Sex Roles

, Volume 49, Issue 7–8, pp 379–388 | Cite as

Perceptions of the Woman Who Breastfeeds: The Role of Erotophobia, Sexism, and Attitudinal Variables

  • Gordon B. ForbesEmail author
  • Leah E. Adams-Curtis
  • Nicole R. Hamm
  • Kay B. White


Perceptions of breastfeeding women were studied in a sample of 201 predominately European American college students. Both men and women had very positive perceptions of breastfeeding women as compared to bottlefeeding women. As predicted, erotophobic women and men had less favorable impressions of the breastfeeding woman than did erotophilic individuals. Men, but not women, who scored high on Glick and Fiske's Benevolent Sexism or Hostile Sexism scales (Glick & Fiske, 1996) had more favorable impressions of the breastfeeding woman than did those with low scores. As predicted, this effect was larger for Benevolent Sexism than for Hostile Sexism. No relationships were found between impressions of breastfeeding women and the Hostility Toward Women Scale (Lonsway & Fitzgerald, 1995) or the Trait Guilt and Moral Standards scales (Jones, Schratter, & Kugler, 2000). The results supported hypotheses that sexualization of the breast, discomfort with sexual stimuli, and sexist attitudes are related to perceptions of the breastfeeding woman.

breastfeeding sexism erotophobia 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Gordon B. Forbes
    • 1
    Email author
  • Leah E. Adams-Curtis
    • 1
  • Nicole R. Hamm
    • 1
  • Kay B. White
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Behavioral SciencesMillikin UniversityDecatur

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