Study: Sexist Men and Women -- Made for Each Other?
Researchers at the University of Kansas find that men with a preference for 'one-night stands' and negative sexist attitudes towards women are more likely to use aggressive courtship strategies. They compete with other men who are also interested in the woman, tease the woman, and isolate her away from her friends. In response, women with a preference for 'no strings attached' sex and negative attitudes towards other women are more likely to respond to men's aggressive strategies.
Men with a preference for 'one-night stands' and negative sexist attitudes towards women are more likely to use aggressive courtship strategies. They compete with other men who are also interested in the woman, tease the woman, and isolate her away from her friends. In response, women with a preference for 'no strings attached' sex and negative attitudes towards other women are more likely to respond to men's aggressive strategies. These findings by Jeffrey Hall and Melanie Canterberry, from the University of Kansas in the US, are published online in Springer's journal Sex Roles.
Hall JA & Canterberry M (2011). Sexism and assertive courtship strategies. Sex Roles. DOI 10.007/s11199-011-0045-yHall and Canterberry set out to understand the characteristics of men who use aggressive court-ship strategies, based on speed seduction techniques described in the US bestseller "The Game" by Neil Strauss and the popular cable TV program "The Pickup Artist." They also studied the characteristics of women who find such strategies appealing.
The researchers conducted two surveys. The first pilot study surveyed a sample of 363 college students from a large Midwestern university in the US. The second, larger national study recruited 850 adult volunteers via the internet. The authors asked both male and female participants about their sexist attitudes toward women and whether they were willing to take part in uncommitted or short-term sex. They also asked about the extent to which men used assertive strategies to initiate relationships and the extent to which women found these approaches desirable.
The results showed that men who were keen on 'one-night stands' were more likely to use aggressive strategies when flirting with women, and women who were also open to casual sex were more likely to respond to this type of aggressive courtship. In addition, men with negative, sexist attitudes towards women, justifying male privilege, were more likely to use assertive strategies, which may serve to 'put women in their place' in a submissive or yielding role during courtship. Women with sexist attitudes towards members of their own gender were more likely to be responsive to men's assertive strategies. This suggests that they find men who treat them in a dominant way during courtship more desirable, because it is consistent with their sexist ideology.
Hall and Canterberry conclude: "Our results suggest that assertive courtship strategies are a form of mutual identification of similarly sexist attitudes shared between courtship partners. Women who adopt sexist attitudes are more likely to prefer men who adopt similar attitudes. Not only do sexist men and women prefer partners who are like them, they prefer courtship strategies where men are the aggressors and women are the gatekeepers."
The popularity of speed-seduction techniques, such as those described in The Game (Strauss 2005) and advocated in the cable program The Pickup Artist (Malloy 2007), suggests some women respond positively to men’s assertive mating strategies. Drawing from these sources, assertive strategies were operationalized as involving attempts to isolate women, to compete with other men, and to tease or insult women. The present investigation examined whether hostile and benevolent sexism and sociosexuality, the degree to which individuals require closeness and commitment prior to engaging in sex, were associated with the reported use of assertive strategies by men and the reported positive reception to those strategies by women. It was predicted men and women who were more sexist and had an unrestricted sociosexuality would report using more and being more receptive to assertive strategies. Study 1 (N = 363) surveyed a Midwestern undergraduate college student sample, and regression results indicated that sociosexuality was associated with assertive strategy preference and use, but sexism only predicted a positive reception of assertive strategies by women. Study 2 (N = 850) replicated these results by surveying a larger, national U.S. volunteer sample via the internet. In addition to confirming the results of Study 1, regression results from Study 2 indicated that hostile sexism was predictive of reported assertive strategy use by men, suggesting that outside of the college culture, sexism is more predictive of assertive strategy use. Implications for courtship processes and the dating culture are discussed.