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Gender: Feminism and Masculinity

Essay by   •  October 20, 2010  •  Research Paper  •  1,343 Words (6 Pages)  •  1,792 Views

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In a recent meta-analysis by Kite and Whitley in 1996, it was confirmed that men hold more negative attitudes toward homosexuality than do women. They also determined that men's attitudes toward homosexuality are particularly negative when the person being rated is a gay man rather than a lesbian. Their review of the literature also highlighted the complex nature of attitudes toward homosexuality noted by others. In order to understand the constructive attitudes of homosexuality, there are several factors that include beliefs that gay people are threatening or dangerous, etc. I reviewed Millham, San Miguel, & Kellogg, 1976; Plasek & Allard, 1984. These complexities, and how they influence sex differences in attitudes toward homosexuality, remain largely unexplored. The present research examines two issues: (1) whether sex differences in attitudes toward homosexuality vary by attitude component and (2) whether, within each component, the sex of the person being rated influences these attitudes.

Kite and Whitley's (1996) have reviewed data that heterosexuals' evaluations of gay men and lesbians are influenced by a generalized gender belief system. According to this model, we as humans have already have characterized gender reflect the belief that gender-associated attributes are bipolar: What is masculine is not feminine and vice versa. We also tend to possess stereotypically masculine physical characteristics and to adopt stereotypically masculine roles. Similarly, the knowledge that a person is stereotypically feminine on one dimension leads to the inference that the person is stereotypically feminine on other dimensions I think that as a society, our beliefs about homosexuality are influenced by a gender belief system. Men are in stereotypically feminine terms are more likely to be judged homosexual than are men described in stereotypically masculine terms. At a lesser note, women are described too as stereotypes

in masculine terms and are judged lesbian than women described in stereotypically feminine terms In some gender-based judgments of gay people reflect the belief that male homosexuals are similar to female heterosexuals and that female homosexuals are similar to male heterosexuals (e.g., Kite & Deaux, 1987; Storms, Stivers, Lambers, & Hill, 1981). As Kite (1994) has argued, separating gender-role beliefs from attitudes toward homosexuality is extremely difficult and perhaps impossible.

If gender-role beliefs influence people's perceptions of homosexuality, why would the sexes differ in their evaluations of gay people? One explanation comes from considering the consequences of men's versus women's gender-role violations. Although all sex-role deviants are disliked relative to gender-role conformists In contrast, women are allowed more fluid gender roles and are less likely to perceive pressure to reject gender-role nonconformists. That society responds differently to men's and women's gender-role nonconformity can be explained by the generally higher status associated with the American male gender role compared with the American female gender role As a dominant still man socieity, men have more to lose if they are viewed as gay, versus lesbians. Women lesbians may be allowed greater gender role flexibility and may be allowed to hold more tolerant. This should be true regardless of the sex of the gender-role violator.

The gender role analysis leads to feelings that men will be especially condemning of gay men, who violate the male gender role. In most cases, men to respond negatively toward gay men In contract, gay men may see lesbianism in erotic terms, and the positive value associated with this eroticism may positively influence their attitudes toward lesbians (Louderback & Whitley, 1997). In general,women's roles are viewed as lower in status than are men's, prejudice toward lesbians should not be as strongly culturally sanctioned as is prejudice toward gay men. Therefore, both sexes may be relatively accepting of lesbians. We must under the literature and attitudes toward homoseuxlity. One important aspect of the present research is to consider sex differences in attitudes toward lesbians and gay men and to examine systematically whether the pattern of the interaction between the sex of rater and the sex of target varies by attitude component.

Sex Differences in Attitude ComponentsKite and Whitley (1996) argued that gender-associated beliefs should be more likely to influence some components of attitudes toward homosexuality than other components. The results of their meta-analysis showed that ratings of homosexual persons appeared to be based on the gender belief system. In contrast, they argued that the failure to find sex differences in attitudes toward homosexual civil rights occurred because people's ratings on those dimensions were influenced by more global beliefs about civil rights than about gender roles per se. Because attitudes toward homosexuality may serve different functions for different people (e.g., Herek, 1986b), and because different types of judgments about an attitude object can be based on different sources of information (e.g., Esses, Haddock, & Zanna, 1993), a gender role analysis might not be the best theoretical framework for all components of attitudes toward homosexuality. For example, heterosexuals' attitudes toward contact with gay people may be explained by a psychodynamic perspective, which posits that intolerance for homosexuality stems from repression or denial of one's own sexual or homosexual impulses.

In order to examine these possibilities, there are several scales to measure attitudes toward homosexuality summarized by Beere (1990). We expected that when the attitude was based on gender-role beliefs, the sex difference would be

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