2010 August 20 Friday
Theory On Why Beauty Scores Are Inflated

Recently I asked: Why Are HotOrNot.com Ratings So Inflated? I found none of the answers satisfactory. I have a new theory.

While reading the comments of Roissy's post "What Should She Do" I was thinking about the range of scores assigned to the girl who was the subject of the post. Roissy's readers scored her from 4 to 8. That's quite a spread. The 8 score is ridiculous. So what makes guys score her that high? Beauty standards are remarkably objective. Relative beauty is less debated than absolute score numbers. That's key.

My theory: Guys do not want to think they have to settle. So they inflate the scores of the women they think they might have a shot with so that they can feel good about being attractive to them. They want to find a 6 to be an 8 so they can fancy the "8". They are not consciously aware they are doing this.

Women must do the same thing as I'm told that attractiveness rating sites also show inflated scores for men.

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2010 August 20 08:40 PM  Human Nature Mating

Dave in Seattle said at August 21, 2010 1:05 AM:

You're talking about a generation that grew up where every kid got a trophy and the lowest grade was a 'B'. The Millennials have been told they're special and they believe it. But really the simplest explanation may be what someone here suggested earlier: manipulation by web site operators trying to boost traffic.

coldequation said at August 21, 2010 9:29 AM:

What's unsatisfactory about the comments? The scores are obviously bogus, rigged. You can tell by comparing them to the harsh scores of a decade ago at the same site, or the scores at other websites.

Randall Parker said at August 21, 2010 10:37 AM:


The average web surfer of today is considerably less autistic than the average web surfer of 10 years ago. You are not comparing apples and apples. The first adopters were the techies.

Randall Parker said at August 21, 2010 10:43 AM:


Other sites? What's a site with realistic scores?

bbartlog said at August 22, 2010 4:48 PM:

I would agree with coldequation. The judgments when hotornot first set up shop were fairly harsh. A change in internet demographics is not enough to boost scores four or five points (which is more or less what happened). Really, I remember visiting the site early on and feeling like the raters were being a little too hard on the girls; went back when I saw this discussion and had to lol at some of the pictures rated 8 or better (it used to be damn near impossible to reach that, now grainy pictures of washed up 40something housewives are in that category).
I would assume that whoever runs the site determined that it was not in their interest to actually present the true averages. To begin with I think that if your site relies on free pictures submitted by women, it will help you if it isn't perceived as a harsh and judgmental venue. On the judger's side I would expect that some guys will feel like they are much choosier than average when they put a 3 rating on a picture that supposedly has an 8, i.e. there may be some ego massage on that side too.

Randall Parker said at August 22, 2010 7:31 PM:


If they really are boosting the scores then that is unfortunate. The site's scores are uninteresting. I'd like to know what most people really think a 4 or 5 or 6 looks like.

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