Women’s Ideals for Masculinity Across Social Contexts: Patriarchal Agentic Masculinity is Valued in Work, Family, and Romance but Communal Masculinity in Friendship
- 1.1k Downloads
The present study explores women’s ideals for masculinity in different social contexts (work, family/romance, and friendship) and compares how traditional (agentic) and non-patriarchal (communal) masculinity are valued in each context. Survey data were collected from one international (N = 159) and three South African samples (Ns = 86, 100, 161) of women. Results show that although women value patriarchal ideals for masculinity, agentic and communal versions of masculinity are valued differently across contexts. Specifically, traditional agentic versions of masculinity were most valued in the contexts most important to the long-term production of viable identity (family/romance and work). It was only in friendship that non-patriarchal communal masculinity was consistently idealized over traditional agentic masculinity. The results are discussed in relation to hegemonic masculinity (HM) and system justification theory (SJT). Congruent with SJT, women idealized versions of masculinity that may not be in their own or their group’s best interests, but in line with HM, the results emphasized the fluidity of masculinity and that the same individual can simultaneously idealize different versions of masculinity depending on the context. Because stereotypes are both explanations for the status quo and warrants for behaving in one way or another, these collective ideals for masculinity and contextual boundaries may be important obstacles to achieving gender equity.
KeywordsMasculinity Gender identity Romance Family Professional identity Friendship Sex role attitudes
The present research was supported by funding from the South African National Research Foundation (grant #TTK1206141295).
Compliance with Ethical Standards
All studies reported on in this paper received full ethical review and approval from the responsible ethics committee prior to data collection.
Conflict of Interest
None of the authors have any conflicts of interest to declare.
All participants participated voluntarily, with clear information about the risks and benefits of participation and fully aware of their right to terminate participation at any time.
- Bakan, D. (1966). The duality of human existence: An essay on psychology and religion. England: Rand McNally.Google Scholar
- Baxter, J., Haynes, M., Western, M., & Hewitt, B. (2013). Gender, justice and domestic work: Life course transitions and perceptions of fairness. Longitudinal and Life Course Studies, 4(1), 78–85.Google Scholar
- Being a Strong Independent Woman. (2017, March 3). Retrieved from https://www.facebook.com/Being-a-Strong-Independent-Woman-185781448134898. Accessed 24 Aug 2011.
- Cikara, M., Lee, T. L., Fiske, S. T., Glick, P., & Jost, J. T. (2009). Ambivalent sexism at home and at work: How attitudes toward women in relationships foster exclusion in the public sphere. In A. C. Kay & H. Thorisdottir (Eds.), Social and psychological bases of ideology and system justification (pp. 444–462). New York: Oxford University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Connell, R. W. (1987). Gender and power. Stanford: Stanford University Press.Google Scholar
- Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Berkeley: University of California Press.Google Scholar
- de Vaus, D. A. (2002). Surveys in social research (5th ed.). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Eagly, A. H., Wood, W., & Diekman, A. B. (2000). Social role theory of sex differences and similarities: A current appraisal. In T. Trautner & H. M. Eckes (Eds.), The developmental social psychology of gender (pp. 123–174). New York: Psychology Press.Google Scholar
- Haslam, S. A., Turner, J. C., Oakes, P. J., Reynolds, K. J., & Doosje, B. (2002). From personal pictures in the head to collective tools in the world: How shared stereotypes allow groups to represent and change social reality. In C. Mcgarty, V. Y. Yzerbyt, & R. Spears (Eds.), Stereotypes as explanations: The formation of meaningful beliefs about social groups (pp. 157–185). New York: Cambridge University Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Hot, Cute or OK. (2017, March 3). Retrieved from https://apps.facebook.com/hotcuteokay/. Accessed 24 Aug 2011.
- Jost, J. T. (2001). Outgroup favoritism and the theory of system justification: A paradigm for investigating the effects of socioeconomic success on stereotype content. In G. B. Moskowitz (Ed.), Cognitive social psychology: The Princeton symposium on the legacy and future of social cognition (pp. 89–102). Mahwah: Lawrence Erlbaum.Google Scholar
- LimeSurvey Project Team / Carsten Schmitz. (2012). LimeSurvey: An open source survey tool. Hamburg. Retrieved from http://limesurvey.org.
- Mehta, C. M., & Dementieva, Y. (2016). The contextual specificity of gender: Femininity and masculinity in college students’ same- and other-gender peer contexts. Sex Roles. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1007/s11199-016-0632-z
- Peele, M. (2009). New worlds of friendship: The early twentieth century. In B. Caine (Ed.), Friendship: A history (pp. 279–216). London: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Reicher, S., Hopkins, N., & Condor, S. (1997). Stereotype construction as a strategy of influence. In R. Spears, P. J. Oakes, N. Ellemers, & S. A. Haslam (Eds.), The social psychology of stereotyping and group life (pp. 94–118). Oxford: Blackwell Publishing.Google Scholar
- Rummel, R. J. (1970). Applied factor analysis. Evanston: Northwestern University Press.Google Scholar