Why are women so materialistic? (and how to deal with it.)

1.) Princess Disease Materialism

          As an Asian man living in South East Asia, I’ve come across many negative stereotypes of Asian women. The most famous stereotype is the woman with Princess Syndrome, or also known as (公主病) Princess Disease.

         When any man identifies an asian woman with Princess Syndrome or Princess Disease(PD), they usually presume the woman to be arrogant, unfriendly and extremely materialistic.

         Men who date asian women with PD always feel like they’ve come up against a wall. Its usually a one-sided relationship, an unrealistic arrangement and a hopeless pursuit. Nothing seems to work.

      In an article titled “Hey Sisters Get Real or You Will Die Alone”, Alan lists the typical princess-disease traits Hong Kong men claim to be found within Hong Kong women.


“...materialistic, calculating, snobbish, inconsiderate, selfish, ignorant, non-demure and notoriously hard to please….According to them, these are also typical symptoms of a newly-discovered and highly infectious disease known as the “Princess Syndrome” (公主病), …”.


         And not to be counted as a surprise, Hong Kong women with PD just don’t find Hong Kong Men good enough for them.

  And Alan addresses this problem with his own opinion.


“...However, for single women who are still holding their breath waiting for their perfect Prince Charming and won’t settle for anything less, perhaps it is time for YOU to get real: the kind of extremely handsome, tall, fair-skinned, chivalrous and caring Mr Right only exists in Korean soap operas...”


       Alan seems to push the blame of a PD women’s unrealistic expectations for a partner on trendy Korean soap operas. But is that the only and real cause behind a woman’s choice of a long-term partner?

Sociology could tell us more.

        Sociology teaches us that nurture vs nature has a huge effect on the person we become, and the life choices we make.Nature implies the influence our genetics would have on the way we behave. Nuture would imply the influence that family, education, media has over a person’s behavior. It would be interesting to see how big of an effect does nature and nurture have on a specific PD trait: materialism.

        If nurture was to have an effect on women with PD, one big nurture influence would be a woman’s family upbringing. To what extent can an asian woman’s family affect her long-term partner choice?

        If nature was to explain a PD woman’s materialism, this would mean that a woman is genetically wired to choose a partner with wealth and resources.

        The purpose behind looking at nature vs nurture is that I believe the answer that explains PD materialism will allow us to further understand women. And point us in a direction where men won’t feel like women are “notoriously hard to please.”.

        Instead of framing our perspective of PD as a problem we have to solve, we should just begin to view PD as a by-product of nature and nurture factors.

And stop whining.


2.) Confucius says yes to Materialism.

Asian families have a huge impact on the upbringing of their daughters.

This is because in Asian Society, confucianism dictates how societal values and how people should abide by them. .

Confucianism can be defined by its three essential values, filial piety, humaneness and ritual. And through filial piety, asian children are taught that it is always their duty to fulfill their parent’s wishes.

Therefore asian parents could have a great influence over their daughter’s partner choice.  

In the book, Wives, Husbands and Lovers (Marriage and Sexuality in Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Urban China) , the authors bring up stereotypical requirements of finding a husband.


“...According to informants, women’s parents usually voiced explicit requirements for the men, personal virtures, family background, financial conditions…”.

There is an implied dynamic here that a chinese woman is expected to find a partner that will fulfill their parents explicit requirements.

This is expected. However, something interesting appears next.

“...Chinese parent’s were notoriously pragmatic about their daughter’s partner choices, but women sometimes borrowed their parents’ voice to express pragmatic concerns they would not voice themselves….”.


In this excerpt, the authors acknowledge the parent’s influence over a daughter’s partner choice. However, they also acknowledge that women do use their parents’ voice to mask their own concerns.

The authors go on to address the reason behind this act.


“...Attributing some of these concerns to parental pressure could be a way for women to avoid appearing too demanding or materialistic in their own partner choices….”.


What is going on? Do these women actually care about what their parents’ think?

It seems like the women included in this book have developed their own requirements and would use their parents as a buffer rather than compromise their own selection requirements.

The nurture element of filial piety in this situation doesn’t seem to have a huge or direct impact on developing PD materialism.

Maybe there might be something more convincing with what nature does.

3.) Our Ancestors knew about Materialism

In The Evolution of Desire by David M. Buss, a study was conducted across 37 cultures. This study measured what makes a desirable partner for both sexes based on a list of characteristics.

The top characteristic for women was “Love”.


Other top characteristics were Social Status, Economic Capacity, Age, Ambitious and Industriousness, Dependability and Stability, Intelligence, Size and Strength and Good Health.

Economic Capacity(EC) and Ambitious/Industriousness(AMB) are factors that really tie in with PD materialism.

EC and AMB are highly preferred characteristics not because women are shallow or close-minded by nature, but because it is tied closely with our ancestry. Buss’s believes that the preference for any of these characteristics are a by-product of evolution. His explanation on EC gives us a short history lesson.


“...Because ancestral women faced the tremendous burdens of internal

fertilization, a nine-month gestation, and lactation, they would have

benefited tremendously by selecting mates who possessed resources.

These preferences helped our ancestral mothers solve the adaptive

problems of survival and reproduction….”.


What was considered a ancestral partner selection strategy best for survival has now been labelled to what we modern men call “being demanding and materialistic.”. This kind of mindset has to stop as it is toxic.

We should stop thinking of women’s demands as “hard-to-please”, but as a by-product of our ancestry.

The money a woman desires in a man doesn’t make her a shallow or close-minded person, it just makes her a normal heterosexual female. It could just be part of her biology.

I’m not saying men have to tolerate a PD woman’s materialism, however they can learn to embrace it as a by-product of our ancestry.

How? By embracing how our ancestors has impacted men’s selection for their partners.

According to David Buss, the top characteristics that men find important would be youth and physical attractiveness!

If men don’t want to be shamed or judged for wanting younger and more beautiful women, why should men judge or shame women for looking for a man with more resources?

It’s painful to think that women are naturally drawn to resources.. But when such a thought enters our head. Here’s a thought that might help.

If the women of our past were not smart about choosing the most resourceful men for their survival and reproduction, the chances of us existing would be almost zero. .

No more toxic shaming of any woman being demanding and materialistic. Let’s move on and find out what pleases us as men, instead of trying so hard to please “PD women”.