ymf: dear future partner (survey results)
guest post by Gelaina
A while ago, LDS Living magazine ran a survey to find out what qualities Mormon men value in their future/current spouses. They then asked Mormon women what qualities they valued in themselves and compared the results.
The graph is notable for the disparity on the right end between what Mormon women valued in themselves and what men valued in women. Some YMFers were naturally curious how young people who identify as Mormon and feminist would respond differently to a survey like this one. This article is a report on the results of that survey.
For the survey, I included most of the qualities listed in the LDS Living survey, with the exceptions of the highly ambiguous “a good parent” and “a great spouse” (“a great spouse,” really, isn’t what this whole survey is about) as well as “spiritual leader in the home” and “the final decision maker in big matters” because they imply hierarchical relationships and rigid gender roles that I just wasn’t going to bother with. I then added some qualities that YMFers in the past have said are important feminist values and a few qualities that seemed to be standbys on Dear Future Husband lists from Young Women’s (I always included some salacious variant of “good in bed” both because it was important to me and in order to scandalize my YW leaders.)
A total of 79 respondents took the survey. The respondents were self-selected from the Young Mormon Feminists Facebook group. The respondents answered four questions:
1. What is your gender? [Genderqueer, Woman, Man, Other, or Prefer not to say]
2. Which gender(s) are you attracted to? [People, All genders, Multiple genders, Women, Men, or Prefer not to say]
3. How important to you are each of these qualities in a future partner?
4. How important to you are each of these qualities in yourself?
For 3 and 4, the respondents rated each of these qualities on a scale from 1-10, with 1 being the least important and 10 being the most important:
-Good in bed
-Has a sense of humor
-Good with kids
-A good listener
-Takes time for self-care
-Physically protects family
-Makes a difference in the world
-Has a successful career
-Sets and maintains clear boundaries
-Health and physical fitness
These are the results of the survey for all participants, regardless of gender or sexual orientation.
Broken down into genders, here is the graph for 1) what qualities women value in themselves as well as 2) what qualities men who are attracted to women value in women and 3) what qualities those of other genders who are attracted to women value in women.
And finally, here is the graph for 1) what qualities men value in themselves as well as 2) what qualities those who are attracted to men value in men.
1. Overall, people tend to value qualities like making a difference in the world, having a successful career, being an activist, and physically protecting their family more in themselves than they do in their current or future partners.
2. Similar to the men in the LDS Living survey, men in our survey were lukewarm toward women having a successful career, physically protecting the family, and being financially successful–but people who are attracted to men were similarly lukewarm toward these qualities in men.
3. After flipping the importance of “temple worthy” and moving “good with kids” (a less ambiguous version of “a good parent”) down the list a ways, the graphs followed basically the same trajectory as the graph from LDS Living, with similar disparities between what respondents valued in a partner and what respondents valued in themselves toward the right end.
4. Hooray for consent, intelligence, authenticity, and compassion. You just can’t go wrong in the MoFem dating game if you develop these four qualities.
Were there any surprises for you in the results of this survey? What other interesting observations can you make from this data?
Gelaina is from Vancouver, Washington and American Fork, Utah. She is currently studying computer science at the University of Utah. She speaks three languages and likes surprises.
5 Responses to “ymf: dear future partner (survey results)”
Interesting how we feel that’s it’s much more important for our partners to self-care than ourselves.
[…] guest post by Gelaina A while ago, LDS Living magazine ran a survey to find out what qualities Mormon men value in their future/current spouses.… …read more […]
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What always gets me is that the sociological perspective tends to eliminate nature in a person. The traits that men and women are born with that are specific to men and women. The culture is sometimes developed from the nature of things. Like men not valuing women to have successful careers. Part of this is nature, not just cultural development, because it goes hand-in-hand with protecting your family. Protecting your family is an instinct, and the only reason a man would want to protect something is because a man values it in his heart, might, mind, and soul. Therefore he feels ownership of his family as well as love for them. He doesn’t value his woman having a successful career, because he feels that the career is his responsibility.
Thanks for doing the survey and reporting the results here! I think your point is really interesting about men in the LDS Living survey and YMF not being that concerned about women’s careers is a particularly interesting one. As an (attempting to be) feminist man, this is a good wake-up call to me, anyway, that I can do better.
I totally understand why you took them out, but I kinda would’ve liked to have seen the patriarchal questions from the LDS Living survey left in, just because I would have enjoyed seeing them smacked down as unimportant by your respondents. 🙂 (Sorry to complain. This is really a very minor thing, and I know it sometimes bugs me when I write a data-based post and I feel like all I get are responses about other things I should have looked at.)
Oh, and one other point: I haven’t seen the original LDS Living article, but did they really only survey men about what they were looking for in women, and women about what they thought of themselves? I would think that the fact that they didn’t also flip it around and ask women what they were looking for in men, and men what they thought of themselves would make the sexism obvious (women as object, men as subject) even to the LDS Living folks! Yikes!