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Study finds insecure men more homophobic

By | 2018-01-15T18:57:20-05:00 August 18th, 2005|News|

ITHACA, NY – Sometimes, stereotypes are true. According to a Cornell University researcher, threaten a man’s masculinity and he will assume more “macho” attitudes, including propensities for gay bashing and supporting the Iraq war.
“I found that if you made men more insecure about their masculinity, they displayed more homophobic attitudes, tended to support the Iraq War more and would be more willing to purchase an SUV over another type of vehicle,” said Robb Willer, a sociology doctoral candidate at Cornell. Willer presented his findings Aug. 15 at the American Sociological Association’s 100th annual meeting in Philadelphia.
Willer administered a gender identity survey to a sample of male and female Cornell undergraduates in the fall of 2004. Participants were randomly assigned to receive feedback that their responses indicated either a masculine or a feminine identity. While women’s responses were unchanged regardless of the feedback they received, men’s reactions “were strongly affected by this feedback,” Willer said.
“Masculinity-threatened men also reported feeling more ashamed, guilty, upset and hostile than did masculinity-confirmed men,” states Willer’s report, “Overdoing Gender: Testing the Masculine Overcompensation Thesis.”
In a separate study, Willer verified that support for the Iraq War, homophobia and interest in purchasing an SUV were all considered “masculine” by study participants.
Willer said he and a colleague are planning additional research on subjects’ attitudes regarding violence toward women using the same method for manipulating masculine insecurity.

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