Positive Portrayals of Feminist Men Increase Men’s Solidarity With Feminists and Collective Action Intentions Supplemental to Shaun Wiley, Ruhi Srinivasan, Elizabeth Finke, Joseph Firnhaber, and Alyssa Shilinsky 2013
Portrayals of feminist women • Feminist women are evaluated less positively – and perceived as more masculine – than women in general. • They are seen as less attractive and less likely to be heterosexual than other women, but also as more intelligent, more confident, and more competent. • Thus, feminist women fit the profile of an envied group: deserving of grudging respect, but also distrusted and disliked. • (Anderson, 2009; Fiske et al., 2002; Twenge & Zucker, 1999)
Feminist identification • Existing portrayals of feminists may make women reluctant to identify as feminists. • In contrast, positive portrayals may make women willing to identify as feminists and strengthen commitment to feminist action. • (Alexander & Ryan, 1997; Roy et al., 2007)
Portrayals of feminist men • Feminist men are evaluated more positively – but perceived as more feminine – than men in general. • They are seen as warmer than other men, but also as less attractive, less competent, and more likely to be gay. • These traits fit the profile of a group that is liked, but that deserves little respect. • (Anderson, 2009; Twenge & Zucker, 1999)
Men’s feminist identification • The lack of positive portrayals of feminist men may make men reluctant to identify with feminists and engage in behaviors that could be construed as ‘‘feminist,’’ such as taking collective action in support of women. • Although some authors have proposed these relationships, none is known to have tested them directly. • (Anderson, 2009; Kimmel, 2010)
Purpose of Study • To examine whether positive portrayals of feminist men will increase men’s identification with feminists and, through it, their intentions to engage in collective action in support of women.
Feminist Solidarity • We examined one component of men’s feminist identification, feminist solidarity. • Solidarity is a component of identity closely linked to group-serving behaviors, such as collective action (Leach et al., 2008). • (Leach et al., 2008)
Hypotheses • Exposing men to a positive portrayal of feminist men will increase their solidarity with feminists. • Exposing men to a positive portrayal of feminist men will increase their intentions to engage in collective action in support of women. • Feminist solidarity will fully mediate the relationship between positive portrayals of feminist men and men’s intentions to engage in collective action in support of women.
Participants • 117 men living in U.S. were recruited via Amazon’s Mechanical Turk. • They were compensated with $0.50. • 15 participants were excluded from analyses for inattentiveness or missing demographics.
Procedure: Independent variable • Men were randomly assigned to read one of 3 articles: • A positive portrayal of feminist men, • A negative portrayal of feminist men, or • An article on the history of the feminist movement • Men completed 2 manipulation checks, a feminist solidarity measure, and a measure of collective action intentions.
Procedure: Manipulation checks • Positivity of beliefs about feminist men in society • e.g., “Others respect feminist men” (adapted from Luhtanten & Crocker, 1992). • 5 items; 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree • α = .92 • Article credibility • e.g., ‘‘The article that I read at the beginning of this questionnaire was [credible/ convincing/ trustworthy/ realistic/ reliable].’’ • 5 items; 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree • α = .92
Procedure: Dependent variables • Feminist solidarity • e.g., “I feel solidarity with feminists” (adapted from Leach et al., 2008). • 3 items; 1 = strongly disagree to 7 = strongly agree • α = .96 • Collective action intentions • e.g., ‘‘Take part in a rally or demonstration in support of women’s rights” (Kelly & Breinlinger, 1995) • 6 items; 1 = I will never do this to 7 = I will do this for sure • α = .96
Results: Manipulation checks • An Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) demonstrated that the manipulation had the intended effect. • People reported that beliefs about feminist men in society were most positive in the positive portrayals condition, followed by the history of feminism condition, followed by the negative portrayals condition. • All 3 articles were believed to be credible.
Results: Feminist solidarity and collective action intentions • A MANOVA revealed a significant multivariate effect on article condition • Wilks’sLambda = .76, F (4, 196) = 7.95, p < .001 • Separate ANOVAs confirmed that positive portrayals increased men’s: • feminist solidarity, F (2, 99) = 13.58, p < .001, and • collective action intentions, F (2, 99) = 5.79, p < .004
Findings • Positive portrayals of feminist men increased men’s solidarity with feminists and intentions to take collective action in support of women. • Feminist solidarity mediated the relationship between positive portrayals of feminist men and collective action intentions.
Discussion • Offers first experimental evidence that positive portrayals of feminist men can increase men’s solidarity with feminists and collective action intentions.
Discussion • While a positive portrayal increased men’s solidarity with feminists and collective action intentions, a negative portrayal did not decrease them. • This is consistent with research conducted on women’s feminist identification (i.e., Roy et al., 2007).
Limitations • Results were obtained in a sample that is largely Caucasian (79%) and may hold primarily for White men in the United States. • We did not ask participants to report their sexual orientation. • The portrayals of feminist men were not parallel across positive and negative conditions.
Future Research • Why do positive portrayals of feminist men increase men’s solidarity with feminists? • Do intentions to engage in collective action in support of women translate into behavior? • What is the relationship between portrayals of feminist men and feminist identification among men from ethnic and sexual minority groups? • What other factors predict men’s willingness to engage in collective action in support of women?
Implications • Learning that men who support feminism are valued may increase men’s solidarity with feminists and can increase their intentions to engage in collective action in support of women. • ‘‘…since men are the primary agents maintaining and supporting sexism and sexist oppression, they can only be successfully eradicated if men are compelled to assume responsibility for transforming their consciousness and the consciousness of society as a whole” (hooks 1984, p. 83)
Discussion Questions • What is feminist men’s role in the feminist movement? • How can we portray feminist men in a positive light? • Is it more important to portray feminist men as liked, moral, or masculine?