Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)


Department of Sociology and Anthropology: Sociology

First Advisor

Susan Sprecher


Many people currently find a dating partner online, which at many websites involves viewing the profiles of several users and deciding which to pursue. Considerable social scientific research has studied this new way of seeking dating partners. The purpose of this thesis study was to examine how people believe online dating site users would perceive a man on these sites based on the profile characteristics mentioned regarding femininity and masculinity in combination with a race-based filter (Black or white). These variables were manipulated within a Qualtrics survey with four vignette hypothetical profiles (a white man with a masculine profile, a Black man with a masculine profile, a white man with a feminine profile, and a Black man with a feminine profile). The participants were obtained from three major sources: students in certain sociology classes at a Midwestern public university who were offered extra credit to take the survey, a post made on my social media page, and MTurk, a survey sharing site through Amazon. Each participant was shown one profile at random and told to imagine that the profile they received was posted on a dating website and to answer the questions that followed by thinking of how both heterosexual women and gay men would perceive the profile (one at a time). A final section included questions to measure how the participants would respond to the target. I analyzed those data with multiple Independent t-tests, two ANOVA tests, and one repeated measures-mixed ANOVA. Participants perceived masculine targets as being more sexually attractive and as desired more for a short-term relationship than feminine targets, whereas the feminine target was perceived as having higher friendship attraction than the masculine target. The research also showed that the masculine and Black target was seen as more trustworthy, more likely to be contacted by the users, and more desirable for long-term relationships than the feminine and Black target, whereas the feminine and white target was perceived as more trustworthy, more likely to be contacted by the users, and more desirable for long-term relationships than the masculine and white target. This study will help us understand how people expect online dating site users would judge male users based on the male user’s levels of femininity/masculinity co-constructed alongside race.


Imported from Ploessl_ilstu_0092N_12041.pdf


Page Count