Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Gold Digging Psychology

Gold digger (Urban dictionary, 2010):

“A girl that is only with a man because she wants his money; she'll spend it on jewelery, clothes, spa treatments, etc. Once he goes broke she'll go for another man that is rich or just plain financially stable.”

Popular culture has its many villains including gold-diggers. What may be coined as an evolutionary instinct has become a societal parasite to affluent men. In more primitive cultures it is widely accepted that women are biologically and therefore sexually motivated to seek out men that can provide to ensure that offspring will not only flourish but survive. Yet somehow, in modern society the woman as “gold-digger” is a villianesse. Aspects of why modern woman is motivated towards affluent provision will be discussed.
Maslow theorized on human motivation. Basic needs must be met before one moves onward to higher-order intellectual needs such as fulfillment in one's work or purpose in life. While that makes for a great theory on motivation, it doesn't illustrate much in what biological drives are inherent or perhaps intrinsic to get onward to the top of the hierarchy of needs. Indeed, if there might be a shortcut, why not take it? Placing morality aside, enter the idea of the gold digger.
The 1989 study conducted by Buss interprets a widely-accepted cultural value that transcends over 10,000 men and women across almost all continents. In this sexual motivation study it was found time and again that men highly valued good looks and limited sexual experience, while women sought good financial prospects and attributes of ambition and industriousness. (Rajecki et al., 1991; Sprecher et al.; 1994). Should this sexual motivational theory be considered valid given the scope, magnitude, and cross-cultural findings? It appears that beyond cultural norms, both women and men are hard-wired to seek certain, fundamental biological characteristics in their mate choosing practices.
Furthermore, why is their a cultural distaste for men to seek out or prefer women of youth? Why is it even worse that women seek out men that provide? Indeed, perhaps inherent to American, individualist cultural norms we actually are indoctrinated to vilify and despise those that cannot provide for themselves.
This is largely a hypothesis as to why women as gold diggers are despised more so than the male that prefers his young mate. He ideally has provision for both he and the mate he attracts. Should the woman have a scarcity of her own individual providings, her motivation and morality is suspect. Indeed this cultural condition wouldn't have as much stigma to it if the playing field for economic provision were more level. “As of 2010, men continue to out earn women in virtually every occupation for which data is available.” (National Committee on Pay Equity, 2010 p. 2)


Buss, D. M. (1989). Sex differences in human mate preferences; Evolutionary hypotheses tested in 37 cultures. Behavioral and Brain Sciences, 12, 1-14.
National Committee on Pay Equity. (2010) Document retrieved 5/17/2010 at:
Rajecki, D. W., Bledsoe, S. B., & Rasmussen, J. L., (1991) Successful personal ads: Gender differences and similarities in offers, stipulations, and outcomes. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 12, 457-469.

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