Sexism and Assertive Courtship Strategies

Abstract

The popularity of speed-seduction techniques, such as those described in The Game (Strauss 2005) and advocated in the cable program The Pickup Artist (Malloy 2007), suggests some women respond positively to men’s assertive mating strategies. Drawing from these sources, assertive strategies were operationalized as involving attempts to isolate women, to compete with other men, and to tease or insult women. The present investigation examined whether hostile and benevolent sexism and sociosexuality, the degree to which individuals require closeness and commitment prior to engaging in sex, were associated with the reported use of assertive strategies by men and the reported positive reception to those strategies by women. It was predicted men and women who were more sexist and had an unrestricted sociosexuality would report using more and being more receptive to assertive strategies. Study 1 (N = 363) surveyed a Midwestern undergraduate college student sample, and regression results indicated that sociosexuality was associated with assertive strategy preference and use, but sexism only predicted a positive reception of assertive strategies by women. Study 2 (N = 850) replicated these results by surveying a larger, national U.S. volunteer sample via the internet. In addition to confirming the results of Study 1, regression results from Study 2 indicated that hostile sexism was predictive of reported assertive strategy use by men, suggesting that outside of the college culture, sexism is more predictive of assertive strategy use. Implications for courtship processes and the dating culture are discussed.

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Correspondence to Jeffrey A. Hall.

Appendix A: Dominant Strategy Use and Reception

Appendix A: Dominant Strategy Use and Reception

Instructions for female participants: The following is a list of possible strategies that men use to pick up a woman. Imagine a guy who is interested in you uses the following strategies. Rate how desirable a man is who uses each of the strategies. Please indicate the desirability of the strategies from 1 (not at all desirable) to 7 (very desirable).

Instructions for male participants: Imagine you are going to try to pick up a woman you are interested in. Consider your general approach to picking up women when evaluating the following possible strategies that men use. For each strategy, try to accurately estimate how often you use that strategy when you are trying to pick up a woman from 1 (never) to 7 (all the time)

Compete

  1. 9.

    Compete with other men who are interested in you/her

  2. 10.

    Even if you are/she is with another guy, he tries/you try to pick you/her up

  3. 12.

    If you reject him/she rejects you, he/you wouldn’t give up easily

  4. 13.

    If you get/she gets defensive, he/you wouldn’t let up

Isolate

  1. 4.

    Make/s sexual comments about what he’d/you’d do to you/her

  2. 5.

    Try to get you/her alone

  3. 7.

    Let you/her know he is/you are in control

  4. 8.

    Find out if you/she came to the party alone, so he/you can take control of the situation

Tease

  1. 1.

    Teases you/her

  2. 2.

    Gives you/Give her a hard time

  3. 3.

    Picks on your/Pick on her appearance or behavior

  4. 6.

    Be a little insulting to you/her

  5. 11.

    He acts/You act like a bit of a jerk

  6. 14.

    He makes/You would make a few jokes at your/her expense

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Hall, J.A., Canterberry, M. Sexism and Assertive Courtship Strategies. Sex Roles 65, 840–853 (2011). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-011-0045-y

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Keywords

  • Ambivalent sexism
  • Assertive behaviors
  • Courtship
  • Relationship initiation
  • Sociosexuality