Australia and Italy are both nations where complex contradictions exist in the current social roles and expectations for women. The current study used the Conformity to Feminine Norms Inventory (CFNI: Mahalik et al. 2005) to compare the endorsement of eight feminine norms (Nice in Relationships, Thinness, Care for Children, Modesty, Domestic, Romantic Relationships, Sexual Fidelity, Invest in Appearance) by samples of Australian and Italian women, and to demonstrate how any observed differences relate to social and historical differences between the two nations. Two hundred forty-six female undergraduate students from an inner-city university on the East coast of Australia and 187 female undergraduate students from two universities in North-East Italy completed the CFNI. Comparisons were made between the two samples on the eight norms that the inventory examines. Italian women endorsed the Domestic and Romantic Relationships norms to a greater degree than Australian women, whereas Australian women endorsed the Nice in Relationships, Modesty and Sexual Fidelity norms to a greater degree than Italian women. Both samples endorsed the Thinness, Care for Children and Invest in Appearance norms to a similar degree. The current results are discussed in terms of other relevant findings regarding women’s roles in the two nations. The results both highlight the need to avoid the assumption that Western cultures are uniform with their expectations of women, while emphasizing the central roles that physical appearance and child-rearing still play in women’s social roles.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2015
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