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Tags: firefighters | paramedics | tomei | vinnie

Learning More About a Person Best Way to Decide in Life, Love

uniforms as magnets of and for attraction

(Everett Collection Inc./Dreamstime.com)

Wendy L. Patrick By Saturday, 04 June 2022 11:39 AM EDT Current | Bio | Archive

What Your Job Messages About Your Mate Value

What is it about firefighters and paramedics so many people find so attractive?

Is it the idea of fearlessly running toward danger, swooping in and saving lives?

Is it the uniforms themselves?

After all, many of us bought our toddlers fireman’s hats and First Aid kits when they were barely old enough to walk.

There must be more to all of this.

And what about women?

We are way past the days where women are automatically stereotyped as nurses or flight attendants. Yet, where do we expect them to work?

Marisa Tomei made Hollywood history as a tough-talking amateur mechanic in "My Cousin Vinnie," while explaining that her "real job" was as an out of work hairdresser.

Interestingly, according to some research, while her automotive expertise might make her more credible as a witness, it might not make her more endearing as a wife.

It turns out that ideally, at least some people prefer partners whose selected profession is stereotypically gender congruent.

Prioritizing Partner Preference of Profession

Jingjing Song and Yanfen Liu ( in 2021) examined what makes an "ideal" partner, considering gender-occupation congruence.

Using a sample of 442 heterosexual university students, they examined the preference of Chinese adults for long-term partners who possessed an occupation that was either gender-congruent or gender-incongruent.

They had their subjects evaluate opposite-sex targets in either traditionally female or male occupations.

The results?

They found that Chinese adults endorsed traditional occupational roles in selecting what they deemed to be ideal partners. They found that men viewed women in what were described as "feminine occupations" to be more sexually loyal, oriented towards family, and more likely to treat their partners as "heads of the household" as compared with women who had masculine occupations.

They also found that women viewed men in traditional male occupations as more "work-oriented" and likely to head the household, but also less family-oriented and sexually loyal.

Song and Liu (ibid.) note that women who chose what were traditionally male occupations were perceived as less adept at parenting, less able to care for partners, and less likely to view the male as head of the household.

They also were perceived as less likely to be sexually loyal — a perception that we can image might have far reaching implications, whether true or not.

But these are just perceptions.

The question remains: would these results translate in other parts of the world, or do people broadly construe stereotypically male or female professions cross-culturally?

Work-Life Balance

Obviously, many people work to live not live to work. Consequently, they chose jobs that afford them the earning potential they need to provide for a family. But at what expense? If stereotypes create unfair expectations regarding family responsibility, a career choice may have more impact than just a salary.

Song and Liu note that their study findings can indeed inform career decisions, and how such decisions might impact the selection of life-partners.

But in addition to considering the extent to which their findings might be transferable to other cultures, we also consider time frames.

For example, is a female mechanic viewed differently today with respect to her fitness as a potential wife and mother as she would have been 20 years ago?

If so, how many other professions might be stereotyped differently today than they would have been in years past?

The bottom line?

There is more to someone than the way they choose to earn a living, and we can’t judge a book by its professional or other occupational cover. Perhaps learning more about the person behind the profession is a better way to make decisions in life and love.

This preceding article was originally published in Psychology Today.

Wendy L. Patrick, JD, MDiv, Ph.D., is an award-winning career trial attorney and media commentator. She is host of "Live with Dr. Wendy" on KCBQ, and a daily guest on other media outlets, delivering a lively mix of flash, substance, and style. Read Dr. Wendy L. Patrick's Reports — More Here.

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WendyLPatrick
There is more to someone than the way they choose to earn a living, and we can’t judge a book by its professional or other occupational cover. Perhaps learning more about the person behind the profession is a better way to make decisions in life and love.
firefighters, paramedics, tomei, vinnie
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2022-39-04
Saturday, 04 June 2022 11:39 AM
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