Cornell researcher Robb Willer put to the test the theory that men insecure about their masculinity overcompensate with macho attitudes. Willer gave more than a hundred Cornell undergraduate students a gender identity survey and then randomly told them their responses indicated they had a masculine or feminine identity. Then the subjects were interviewed about political opinions, car preferences, and feelings toward gay people. Willer says men who were told they were feminine gave much more homophobic responses. They were also more likely to support the war in Iraq and to be interested in buying an SUV. Women’s responses were unchanged by the masculine-feminine rating.
First posted: THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 13, 2008