How Do Women’s Attitudes Towards Heterosexual Men Differ By Their Sexual Orientation? A Test of Competing Hypotheses

Mary Kruk, Jes L. Matsick

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Though feminist theory asserts that women’s sexuality influences their general relationship with heterosexual men, the leading psychological measure of women’s attitudes towards heterosexual men, the Ambivalence towards Men Inventory (AMI), has not yet accounted for sexual orientation as a meaningful individual difference. In this current United States-based research (N = 318), we revisited the AMI to examine women’s attitudes towards heterosexual men as a function of women’s sexual orientation (i.e. lesbian, bisexual, or heterosexual). Drawing from feminist and psychological theories of attitudes towards men, we 1) tested competing hypotheses regarding whether lesbian and bisexual women or heterosexual women would be highest in hostility, and 2) hypothesised that heterosexual women would hold more benevolent attitudes than lesbian and bisexual women. When controlling for feminist identity, lesbian women held more hostile attitudes towards heterosexual men, specifically on subscales of Resentment of Paternalism and Heterosexual Hostility. However, there were no differences in benevolence towards heterosexual men between groups. We discuss hostility as a reaction to gendered oppression and the utility of benevolence in modern times. Testing the AMI with a sexually diverse sample reveals nuanced understandings of intergroup relations and demonstrates a need to establish more inclusive measures of gendered attitudes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalPsychology and Sexuality
StateAccepted/In press - 2021

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Health(social science)
  • Applied Psychology


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