- News Home
5 December 2013 11:26 am ,
Vol. 342 ,
Dyslexia, a learning disability that hinders reading, hasn't been associated with deficits in vision, hearing, or...
Exotic, elusive, and dangerous, snakes have fascinated humankind for millennia. They can be hard to find, yet their...
Researchers have sequenced and analyzed the first two snake genomes, which represent two evolutionary extremes. The...
Snake venoms are remarkably complex mixtures that can stun or kill prey within minutes. But more and more researchers...
At age 30, Dutch biologist Freek Vonk has built up a respectable career as a snake scientist. But in his home country,...
Since arriving on the island of Guam in the 1940s, the brown tree snake ( Boiga irregularis ) has extirpated native...
An animal rights group known as the Nonhuman Rights Project filed lawsuits in three New York courts this week in an...
Researchers have been hot on the trail of the elusive Denisovans, a type of ancient human known only by their DNA and...
- 5 December 2013 11:26 am , Vol. 342 , #6163
- About Us
How To Sell Humvees To Men
4 August 2005 (All day)
Women have used the tactic for years: Call a guy a sissy, and he'll try and fix the sputtering carburetor. Now, a new study demonstrates just how sensitive men can be to attacks on their manhood. The result might shed light on how males are adjusting to changing roles in society.
Freud argued that people respond to attacks on their identity by exaggerating the threatened trait. Scientists have noted since the 1950s that men who were insecure about their masculinity were more likely to be racist and authoritarian, though few sociologists have tested this by manipulating men's insecurities experimentally.
To investigate the effects of psychological emasculation, sociologist Robb Willer at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and colleagues gave 111 Cornell undergraduates a gender identity survey, and regardless of the answers, told half that they appeared extremely feminine and half that they seemed terribly masculine. The researchers then surveyed students' attitudes towards politics, homosexuality, and car purchases. Males who were told they were effeminate were more likely to support the Iraq war, Bush's handling of the war, and a ban on gay marriage. Threatened men also expressed greater interest in buying an SUV, and they were willing to pay up to $7,000 more for the vehicle than their nonthreatened peers. Female students, on the other hand, had similar responses regardless of where they were told they fell on the gender continuum, Willer will report at the American Sociological Association's annual meeting in Philadelphia on 15 August.
Sociologist Michael Kimmel of Stony Brook University in New York advises against generalizing the results of the study to all American males. "There's no way that 20 year old college guys are secure in their masculinity," he says. Older men wouldn't show the same effect, he predicts. But social historian Rocco Capraro of Hobart and William Smith Colleges, Geneva, New York, says that if the work holds up in additional studies, the results suggest men aren't gracefully accepting their changing role in society. As women move into traditionally male domains, men are taking up more female roles and are being put on the defensive. But instead of fighting back with hypermasculinity, men should accept the changing times, Capraro says. And leave the engine to their female mechanic.