Media coverage of study:
First, ill whine about the media. Was sort of difficult to find the actual study. None of them linked to the actual study afaict or mentioned it directly by name. This is not necessarily the researchers (or ‘researchers’) fault, but still annoying. I found it tho:
It was ofc behind a paywall, here it is:
The present study tested the hypothesis, derived from feminist perspectives on body image, that men’s greater endorsement of sexist attitudes and objectification of women would be associated with their own drive for muscularity. A total of 327 British men completed scales measuring their drive for muscularity, sexist attitudes, hostility toward women, objectification of women, and key demographics. Results showed that greater drive for muscularity was significantly predicted by stronger objectification of women, hostility toward women, and sexist attitudes, once men’s age and body mass index had been taken into account. These results suggest that oppressive beliefs held by men are associated with a desire for a more muscular physique. Implications for theoretical models seeking to explain drive for muscularity among men are discussed in conclusion.
“To our knowledge, however, scholars have not approached the topic of men’s body image from feminist perspectives, which posit that corporeal experiences are shaped, in part at least, by patriarchal structures in society, gendered identities, and power relationships between women and men”
‘feminist perspective’, ‘patriarchal structures’, ‘power relationships’. Meh. Sounds like the usual garbage. But i decided still to take a closer look.
Here is the basic structure of their experiment:
1) find some men
2) give them a questionnaire
3) do stats on results
4) interpret with statistical analyses, means, SDs, correlations, controlling for stuff, the usual
and then add some feminist theory.
I wanted to take a look at the tests they used, well, self-assessments:
- Drive for Muscularity Scale
- Hostility Toward Women Scale
- Attitudes Toward Women Scale
- Ambivalent Sexism Inventory
- Self-Objectiﬁcation Scale
They didnt link to these, even tho they are just self-assessments with a questionnaire. Very dubious practice, generally a practice by psychologists, which pisses me off.
Anyway, i googled around and found them all. I will post them here in entirety.
Drive for Muscularity Scale
- I wish that I were more muscular.
- I lift weights to build up muscle.
- I use protein or energy supplements.
- I drink weight gain or protein shakes.
- I try to consume as many calories as I can in a day.
- I feel guilty if I miss a weight training session.
- I think I would feel more confident if I had more muscle mass.
- Other people think I work out with weights too often.
- I think that I would look better if I gained 10 pounds in bulk.
- I think about taking anabolic steroids.
- I think that I would feel stronger if I gained a little more muscle mass.
- I think that my weight training schedule interferes with other aspects of my life.
- I think that my arms are not muscular enough.
- I think that my chest is not muscular enough.
- I think that my legs are not muscular enough.
Along with a 6 point scale: Always, Very Often, Often, Sometimes, Rarely, Never.
Notice that there is no neutral / dont know / not applicable option.
Hostility Toward Women Scale
Short form, found here in the appendix.
- I feel that many times women flirt with men just to tease them or hurt them.
- I believe that most women tell the truth.
- I usually find myself agreeing with (other) women.
- I think that most women would lie just to get ahead.
- (M) Generally, it is safer not to trust women.(F) It is generally safer not to trust women too much.
- When it really comes down to it, a lot of women are deceitful.
- I am easily angered by (other) women.
- I am sure I get a raw deal from the (other) women in my life.
- Sometimes (other) women bother me by just being around.
- (Other) Women are responsible for most of my troubles.
Not sure how to grade the answers.
Attitudes Toward Women Scale
- Swearing and obscenity are more repulsive in the speech of a woman than of a man
- Women should take increasing responsibility for leadership in solving the intellectual and social problems of the day
- Both husband and wife should be allowed the same grounds for divorce
- Telling dirty jokes should be mostly a masculine prerogative
- Intoxication among women is worse than intoxication among men
- Under modern economic conditions with women being active outside the home, men should share in household tasks such as washing dishes and doing the laundry
- It is insulting to women to have the “obey” clause remain in the marriage service
- There should be a strict merit system in job appointment and promotion without regard to sex
- A woman should be free as a man to propose marriage
- Women should worry less about their rights and more about becoming good wives and mothers
- Women earning as much as their dates should bear equally the expense when they go out together
- Women should assume their rightful place in business and all the professions along with men
- A woman should not expect to go to exactly the same places or to have quite the same freedom of action as a man
- Sons in a family should be given more encouragement to go to college than daughters
- It is ridiculous for a woman to run a locomotive and for a man to darn socks
- In general, the father should have greater authority than the mother in the bringing up of children
- Women should be encouraged not to become sexually intimate with anyone before marriage, even their fiancés
- The husband should not be favored by law over the wife in the disposal of family property or income
- Women should be concerned with their duties of childbearing and house tending rather than with desires for professional or business careers
- The intellectual leadership of a community should be largely in the hands of men
- Economic and social freedom is worth far more to women than acceptance of the ideal of femininity which has been set up by men
- On the average, women should be regarded as less capable of contributing to economic production than are men
- There are many jobs in which men should be given preference over women in being hired or promoted
- Women should be given equal opportunity with men for apprenticeship in the various trades
- The modern girl is entitled to the same freedom from regulation and control that is given to the modern boy
Using a 4-point scale i.e., no middle point, same as before.
Ambivalent Sexism Inventory
Found here, and has an automatic rating system.
- No matter how accomplished he is, a man is not truly complete as a person unless he has the love of a woman.
- Many women are actually seeking special favors, such as hiring policies that favor them over men, under the guise of asking for “equality.”
- In a disaster, women ought not necessarily to be rescued before men.
- Most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist.
- Women are too easily offended.
- People are often truly happy in life without being romantically involved with a member of the other sex.
- Feminists are not seeking for women to have more power than men.
- Many women have a quality of purity that few men possess.
- Women should be cherished and protected by men.
- Most women fail to appreciate fully all that men do for them.
- Women seek to gain power by getting control over men.
- Every man ought to have a woman whom he adores.
- Men are complete without women.
- Women exaggerate problems they have at work.
- Once a woman gets a man to commit to her, she usually tries to put him on a tight leash.
- When women lose to men in a fair competition, they typically complain about being discriminated against.
- A good woman should be set on a pedestal by her man.
- There are actually very few women who get a kick out of teasing men by seeming sexually available and then refusing male advances.
- Women, compared to men, tend to have a superior moral sensibility.
- Men should be willing to sacrifice their own well being in order to provide financially for the women in their lives.
- Feminists are making entirely reasonable demands of men.
- Women, as compared to men, tend to have a more refined sense of culture and good taste.Also has a 6 point scale with no middle.
From here. In appendix.
- What rank do you assign to physical coordination?
- What rank do you assign to health?
- What rank do you assign to weight?
- What rank do you assign to strength?
- What rank do you assign to sex appeal?
- What rank do you assign to physical attractiveness?
- What rank do you assign to energy level (e.g., stamina)?
- What rank do you assign to firm/sculpted muscles?
- What rank do you assign to physical fitness?
- What rank do you assign to measurements (e.g., cehst, waist, hips)?
We are interested in how people think about their bodies. The questions below identify 10 different body attributes. We would like you to rank order these body attributes from that which has the greatest impact on your physical self-concept (rank this a “9”), to that which has the least impact on your physical self-concept (rank this a “0”).
Note: It does not matter how you describe yourself in terms of each attribute. For example, fitness level can have a great impact on your physical self-concept regardless of whether you consider yourself to be physically fit, not physically fit, or any level in between.
Please first consider all attributes simultaneously, and record your rank ordering by writing the ranks in the rightmost column.
In administering the measure, the title is not included. Scores are obtained by separately summing the ranks for appearance-based items (3, 5, 6, 8 and 10) and competence-based items (1, 2, 4, 7 and 9), and then subtracting the sum of competence ranks from the sum of appearance ranks. Scores may range from -25 to 25, with higher scores indicating a greater emphasis on appearance, interpreted as higher trait self-objectification.
However, the researchers used a modified scale:
[…] In the presentstudy, we used a modiﬁed version of the scale in which participants were asked to rank the same attributes according to how important they are when judging women. […]
The verdict about the tests?
If u have read this far and dont think the tests are of… questionable quality, then i probably cant do much about that.
About about the interpretation?
What do they write?
Extending the beauty-ideals-are-oppressive hypothesis (Forbes et al., 2007), the present study sought to examine whether men’s oppressive beliefs directed at women would also be associated with greater drive for muscularity among themselves. The results of the present work showed that men who held more sexist attitudes and a greater tendency to objectify women reported greater drive for muscularity, even after the effects of participant age and BMI had been considered. Overall, these results provide evidence that patriarchal structures and oppressive beliefs are associated with men’s body health, as has been discussed by other scholars (Connell, 1995; Courtenay, 2000; Kawachi et al., 1999; Stanistreet et al., 2005, 2007).
I think this suffices to show what i want to show. Bad science.
But i cant help mentioning that how nicely the objectification test is made to work. Note which questions are counted as appearance based. Basically, they chose the items that are important to men when judging female attractiveness, and asked men which items are important when judging female looks. What did they expect?
Given the poor quality of tests, im not so sure what these results mean, if they mean anything. They certainly dont mean what the authors think they mean.