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Do you find yourself gravitating towards dating a certain type? We find out what science and sociology have to say about who we choose to be our sexual mate, and look at whether racial stereotypes are at play - and whether that matters. Genre News and Current Affairs. Expires days left. See also Have an idea for the show?
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Season contains 42 episodes Season contains episodes Season contains episodes Season contains episodes Season contains 39 episodes Season contains 42 episodes Season contains 40 episodes. Take a quick 2 minute survey. Some of this is, for example, they tend to be more highly educated but a lot of it has to do with exposure.
So what we find with interracial couples is they often live in urban environments, large cities where they're exposed to people of many other backgrounds. Okay, Ida you've been in Australia since you were for four, is that right? I was going to say I'm going to shoot the exposure theory out because I've been exposed, I obviously had lived here all my life, I lived here when, you know, there was a minority, a real minority of Africans.
There's more migration now but back in the '80's certainly not. I tend to break it up into two, two things. I think finding other races attractive, that superficial initial sexual attraction or physical attraction, it doesn't matter to me. If I think you're handsome, you're handsome. And where does that lead you? Does that lead you into a particular direction? It leads me to a preference of dating, yeah, races that look like myself so brown skins. My preference is for Caucasian white Australian males and I'm from a migrant background so I immigrated quite young, and you're told very quickly you've got to, you know, you've got to work twice as hard, you've got be, you know, twice as good.
There's this "west is best" mentality, and even just the physical value of beauty, even though they don't - like my parents would never say, you know, being white is beautiful. It would be things like get out of the sun, you're getting darker and you know, that sort of mentality that actually is more of a classist thing because for a lot of Asian people being dark skinned is actually associated with working labour class. Yes, because in my youth I would have interpreted that as get out of the sun, you're getting darker, darker is ugly, look at all my white friends, they're not dark, they're white.
When we talk about issues of dating, particularly in kind of a racialised context, it's in the broader context of race relations. Ian, you've done facial attraction research. What are the drivers for physical attraction between people and does race come into it at all? Attraction is a very complex thing, but from an evolutionary perspective, being attracted to someone is thought of essentially as a way of identifying an appropriate mate, someone who is healthy and someone who could potentially give you healthy children.
And where kind of the cross cultural sorts of inter-ethnic aspects of this might come in is that by having children with someone who is less related to you, you actually reduce the chances of your offspring having certain genetic diseases. Okay, Bill Von Hippel in Brisbane, you're an evolutionary psychologist, what do you think are the drivers for sexual attraction and where does race fit in?
Well, there is no evolutionary basis for being attracted to somebody of a different race because in the kind of evolutionary timeframe where these preferences would have evolved, we never actually encountered anyone of a different race. It's very much a privilege of the modern world that I can meet somebody who their group lived thousands of miles away from my own. In my lifetime, 10, 20, 30 thousand years ago I would only encounter people who looked quite a bit like me.
So in response to the earlier question you're asking Ian, and part of the reason why we haven't evolved to prefer other races, even though in fact he's absolutely right, we get a real benefit genetically out of having offspring with people of other races, is that we don't have a history of doing so. As it stands now, we simply are attracted to people by virtue of whether we personally find them attractive, whether they have the features that we personally are looking for.
Okay, is there any evidence that race in itself is a driver for people's attraction to other people? No, in general, no, and in fact even people who claim they prefer X or don't prefer it, often find that when life throws them a curve ball, they meet somebody that they actually are very attracted to who is a member of a different race and they didn't want this for themselves but that's the way it goes.
John Carroll, you used a dating website, Filipino Cupid, to find a wife. Why did you specifically want a Filipino wife? Because from my understanding, it wasn't going to - there wasn't too many Chinese that could speak English very well, there wasn't too many Vietnamese people, Thai people, but Filipino yeah. So why that, that group, why Asian? Why were you looking only at Asian women and not more broadly at English speaking women?
Prior to meeting Edelisa I'd had like a decade plus long relationship with a lady from Malaysia, she'd been here a number of years, could speak English very well, and despite the fact it didn't work out I had a lot of good positive memories of the relationship itself so that basically set it in train for me. I said that's what I'm looking for, that's what I want and that's why I went down this road. Were there particular qualities that you associated with Asian women and with Filipino women apart from the language issue? Yeah, well the stereotype, one of the stereotypes that is bandied around, well Asian women treat western men better than a white woman might and the belief is, is that yes, that's true, I believe that to be true.
Very attentive, very attentive, yeah. But really made you feel, you know, you're, yeah, it made you feel good, complete, yeah. Yeah, that one relationship so I said well, yeah, I'd like to, go down that road and that's why I constantly chose, you know, to find someone who I could speak with in my own language, who was attractive. Attractiveness is important to me, let who get that point clear, I think for a lot of men that is the first thing that they look at when trying to find somebody, is she attractive or is she not?
And it was just a snap decision, I just picked up the phone off the counter and just went to the site, will you marry me, boom and that was it. And Edelisa, how did you feel when that Yahoo message came through? I ask him, like are you serious about it? Because it's like that fast, you know, to ask me. We've been chatting for three months only and then he already asked me to get married.
Insight: Dating Race – Jennifer | SBS TV & Radio Guide
They look after my sisters, I mean they are good husbands, better than a Filipino husband. Is there a Filipino man in the audience here somewhere please? But I want to explore this a little bit more though, what do you mean they look after you better, in what way? I just found him like, they are responsible in the way that they are, like that's it, they look after, like also the kids, send them to a good school and they provide everything the kids want.
Interesting, Sophie, the idea that Edelisa has is that Caucasian men are better at providing those things and your view is that, you know, you like it in Asian men. I guess that I wouldn't broadly say that all Asian people are the same, it's a big continent. What I found is quite true, is that in my opinion, in my case, Korean, my Korean husband there, Han, he's been a very responsible father, very responsible husband, really interested in providing for our family and very interested in having a lifelong marriage.
I want to ask you two about the actual physical attraction between the two of you. I mean at this point where you were asked about getting married Edelisa, were you in love, had you fallen in love with this person on the other end of Skype or not? Like we've been chatting three times a day on Skype, for three months, like there's already the spark. Like, then when he asked me to marry him, so that's why I did not say no, because I already feel something that I like him and then I'm also like attracted to him.
So how long was it before you actually met one another in person? So three months after the proposal you actually met one another person? Jennifer, to what extent do social reasons drive people's choices? If you look at interracial marriage rates and coupling rates you tend to find a big difference if you look at, for example, whites and Asian unions, you find a big gender difference. So in both cases white women are less likely to be married to Asian men and white men are more likely to be married to Asian women, and there are a lot of different theories for why this.
So for example, some westernised men may look for women from other cultures that are perhaps more family traditional and want to marry a woman who, subscribes to more conservative gender roles and that certainly seems to be the case with your one guest there and thinking about having a Filipino wife. Whereas many westernised women, white women, may feel that marrying an Asian man or a Latino man, that they will have a more patriarchal approach and be less supportive of their more feminist type of culture. I find like there's a huge difference in how Caucasian men treat women.
So just for example, when I, my English ex cooked me dinner, he would cook me dinner like from the start to finish and even like help cleaning the dishes and even like pamper me and do everything for me. But my Indonesian ex would just expect me to cook dinner and then let me do the dishes and then he'll just like play games on the internet.
That's the idea of having like a romantic dinner. Okay, I think we've got to be very careful not to stereotype here. You know we're talking about people's individual experiences. Why do you have Race specific events? We program our events based on preference.
So popularity, if enough people suggest a certain type of event, that's an event that we'll put on. If it's popular or successful and when I say successful we talk about a higher match rate, then it's an event we keep on running. One of our really popular events is Asian women speed dating. It has a very high match rate so we ran an event last night that had percent match rate, meaning that every person who came met at least one person that they matched with.