Sex Roles

, Volume 34, Issue 3–4, pp 141–169

Gender and courtship entitlement: Responses to personal ads

  • Erich Goode


Dating and courtship through personal advertisements have been studied only in an extremely limited fashion. Few researchers have sought information about the responses ad placers have received, and only one has placed a bogus ad in order to receive and examine responses. I placed ads in four personal columns in part to determine the relative importance of attractiveness and occupational/financial success in attracting potential dating partners. Men are far more influenced by looks and women, by success. So much is this the case that it is entirely possible that for some men, lower socioeconomic attributes among women are actually seen as desirable. Men are more likely to see dates with more desirable partners as their courtship entitlement; that is, they are more likely to put themselves forward as potential dates for my (fictive) ad placers when, an independent panel of judges determined, they would not be deemed sufficiently desirable partners for them. Moreover, men are more likely to be “minimalists” and “blitzers” in personals-generated courtship, that is, to put forth little effort, and to answer more than one ad. I suggest that a sense of inappropriate entitlement constitutes a form of role overreach — that is, is a feature of the masculine role that clashes with the gender role of women.


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Erich Goode
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SociologyState University of New YorkStony BrookUSA

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