Breasts Are for Men: Media, Masculinity Ideologies, and Men’s Beliefs About Women’s Bodies
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- Ward, L.M., Merriwether, A. & Caruthers, A. Sex Roles (2006) 55: 703. doi:10.1007/s11199-006-9125-9
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Although masculinity ideology (MI) has been shown to predict men’s sexual risk-taking, less is known about MI’s contribution to men’s beliefs about women and their sexual bodies. Accordingly, we examined associations between masculine ideology, media consumption, and men’s attitudes about women’s reproductive body functions among a sample of 656 undergraduate men. Participants completed measures assessing their endorsement of traditional gender ideologies, their levels of media exposure and engagement, and their attitudes toward childbirth and breastfeeding. It was hypothesized that media use would contribute to traditional MI, and that traditional MI would contribute to negative views about breastfeeding and childbirth. Results supported these individual connections, but not a mediated model. Discussion focuses on implications of these findings for women’s lives.