Gender Bending and Gender Conformity: The Social Consequences of Engaging in Feminine and Masculine Pro-Environmental Behaviors

Janet K. Swim, Ashley J. Gillis, Kaitlynn J. Hamaty

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although pro-environmental behaviors (PEBs) have been characterized as feminine, some PEBs are masculine suggesting that gender bending (e.g., engaging in pro-environmental behaviors inconsistent with one’s own gender) and gender conformity (e.g., engaging in pro-environmental behaviors consistent with one’s own gender) are possible for both women and men. Social consequences for gender bending versus conformity with PEBs were assessed in three studies. Gender bending created uncertainty about an actor’s heterosexual identity (Studies 1 and 2). Consistent with stigma-by-association, actors’ gender bending influenced judgments about an actor’s friend’s sexual identity (Study 2). However, gender bending had limited effects on ascription of gendered traits: More feminine than masculine traits were ascribed to PEB actors, even actors of masculine PEBs (Studies 1 and 2). Consistent with social ostracism, Study 3 illustrated that men were most likely to socially distance themselves from female gender benders, likely as a result of prejudice against gender-bending women. In contrast, women preferred to socially interact with gender-conforming women, likely resulting from a combination of their greater interest in feminine than masculine PEBs and preferring to interact with women more so than with men. Social repercussions are discussed in terms of stigmatizing engagement in PEBs.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)363-385
Number of pages23
JournalSex Roles
Volume82
Issue number5-6
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology

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