Women who prefer physically formidable and dominant mates (PPFDM) have a tendency to feel more at risk of crime regardless of the situation or risk factors present, suggests a new research.
The research showed that women who are attracted to dominant men generally feel more at risk of being victimised, even when their risk of victimisation is actually low.
PPFDM appears to be associated with women’s self-assessed vulnerability. Women with strong PPFDM feel relatively more at risk, fearful, and vulnerable to criminal victimisation compared to their counterparts, regardless of whether there are situational risk factors present, explained the researchers.
“Our research suggests that the relationship between feelings of vulnerability, as measured by fear of crime, and women’s preference for physically formidable and dominant mates is stable, and does not update according to environmental circumstances or relative level of protection needed,” said Hannah Ryder, researcher from the University of Leicester in Britain.
Further, women’s fear of crime significantly changed in response to crime signals — for example location and time of day — and that overall fear of crime was related to PPFDM.
However, the relationship between PPFDM and fear did not vary in relation to risk situation, perpetrator gender, or crime type, suggesting that the psychological mechanisms underlying the relationship between perceived risk of victimisation and PPFDM are general in nature.
The study, published in the journal Evolution and Human Behaviour, involved assessing whether the relationship between fear of crime and PPFDM was higher for crimes that cause relatively higher physical and psychological pain, such as sexual assault.
Across two studies in the lab and field, women observed images and real life situations that varied in the risk of crime, such as crime hotspots and safe spots, and were asked to rate their perceived risk of victimisation — a measure of fear of crime — of various crimes.
This included male — and female — perpetrated physical assault and robbery and male-perpetrated rape.
In both studies, the research team also administered a scale that measured women’s PPFDM, and assessed the association between women’s PPFDM score and their risk perception scores.