Perceived Rejection of Masculinity as a Predictor of Backlash

Open Access
Di Leone, Brooke Allison Lewis
Graduate Program:
Doctor of Philosophy
Document Type:
Date of Defense:
June 19, 2012
Committee Members:
  • Theresa K Vescio, Dissertation Advisor
  • Theresa K Vescio, Committee Chair
  • Melvin Michael Mark, Committee Member
  • Janet Swim, Committee Member
  • Shannon Wimberley Sullivan, Committee Member
  • masculinity
  • gender
  • backlash
  • stereotyping
The goal of the present research was to examine links between peoples’ perceptions of the degree that individuals endorse normative masculine ideology and the tendency to engage in backlash against gender counter-stereotypic individuals. “Backlash” refers to the phenomenon of levying social and economic sanctions against those who violate gender stereotypes. Two pilot studies and two full studies examined three specific hypotheses: 1) that participants would punish counter-stereotypic targets more than stereotypic targets, 2) that participants would punish targets who did not endorse normative masculine ideology more than those who did endorse normative masculine ideology, and 3) that perceived target endorsement of normative masculine ideology would mediate the relationship between gender stereotypicality and punishment. Findings did not offer support for these hypotheses, but suggested that broad system justification motives are an important moderator of the traditional backlash effect. More specifically, results offered evidence that lower system justification motives may be associated with a pattern of sanctions that is the opposite of the pattern seen in prior backlash research.