Vosche, who titled their paper “Not the Cat’s Meow? The Impact of Posing With Cats on Female Perceptions of Male Dateability.”
That study was limited: The authors worked with about 700 female participants who were all between the ages of 18 and 24. At the time, we speculated that the anti-cat bias would probably be negligible among women in older age brackets, but there were worrying signs, including the idea that men who care for cats aren’t as manly as men who haven’t discovered the joys of hanging with a miniature tiger.
“Women prefer men with ‘good genes,’ often defined as more masculine traits,” they wrote. “Clearly, the presence of a cat diminishes that perception.”
The results, they said, indicate “women are more likely to seek masculinity first, then consider other components of the potential mate.”
The findings were “influenced by” whether the women self-identified “as a dog or a cat person,” although it wasn’t clear just how much that impacted their responses.
Vosche and Kogan speculate “that American culture has distinguished ‘cat men’ as less masculine, perhaps creating a cultural preference for ‘dog men’ among most heterosexual women in the studied age group.”
That study also prompted us to write a fake news post headlined: “Study: Male Actors, Models Are 96% More Handsome When Pictured With Buddy,” alongside the “proof”: A photograph of actor Chris Hemsworth in a fat suit, sans Buddy, and a photo of Hemsworth playing Thor the god of thunder, pictured with Buddy and looking heroic. Haha!
It’s worth pointing out the difference is in perception. There’s nothing to indicate men who care for cats don’t have “good genes” any more than there’s evidence that men without cats have supposedly superior genes. Rather, as the study authors note, the perception is reinforced by cultural biases, at least here in the US.
Likewise, both the Colorado State University study and the Match.com data are looking at first impressions based on photographs, which means women are evaluating the men in question based only on limited visual information, to the exclusion of everything else that factors into whether one person views another as attractive.
We don’t know if the same biases hold true in other situations. For example, how would women respond to men who are out and about walking their cats on harnesses? How would they respond to a man who casually mentions he’s got a cat back home?
The Match data also cuts both ways, to the detriment of women. While straight men with cats receive five percent fewer “likes” than other men, straight women with cats suffer an even larger perception penalty, receiving seven percent fewer “likes,” probably due to the “crazy cat lady” stereotype.
Some people think that makes perfect sense:
“[T]his goes for both men and women – having a cat often means you’re addicted to caffeine, on SSRI’s [sic], love to binge-watch netflix, zero libido, cry a lot, late night ben and jerry’s pint, etc.,” Mahbod Moghadam wrote in a Feb. 12 Facebook post in response to the WSJ story.
Mahbod Moghadam. I know that name. Where do I know that name from?
I say “clowned.” Esquire says “humiliated.” In reality, neither word captures Moghadam’s so-cringeworthy-it’s-hard-to-watch appearance on the show. Believing he’s there to be photographed and interviewed by an Italian fashion photographer named Gio Monaldo (Baron-Cohen in disguise), Moghadam is legendarily awful in the segment:
In the middle of the photoshoot, Gio compliments Moghadam repeatedly, calling him cool. He then asks he to “do something like a black guy.” Seemingly without missing a beat, Moghadam makes the Blood sign and mimes shooting a gun at the camera while saying “pop, pop.” Of course a lot of editing goes into Who Is America?‘s segments, but there’s really no excuse for that.
Much like with the Olympios interview, Cohen then persuaded Moghadam to pose with a green screen so he can photoshop the founder feeding starving children. In the middle of the shoot, Gio stops, convincing his muse that he needs to make his penis look bigger. Naturally the only solution to this is to stuff the arm of a babydoll down his pants. Moghadam never seems to protest any of this, not even when an intentionally racist Gio swaps out the white babydoll arm for an African-American one.
I’d link the footage, because there’s no way I can do justice to how awful it is, but miraculously it looks like it’s disappeared. Indeed, Moghadam comes off looking so bad in the segment that it looks like he’s gone to incredible lengths to get every clip of it removed from sites like Youtube and DailyMotion. If that guy is the kind of person who thinks men with cats are less masculine, then we’ve got nothing to worry about.