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I've been told by people higher up than me that rounded corners are feminine and women like rounded corners. I'm female and I find this idea strange. But I don't want to debate based on bias and personal anecdotes. I'm looking for some actual user data supporting or debunking the idea that women prefer rounded corner designs.

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The statement that rounded shapes are feminine does not imply females like them. It's a generalization bases on gender stereotypes that led to referring to sharp and edged shapes as male and round and soft ones as female. – kontur Sep 28 '13 at 22:24
I agree that just because something is described as "feminine" doesn't mean women prefer it. But someone in our company reached the conclusion that we need to round the corners of every element because they believe women like rounded corners. – meobyte Sep 29 '13 at 21:18
I put 24px borders on my userscript dropdown, to make it stand out from the rest of the page, but my girlfriend mocked them! So there's a counter-example for you. I didn't remove them though; I'm still hoping she'll learn to love them... :P – joeytwiddle Aug 13 '14 at 2:22
up vote 4 down vote accepted

In essence, there is a theory to support that women prefer rounded borders, but not because they are women - simply because they are humans.

The Contour Bias, often contributed to this research, states that people tend to favour objects with contours over objects with sharp angles or points. But there is no indication of gender differences (later research asserts that this has been observed with both female and male subjects; also related research clearly exhibit gender differences when these exist, like male's stronger preference for symmetry).

I think your superiors mixed the Contour Bias with the Anthropomorphic Form principle, in which human-like curves increase the appeal of designs (like with the Mae West bottle below). But I would not consider rounded corners as anything Anthropomorphic.

The Anthropomorphic Form principle is partly explained by the resemblance of curvy designs to female breasts and pregnancy bumps. There is also a mentioning of some differences in how the two genders interpret the design (for instance, sexuality for men, nuturing for females).

The Mae West Coca Cola Design Bottle

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