Bashful men are less liked

July 30th, 2010 - 4:18 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, July 30 (IANS) Men may have become somewhat softer over time but society still prefers them to be rugged and ‘manly’. Research shows that modesty is viewed as a sign of weakness, a low-status character trait for males, but in women it is not viewed negatively or linked to status.
Corinne A. Moss-Racusin, doctoral candidate in Rutgers University’ Department of Psychology, explored the consequences for men (and women) when they acted modestly in job interviews.

She co-authored the study with graduate fellow Julie E. Phelan and Professor Laurie A. Rudman, reports journal Psychology of Men and Masculinity.

Applicants in the staged interviews were judged equally competent, but the “modest” males were less liked, a sign of social backlash, says Moss-Racusin, according to a Rutgers release.

Modesty was viewed as a sign of weakness, a low-status character trait for males that could adversely affect their employability or earnings potential. Modesty in women, however, was not viewed negatively nor was it linked to status.

In the study, 132 female and 100 male student volunteers (who earned partial academic credit for their psychology course) viewed videotaped, 15-minute job interviews of either males or females.

All the applicants were paid actors rehearsed to deliver similar, “modest” responses for the gender-neutral position that required strong technical abilities and social skills.

The researchers sought to determine which gender stereotype promote backlash.

“Women are allowed to be weak while this trait is strongly prohibited in men,” Moss-Racusin said.

The researchers’ prediction that modest male applicants would face hiring discrimination was not supported, however.

Moss-Racusin speculates that because men’s status is higher than women’s, meek men are afforded the benefit of the doubt and are less likely to encounter hiring discrimination than dominant women.

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