Little is known about the gender-based stereotypes of the emotion of disgust. We hypothesized that when addressing core (gross-out) disgust specifically, men would be perceived as lower in disgust matching masculine roles and women would be perceived as higher in disgust consonant with feminine gender roles. In Study 1, we modified and validated the Gender Role Expectations of Pain graphical scale (GREP, Robinson et al. 2001) to address disgust and gave it and a disgust sensitivity scale to 136 (48 men) undergraduates from the northeastern United States. Rating disgust sensitivity of themselves and stereotypical men and women, both genders rated men low in disgust sensitivity compared to a typical woman and women high in disgust compared to a typical man. A significant trend for men higher in masculinity to be less willing to show their disgust was also seen. This exact pattern of significant results was found in an additional sample of 134 students (37 men) from the northeastern U.S. on an online version of the GREP. Study 2 examined gender role expectations for comparison emotions of anger and amusement in a different set of undergraduates from the northeastern U.S. Anger showed a trend toward an opposite pattern of ratings than for disgust; no gender biases were expected or seen for amusement, a control emotion. Thus, the stereotypical profile of high disgust reported for women did not merely reflect general overarching gender-based stereotypes of emotion, but gender-based expectations specific to core (gross-out) disgust. We suggest awareness of gender role expectations of disgust may play a role in observed gender differences reported for disgust.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Apr 4, 2013
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