Prior research has suggested that women are relatively nonreactive to femininity threats. Given this, research on gender threats over the last decade has functioned under the premise that men almost exclusively account for reactivity to gender threats and, oftentimes, subsequent aggression. Interestingly, recent work has suggested otherwise, primarily that women from cultures of honor, who tend to place strong emphasis on their social reputations, may be a subgroup who responds similarly to men in regard to gender identity threats. A sample of 305 women on MTurk answered questions about their endorsement of feminine honor ideology, then were randomly assigned to receive different types of false feedback about their femininity (femininity threat, control condition, or femininity boost). Results across eight separate dependent variables showed that women, in general, showed threat reactivity in regard to four of the eight outcomes, although honor endorsing women displayed signs of threat reactivity across all eight outcomes. Furthermore, when threatened, honor endorsing women showed stronger support for forms of aggressive behavior towards the false feedback providers (i.e. seeking out the firing of the survey creators, wanting to physically fight the survey creators, insulting the survey creators). These findings suggest that there is considerable variability in women’s responses to femininity threats, especially if such threats are administered to women high in feminine honor concerns. Findings are discussed in the context of intimate relationships and suggest the importance of incorporating feminine honor concepts into future work on gender identity threats.
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