From Reddit's "Today I Learned" section:

TIL Women find 80% of men below-average looking - according to research based on OkCupid's 7 million users.

  1. Is this an accurate summary of OKCupid's research?
  2. Is OKCupid's research valid? (other than the obvious criticism that their data has a built in selction bias of being confined to OKCupid userbase).
  3. Is that conclusion corroborated by other research?

A more general form of the claim is discussed here (basically, that Pareto principle applies to dating).

  • Couldn't quite figure out how to tag this, feel free to retag
    – user5341
    Jul 13, 2017 at 1:21
  • Tangentially, that same link showed that men's ratings were a bell shaped symmetrical curve with what looked like normal(ish) distribution.
    – user5341
    Jul 13, 2017 at 1:22
  • 7
    Maybe good-looking men don't use OKCupid, because they can easily get dates without it??
    – GEdgar
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:26
  • 3
    @GEdgar - given general dating dynamics, that statement is probably even more applicable to women than men (there's generally less women than men on such sites iirc)
    – user5341
    Jul 13, 2017 at 13:29
  • 6
    One question to ask is whether "looks" are normally distributed. That is, there are relatively few good-looking people, but they are very good looking, so they skew the average.
    – jamesqf
    Jul 13, 2017 at 18:28

1 Answer 1


Yes, see the original article at OkCupid:
Your Looks and Your Inbox, How men and women perceive attractiveness

As to the specific questions :

  1. Seems to be an accurate description
  2. Depends on the definition of valid - the methodology seems to support the narrow claims, but because of selection bias and other factors, not necessarily strong enough to support drawing broader conclusions.
  3. I would go with a weak yes here, there is some psychological research in the area, some of which points to celebrity culture and other things distorting the standard, but there doesn't seem to be something definitive.
  • 5
    Please add the relevant quotes from that article.
    – user22865
    Jul 13, 2017 at 10:03
  • 9
    Can you provide references to the research mentioned in your answer to #3?
    – jwodder
    Jul 13, 2017 at 12:42
  • See for example link.springer.com/article/10.1023%2FA%3A1014815725852?LI=true, there is a lot of research in the area
    – Ofir
    Jul 16, 2017 at 7:44
  • The OkCupid rates photos of men. It doesn't account for men having poorer photos. May 3, 2018 at 11:01

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