Is Men’s Heterosexuality Perceived as More Precarious Than Women’s? An Intersectional, Race-by-Gender Analysis

Christopher D. Petsko, Stefan Vogler

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

People perceive men’s masculinity to be more precarious, or easier to lose, than women’s femininity. In the present article, we investigated (a) whether men’s heterosexuality is likewise perceived to be more precarious than women’s, and if so, (b) whether this effect is exaggerated when the targets in question are Black rather than White. To investigate these questions, we conducted three experiments (one of which was conducted on a probability-based sample of U.S. adults; total N = 3,811) in which participants read about a target person who either did or did not engage in a single same-sex sexual behavior. Results revealed that participants questioned the heterosexuality of men more than the heterosexuality of women when they engaged (vs. did not engage) in same-sex sexual behavior. Surprisingly, these effects were not moderated by whether targets were Black versus White. Results are interpreted in light of recent models of intersectional stereotyping.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)766-779
Number of pages14
JournalPersonality and social psychology bulletin
Volume50
Issue number5
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • gender beliefs
  • intersectionality
  • person perception
  • precarious masculinity
  • stereotyping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology

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