Understanding the role of stereotype consistency in college athletes' judgments about teammates
Burns, Maxwell Steven.
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How do men use masculinity and sexuality norms to make judgments of other men? Past research provides mixed evidence in answer to this question. This project aimed to untangle the conflation of masculinity with heterosexuality norms to examine differences in how stereotype consistent (masculine/straight; feminine/gay) and stereotype inconsistent (masculine/gay; feminine/straight) men are judged. Using the highly masculinized context of collegiate football, two studies were conducted, one with a highly relevant sample and the other with a more generalized sample. Study 1 (n=86) was a field study in which current collegiate football players made judgments about a potential athletic recruit after being put under threat. This study manipulated the information given about the (fictitious) recruit's sexual orientation and gender role interests. Participants then completed several judgment ratings about the recruit. Results indicated that the threat manipulation was not successful. However, results did reveal a consistent pattern in which the feminine gay recruit was the most derogated of all recruits. The other recruits were all rated equally. Study 2 (n=107) used a more general sample of male athletes and attempted to experimentally induce high versus low threat levels for participants before rating the gay recruit who was described as either masculine or feminine in their gender role interests. Again, the participant's threat levels were unchanged by the induction. Among this more general sample, results of Study 2 found no difference in prejudice directed toward the gay recruit as a function of the gender role interests. When threat was examined at the trait level, under high threat the feminine gay recruit was derogated the most. Taken together, results suggest acceptance was shown toward recruits who were either gay or feminine. It was only when the recruit was both gay and feminine that they were derogated. This suggests that the culture athletics, while not totally accepting, is becoming more accepting of gay athletes unless they're perceived as highly feminine. The findings from these studies provide evidence suggesting that men who reaffirm their manhood (either by being masculine or by being straight) are less derogated than men who are unable to reaffirm their manhood.