This research investigates whether ambivalent sexism impacts individuals’ perceptions of what is appropriate and valued dating behavior, as these perceptions may contribute to the perpetuation of traditional dating scripts. Two hundred seventeen undergraduate students from the Midwestern United States read a gender-stereotypic, gender-counter stereotypic, or egalitarian heterosexual dating vignette. Participants made judgments of appropriateness, warmth, and competence separately for the man and woman on the date. Overall, gender stereotypic dates were evaluated most positively, consistent with previous work suggesting that dating behaviors remain gendered. Evidence of the restrictive nature of the masculine gender role was obtained. Men in egalitarian and counter-stereotypic dating scenarios were evaluated negatively in terms of warmth, competence, and appropriateness, thus potentially experiencing backlash effects. Indeed, the man in the gender counter-stereotypic condition was rated as less competent, warm, and appropriate than the women, but the man in the gender stereotypic condition was rated as more competent, warm, and appropriate than the woman. Consistent with predictions, those high in ambivalent sexism had more negative reactions to gender counter-stereotypic dating scenarios than those low in ambivalent sexism. However, ambivalent sexism did not predict different reactions towards gender stereotypic and egalitarian dating scenarios, and egalitarian dates were rated as most typical regardless of participants’ ambivalent sexism. Thus, greater acceptance of gender counter-stereotypic dates was observed among those low in ambivalent sexism, and even those high in ambivalent sexism were accepting of egalitarian dating practices.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Feb 28, 2015
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