Lecture 9 9/27/12 4:01 PM
• I. Love and Romance
• II. Romance and Benevolent Sexism
• III. The Costs of Romantic Ideologies for Men
• IV.Feminism and Romantic Relationships
1. Love and Romance
o Romantic love is the intense feeling of attachment that we form
o Includes feelings of wanting to merge together, sexual attraction,
and wanting to protect the other’s welfare.
o Traditional romantic ideologies - prescriptive cultural scripts
dictating the course of love-- we fall into patterns without thinking
§ Scripts dictate different love roles for men/women .
§ People fall into scripts without thinking.
o What do you think are some of the traditional romantic ideologies
for love? Ex. Friends episode-- different feelings about enacting
o Traditional romantic ideologies:
§ Stop us from experiencing love in our own way -- we try to fit
into feminine and masculine roles
§ Diminish quality of heterosexual romantic relationships.--
perpetuates stereotype that love should be the most
important thing to women
§ Create obstacles to attaining gender equality.
o Romantic love (c.f., prescriptive romantic ideology) has many
o People report feelings of high energy, euphoria, and “walking on
air”-- lower levels of depression-- happens in both sexes
o People report more positive attitudes toward the world in general
§ Hendrick & Hendrick (1988)
o We feel like we merge with our partners, ultimately overlapping
ourselves into other person…
o Lovers idealize each other, which helps the relationship go slowly
o Goodintimaterelationships increase our well-being psychologically
and physiologically § Berschield & Reis 1998
2. Romance and Benevolent Sexism
o Whereas romantic love is beneficial to relationships, romantic
scripts pose problems.
o We evaluate and interpret our realities in view of these schemas.
o We come to expect romance to play out in this way.
• When it does not, we feel disappointed & like we must not be living
up to some standard of behaviour.
• Ambivalent sexism and romance: ▯ Putting women on a pedestal is
a form of benevolent sexism.
• The romantic ideology for women involves valuing above all else
love, family, relationships, and tending to others.
• Gendered romantic ideologies encourage women to exchange
agency for nurturing and a man’s protection.
• Benevolent sexism in relationship = mixed blessing:
o Protectiveness a man is supposed to have over a woman can
be motivated by love.
o But it could be based on the idea that women can’t take care
o Even more hostile, it could be a strategy of control.-- how do
you tease them apart
o A recipient of benevolent sexist treatment might be unsure
about which motive to attribute to her romantic partner’s
• Responding to benevolent sexism is tricky:
o Partners are supposed to care about each others’ welfare, and
the male is socialized to take the protective, provider-type
o We come to expect benevolent sexist treatment in our
o Attribute the benevolent treatment to loving care or
• Moya et al. (2007)
o Participants were women who were low/high in benevolent
sexism beliefs. o IV: Coworker/Husband insisted on doing all the driving on a
o Hostile justification - “women do not drive as well as men”
o Protective justification - “driving a long way would be tiring
and stressful for the women”
o DVs = reactions to the man’s behavior
o Graph shows positive reactions (e.g., feeling protected).
§ No one liked hostile treatment
§ Women who scored high on BS (dark lines) reported:
ú Especially positive feelings toward husband/less
perceived discrimination when he used a
protective justification to forbid her from driving
§ Women who scored low on BS did not
o Study 3
§ Will low benevolent sexist women feel better about
protective motivations when situation is more
§ Lawschool Ps imagined being offered a legal studies
internship that reexamines evidence in a case where a
convict claims to be innocent.
§ Interns were going to “conduct in-depth interviews with
people who have been convicted of violent crimes,
§ “When you explain the summer internship and all that it
involves, your romantic partner strongly opposes your
participation saying ‘I really think this is a bad idea. You
shouldn’t do this!’”
opposition and no explanation.
§ Personalized protective justification-“I don’t think
it’s good for you to be exposed to people who have
committed violent crimes. It seems like a stressful and
dangerous situation that wouldn’t be safe for you.”
§ Group-based protective justification-“Idon’tthinkit’s
good for any woman to be exposed to people who have committed violent crimes. It seems like a stressful and
dangerous situation that wouldn’t be safe for a woman.”
ú No justification–reason ambiguous
• High-BS assumed benevolent motives
(assumed out of love)
• Low-BS did not
ú Group-based protective justification
• High-BS had a positive reaction
• Low-BS did not like it when you limit their
freedoms because of group-based
ú Personalized protective justification overrode
differences in BS-- low BS and high BS are
reacting the same way to personalized people
(attribution ambiguity-- super unpleasant)
3. The Socialization of Romance
• Women have been socialized to a lifetime of exposure to romantic
fairy tale themes
• Rudman and Heppen (2003) – will implicit “romantic” belief that
a man will provide for a woman be negatively related to her interest
in personal power?
o Ps rated interest in 12 occupations, 5 were high power
o To determine romantic fantasies, Ps completed a scale with
o “Myromanticpartnerisanaverageman”(reverse scored)
o Ps completed IAT contrasting romantic partners with other
men and fantasy with reality.
o ▯ E.g., (Prince Charming, White Knight, castle, superhero,
protector) vs. (Average Joe, Regular Guy, ordinary, stable,
predictable). o On the IAT, women were faster to associate romantic
partners with fantasy than with reality.
o Women who possessed implicit romantic fantasies chose
occupations with reduced economic rewards and lower
o ▯▯ They also showed less interest in high-status
o The explicit (scale) measure of romantic fantasies did not
reliably relate to the power measures.
§ The first study used the idea of normality or average as
the contrast to fantasy, but these ideas have negative
§ ▯ Study 2’s IAT contrasted romantic fantasies with
positive traits (e.g., kind, intelligent, witty, affectionate,
open, responsive, patient).
§ Replicated Study 1’s results.
§ Womenfastertoassociate romantic partners with fantasy
than positive traits.
§ ▯ Womenwhopossessedimplicit romantic fantasies
scored lower on projected income and high- status job
§ ▯ Explicitromancemeasure unrelated to these power
§ Theytermedtheseeffectsof romantic notions on power
striving the “glass slipper effect”.
§ Alsotestedmen’simpressionsofwomen ▯ IAT included
fantasy constructs like: Cinderella,
§ Sleeping Beauty, Rapunzel, princess, and maiden.
§ ▯ Completedexplicitromanticfantasyindexthatincluded
§ ▯ “IthinkofmyloverasCinderella/SleepingBeauty,” ▯
§ “Itendtoputmyromanticpartneronapedestal.” § Men > Women on explicit romantic fantasy index. ▯
Men showed stronger IAT effects for positive traits
§ than fantasy roles.
§ ▯▯ Men who endorsed a romantic ideology also were
interested in high social power jobs.
§ Might men be more likely to show a more sexual
version of implicit romantic fantasies for women?
o Study 3
§ Women’s IAT included fantasy roles (e.g., Prince
Charming, White Knight, Lancelot, Superman, hero,
Braveheart, superhero, chivalry) with nonfantasy roles
(e.g., companion, adviser, helper, teacher, student,
counselor, roommate, handyman.)
§ IAT for men contrasted sexual fantasy roles (e.g.,
Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, princess, queen, sex
goddess, sex kitten, Venus) with the same positive
§ Both men and women associated romantic partners with
fantasy faster than with other favorable roles.
§ ▯ Men reported more explicit romantic fantasies.
§ ▯▯ Women who possessed implicit romantic fantasies
scored lower on measures of projected income,
education goals, high status jobs, and the desire to be a
§ Men showed weak associations between romantic
fantasies and power.
3. The Cost of Romantic Ideologies for Men
• Traditional gender roles suggest men should be less interested in
• M& W share more similarities than differences regarding romantic
love.-- men fall in love faster??!
o Sprecher et al. (1994)
• Experience love with the same level of intensity
o Hatfield and Rapson (1996)
• In fact, men may be even more romantic than women.
• Ackerman, Griskevicius, & Li (2011): o Who says “I love you” first in relationships?
o Study 1: “Who normally says they are in love FIRST in
romantic relationships?”- WOMEN
o Study 2: “Think about your last or current romantic
relationship .... In this relationship, who admitted love first?”-
MEN---- relying on stereotypes despite anecdotal evidence
o Study 3: Both members of couples were asked, “In your
current romantic relationship, who admitted love first?”-- MEN
o Explanations: Men maybe want the relationship to move on
so more likely to say it to get women’s commitment
• Women are allowed to fall deeply in love, but men are expected not
to à remain strong and independent
o Falling deeply in love can lead men to:
§ question their gender identity
§ deny their feelings to others
§ experience shame
• Romantic relationships may be particularly important for men.
• Women can turn to other same-sex friends for emotional support.
• Men tend to confide only in their romantic partner-- in terms of
deep intimate stuff
• The thought of breaking up may be very threatening for men
• Men show greater physiological distress when talking about serious
conflicts or breaking up
o Gottman (1993)
• The distress men experience following a breakup can place women
• More likely to stalk and physically harm partners
o Davis, Coker, & Sanderson (2002); Haugaard & Seri (2003)
4. Feminism and Romantic Relationships
• Feminists viewed as man-hating lesbians
o Bell & Klein (1996); Misciagno (1997)
• Feminism seems incompatible with heterosexual romantic
• Feminists appear to violate traditional gender roles, including those
related to romance--- stereotypes make it seem that feminism is
incompatible with romance • Feminism and beauty are often seen to be incompatible
o Goldberg, Gottesdiener, & Abramson (1975)
• Women may avoid violating traditional gender roles out of fear that
they will be rejected by men
• Rudman & Fairchild (2007)
o Male and female Ps looked at pictures of women from 1974
high school graduation photos
o DVs: participants answered questions like:
§ “In my opinion, she is attractive.”
§ ”She was probably popular (dating-wise) in high
§ “She likely became a lesbian.”
§ “She probably grew up to become a feminist.”
§ In comparison to pretty targets, plain targets were
rated (by both men and women) as:
ú Less attractive
ú Less sexually appealing
ú More likely to be lesbians
ú More likely to be feminists
§ This belief that plain women were more likely to be
feminists came from their beliefs that plain women are
low on sex appeal or likely to be lesbians.
o Study 2- Included Romantic conflict measure:
§ “Most men would probably not want to date a feminist”
§ “Feminism and romance do not mix well for women”
§ “Feminism causes women to resent men”
§ “Feminism can add stress to relationships with men”
ú Participants who believed that feminism conflicts
with romance showed:
• Less engagement in feminism/women’s civil
• Less positive attitudes about feminists
• Less identification with feminists ú Romance-related concerns about feminism might
barrier to gender equity.
• Romance & Androgyny
o Traditional gender roles seem problematic for romance.
o Violating traditional gender roles may be good for romantic
o Ickes and Barnes(1978):
§ Formed couples in the lab
§ Couples with at least one androgynous partner talked
laughed, smiled, and looked at each other more
o People are generally less happy with their marriage when
both members of the couple adhere to traditional gender roles
• Love Summary
o Benevolent sexism can lead to attributional ambiguity about a
o Romantic roles give us scripts to follow when we finally
become sexually involved with others.
o These fantasy roles become automatic associations that come