The Role of Gender Identity and Self-Construal Salience In Evaluations of Male Models

Is the Marlboro man the only alternative?

The role of gender identity and self-construal salience in evaluations of male models

Brett A. S. Martin & Juergen Gnoth

Published online: 30 January 2009

Springer Science + Business Media, LLC 2009

Abstract This research examines how men react to male models in print advertisements. In two experiments, we show that the gender identity of men influences their responses to advertisements featuring a masculine, feminine, or androgynous male model. In addition, we explore the extent to which men feel they will be classified by others as similar to the model as a mechanism for these effects. Specifically, masculine men respond most favorably to masculine models and are negative toward feminine models. In contrast, feminine men prefer feminine models when their private self is salient. Yet in a collective context, they prefer masculine models.

These experiments shed light on how gender identity and self-construal influence male evaluations and illustrate the social pressure on men to endorse traditional masculine portrayals. We also present implications for advertising practice.

Keywords Advertising . Classification expectations . Gender identity . Self-construal . Evaluations

 

1 Introduction

An important decision for advertisers is the selection of an appropriate model to use in an advertisement. In reference to our title, the Marlboro man is an example of the traditional masculine male model in advertising. Content analyses suggest that advertisers tend to use traditional male stereotypes (Ganahl et al. 2003; Vigorito and Curry 1998). Yet whether the traditional male is the only depiction that would resonate with consumers today appears open to debate. In the social sciences, it is accepted that Market Lett (2009) 20:353–367 DOI 10.1007/s11002-009-9069-2

B. A. S. Martin (*)

Marketing Group School of Management, University of Bath, Bath BA2 7AY, UK e-mail: B.A.S.Martin@bath.ac.uk J. Gnoth Department of Marketing, University of Otago, P.O. Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand e-mail: JGnoth@business.otago.ac.nz

 

a variety of masculinities now exist, such as jocks to sensitive new men (Smiler 2004). Likewise, marketing research is revealing consumer masculinities that differ from the traditional norm (Holt and Thompson 2004; Patterson and Elliott 2002). These emerging masculinities have been recognized in the popular press with the term “metrosexual” to represent a $1.3 billion market of heterosexual men who use traditionally feminine products, such as facial moisturizers (Prior 2004).

 

Given these changes, it appears useful to study whether alternative profiles to the masculine model (e.g., feminine male models) should be considered. The purpose of this article is to examine how men respond to print advertising featuring masculine, feminine, and androgynous male models. We show that gender identity affects evaluations, but that these effects must take into account consumer self-construal. We use the term “biological sex” to refer to the physical differences between males and females. In contrast, “gender identity” represents the psychological features often associated with these physical differences, which are socially constructed phenomena (Deaux 1985).

 

We contribute by showing how gender identity provides insights into how men react to advertising (studies 1 and 2). Furthermore, we explore the cognitive process that underlies male attitudes (study 2). We propose that expectations of being classified by other people as similar to an ad model (classification expectations) mediate the effect of model gender identity on male attitudes. Previous psychological research has focused on misclassification expectations where masculine men are concerned at being misclassified by strangers as feminine (Bosson et al. 2005).

 

We contribute by showing how the responses of feminine men to advertising are influenced by concerns of being correctly classified by others as feminine. From a managerial perspective, we also present important implications on how to advertise to men. 2 Background and hypotheses 2.1 Gender identity Prior to the 1970s, gender research assumed a unidimensional perspective where masculinity and femininity were opposite ends of a single continuum (Parsons and Bales 1955). This view embraced the notion that biological sex was the key determinant of sex-related behavior (Stern 1988). In a departure that was to have a profound impact on subsequent research, Bem (1974) asserted that the masculinity and femininity of an individual were independent dimensions influenced by socialization.

 

Here, masculinity and femininity represent socially desirable instrumental traits (e.g., independence) and expressive traits (e.g., sensitivity to others; Bem 1974). An individual can be high or low on each dimension. Gender identity is, therefore, independent of one’s sex and the potential exists for cross-sex-typed individuals (e.g., a feminine male), rather than just masculine males and feminine females. To this end, Bem offered the Bem Sex Role Inventory (BSRI; Bem 1974) which measures an individual’s masculinity and femininity and allows for their classification by median splitting into one of four groups: (1) masculine (i.e., high masculinity, low femininity), (2) feminine (low masculinity, high femininity), (3) androgynous (highmasculinity, high femininity), or (4) undifferentiated (low masculinity, low femininity).

 

The BSRI has received widespread use in both the social sciences (Beere 1990) and marketing (Stern 1988) and is used in the present study. In marketing, gender identity research has offered mixed results. Debevec and Iyer (1986) matched spokesperson sex with a product that was perceived as traditionally male, female, or neutral in terms of image. They posited that conformity to societal expectations would override gender identity differences. They found no significant main effect for gender identity on evaluations or usage intentions for products such as dishwashing liquid and beer. Nor did they find any significant interactions between gender identity, spokesperson sex, and product gender (masculine, feminine, or neutral). However, it is unspecified how data were classified for the gender identity variable.

 

Likewise, Stern (1988) suggests biological sex is at least as good as, if not better, than gender identity as an explanatory variable. Yet research by Jaffe (1994) and Jaffe and Berger 1988) suggests that gender identity can favorably influence attitudes where the gender identity of the model matches the consumer’s gender identity. Jaffe (1994), in a field experiment of 200 women, found women with higher masculinity evaluated ads that portrayed women in progressive careers vs traditional nurturing portrayals more favorably. She suggests that gender identity can be a useful predictor for responses to advertisements.

 

Much of this research treats gender identity as an independent variable. Yet logically, an individual’s responses may also be influenced by their social context. A more public social context could induce impression management (Aarts and Dijksterhuis 2003). It is our contention that men are influenced by social pressure from other men to conform to traditional masculine expectations when evaluating male models in print advertisements.

 

2.2 Self-construal salience and male pressure to conform

Self-construal relates to a person’s self-concept or self-view (Guimond et al. 2006). It is recognized in marketing that different self-construals can be salient in different situations, such as parent vs professor (Aaker 1999). In other words, self-construal represents more of a situational state variable as opposed to self-concept which is more of a trait.1 Similarly, Triandis (1989) identified three types of self: (1) the private self, which involves self-assessment (e.g., “I am extroverted”); (2) the collective self, which relates to in-group norms (e.g., “my friends think I listen to cool music”); and (3) the public self, which is the view held by general others (e.g., “people think professors are smart”).

 

For this research, we address the private self and the collective self. Research shows that private and collective self-construals can be primed and that priming the collective self results in people caring about what important others might think (Ybarra and Trafimow 1998). We contend that men experience social pressure to endorse traditional masculine stereotypes when judging male models. Here, the collective self involves other men and the impression they may form of the male judging the ad. We base our view on theoretical and empirical research.

 

It is widely theorized in masculinity research that men face substantial normative pressure to endorse traditional masculinity and exhibit an aversion to appearing feminine (Connell 1995; Smiler 2004). Traditional masculinity is an ideology where an individual internalizes cultural attitudes toward masculinity which informs their expectations of masculine behavior (Levant and Richmond 2007). Connell (1995) referred to this ideology as hegemonic masculinity which is a culturally dominant traditional masculinity that subordinates other male masculinities, such as homosexuality (Connell 1995).

 

In other words, there is a hierarchy of masculinities and traditional masculinity dominates them. From this perspective, traditional masculine stereotypes represent the normative standard for all men. In addition to expectations to act as a traditional masculine male, empirical research reveals how responses from other men encourage endorsement of traditional masculinity. For instance, masculine men regard feminine males as gay (Wade and Brittan-Powell 2001). This is relevant as masculine men are more likely to engage in antigay harassment than nontraditional men (Wade and Brittan-Powell 2001).

 

Furthermore, nontraditional men have been shown to be concerned of a social backlash from other men for violating traditional masculine stereotypes (Rudman and Fairchild 2004). Overall, this suggests that men are subject to normative pressure to endorse traditional masculinity which, in our research, means males being seen to endorse masculine models. The limited research on how men respond to male models in advertising supports this view. Elliott and Elliott (2005, p. 10) found men in a focus group setting uniformly condemned male models seen as feminine or “not manly enough.” Although they did not study participant gender identity, we posit that such a result reflects the influence of the collective self.

 

In a public setting, males endorse the traditional masculine norm. For masculine men who believe in traditional masculinity (Moore and Stuart 2004), such public endorsement reflects their personal views. However, for feminine men and androgynous men, there is a potential conflict between social pressures to be seen to endorse masculinity and their own feminine characteristics. We posit that how nontraditional men resolve this tension can be explained by considering self-construal salience. Next, we present our hypotheses.

 

2.2.1 Masculine men

Gender schema theory (Bem 1981) posits that masculine men have integrated cultural expectations of masculinity into their self-concept and that they process information on the basis of these expectations. Since masculine men (1) tend to support the dominance of traditional masculinity, (2) are more likely than other gender identities to be intolerant of those who deviate from gender norms, and (3) strongly avoid the negative associations of femininity in men (Garst and Bodenhausen 1997), they should prefer ads featuring the masculine model. Since this preference reflects their personal views, it should be exhibited in private self and collective self contexts.

 

H1: For masculine men, advertisements featuring a masculine model will generate more favorable evaluations than for advertisements featuring other model types, irrespective of their level of self-construal.

2.2.2 Feminine men

Feminine men, due to their lack of endorsement of masculine characteristics (Bem 1981), are anticipated to reject the appearance of masculinity, but only in a private self context where they are not subject to normative pressure. In private, feminine men will have more favorable attitudes to ads featuring the feminine model. Yet in a collective self context, feminine men should conform to the masculine norm and prefer the masculine model.

H2: For feminine men, advertisements featuring a feminine model will generate more favorable evaluations than for advertisements featuring other model types, when the private self is primed. However, advertisements featuring a masculine model will be preferred when the collective self is primed.

 

2.2.3 Androgynous men

Given that (1) androgynous men look to enact appropriate behavior in a given social context (Bem 1974; Ickes et al. 1979) and (2) androgynous people are more conformist than other gender identities (Anderson 1986), we posit that they should endorse the masculine model when the collective self is salient, but should endorse the androgynous model in a private self context. To this end, androgynous men have been found to mimic the behavior of masculine men when interacting with them, but to exhibit more expressive behavior when interacting with androgynous men (Ickes et al. 1979).

 

H3: For androgynous men, advertisements featuring an androgynous model will generate more favorable evaluations than for advertisements featuring other model types, when the private self is primed. However, advertisements featuring a masculine model will be preferred when the collective self is primed.

 

3 Study 1

3.1 Pretests

Forty students rated the masculinity and femininity of nine male models (three androgynous, three masculine, three feminine) on seven-point scales (not so masculine– highly masculine, not so feminine–highly feminine). As a result, a masculine model (Mmasculine=6.13, Mfeminine=2.60, p<0.001), feminine model (Mmasculine=1.63, Mfeminine=5.80, p<0.001), and androgynous model (Mmasculine=5.70, Mfeminine=5.68, NS) were selected. Based on a separate pretest (n=31) showing that mobile phones were familiar and gender neutral, mobiles were chosen for the main study.

 

3.2 Overview and data collection

The experimental design involved a within-subject variable (model gender identity: androgynous, masculine, or feminine) and a between-subjects variable (self-construal salience: private self, collective self). Participant gender identity (androgynous,masculine, and feminine) was measured. Thus, a 3×2×3 mixed design was used. Participant gender identity scores were collected 1 month before the main study (Aaker 1999). For the main study, 208 male undergraduates were given randomly distributed booklets. They read three print ads at their own pace and completed a questionnaire. The entire procedure took approximately 20 min.

 

3.3 Independent variables

Each print ad contained a male model. A pretested fictitious brand name was used to avoid the influence of brand inferences. For self-construal, we used the priming procedure of Reed (2004) where participants completed a hand writing study that asked them to write three sentences on any topic as a baseline measure and then to write five independent sentences on a topic which related to the prime. For the private self prime (collective self prime), participants read that these sentences should “describe your sense of independence as an individual young adult” (“your sense of connectedness with people you feel close to”). After completing the priming task, participants were asked to complete an unrelated study that looked at print ads which contained the experimental stimuli and dependent measures.

 

The ads were presented in random order (i.e., androgynous model first, masculine model first, or feminine model first). Analysis of variances (ANOVAs) showed no order effects on participant evaluations and cognitive responses (study 1: ps>0.14, study 1: ps>0.12). Thus, this is not discussed further. For consumer gender identity, participants completed the BSRI (Bem 1974) which involved rating 20 masculine, 20 feminine, and 20 gender neutral adjectives (not at all desirable–extremely desirable, seven-point scale). Participants were classified as androgynous, masculine, feminine, or undifferentiated on the basis of median splitting of the masculinity (α=0.91) and femininity scales (α=0.81).2 Following prior research (Jaffe and Berger 1988), undifferentiated people, who do not use gender expectations to process information (Bem 1981), were removed from further analysis.

 

3.4 Dependent variables

Evaluations used four seven-point scales (positive–negative, very favorable–not at all favorable, good–bad, would definitely consider buying it–would definitely not consider buying it) from Gürhan-Canli and Maheswaran (2000). Following Ahluwalia (2002), two judges coded the cognitive response data as impression management-related and nonimpression management-related (I, N) and as positive, negative, or neutral in valence (+, −, 0). Impression management-related thoughts were thoughts of the consequences of endorsing or using the brand publicly or influencing the impression that others formed of them (Ahluwalia 2002). Although our hypotheses relate to evaluations, this coding was performed to gain a fuller understanding of the effects of the independent variables. Examples include: “This 2 The distribution of participants by consumer gender identity for study 1 was as follows: 64 masculine males, 58 androgynous males, 45 feminine males, and 31 undifferentiated males.

For study 2, participants comprised 82 masculine males, 74 androgynous males, 60 feminine males, and 20 undifferentiated males.phone would make me hot” (I+), “Only (derogatory swear word) would use this” (I−), “Good colors” (N+), “There are better products on the market” (N−). These codings were used to create an index of valenced impression management thoughts (positive thoughts minus negative thoughts) and an index of valenced nonimpression management thoughts. Interjudge reliability was 90%

 

3.5 Results

3.5.1 Manipulation checks

A model gender identity manipulation check was performed using two seven-point scales (not so masculine–highly masculine, not so feminine–highly feminine). Analyses of these scales suggests that this manipulation was successful for masculinity (F2, 414= 323.29, p<0.001) and femininity (F2, 414=278.27, p<0.001). Specifically, appropriate profiles were presented for the masculine model (Mmasculine=5.49, Mfeminine=2.37, p< 0.001), androgynous model (Mmasculine=4.93, Mfeminine=4.78, p=0.31), and feminine model (Mmasculine=2.45, Mfeminine=5.35, p<0.001). For self-construal, we measured self thoughts on two seven-point items (While reading the ad, please describe the extent to which: you thought just about yourself, your thoughts were focused just on you) anchored by not at all–a lot, adapted from Aaker and Lee (2001). We averaged these items to form a self thoughts index (r= 0.91). We measured thoughts about others on two items (you thought about you and other people, your thoughts were focused on you and other people), adapted from Aaker and Lee (2001). We averaged these items to create an others thoughts index (r=0.83). ANOVA analysis revealed that exposure to the private self prime resulted in significantly more self thoughts (M=4.17) than the collective self prime (M=2.73, F1, 206=45.80, p<0.001). Furthermore, the collective self prime resulted in significantly more other-oriented thoughts (M=4.01) than the private self prime (M=2.73, F1, 206=51.01, p<0.001). These results suggest that the priming manipulation was successful.

 

3.5.2 Hypothesis testing

Masculine men A three-way multivariate analysis of variance (MANOVA) revealed a significant model gender identity×self-construal×consumer gender identity interaction for evaluations (F2, 138=7.46, p<0.001), valenced impression management thoughts (VIM, F2, 138=12.53, p<0.001) but not valenced nonimpression management thoughts (VNIM, p=0.07). To further investigate these results, a MANOVA was run for masculine men. A significant main effect for model type revealed that masculine models received the most favorable evaluations (M=4.54), followed by androgynous (M=3.96) and feminine models, respectively (M=3.10, F2, 56=34.80, p<0.001). As expected, self-construal priming did not influence the results (ps>0.14) nor did priming interact with model type (p>0.0.10). Thus, hypothesis 1 is supported. For cognitive responses, MANOVA revealed a significant difference for model type on VIM. Participants viewed the masculine model the most positively and the feminine model negatively (Mmasculine=0.41, Mandrogynous= 0.06, Mfeminine=−0.31, F2, 56=11.89, p<0.001). VNIM data yielded a similar pattern(Mmasculine=0.56, Mandrogynous=0.02, Mfeminine=−0.83, F2, 56=16.11, p<0.001). A review of the data suggested that the masculine model was viewed as an aspirational ideal, whereas the feminine model was frequently denigrated and presumed to be homosexual. Feminine men As expected, a significant model type×priming interaction was evident for evaluations (F2, 86=24.53, p<0.001). This interaction showed that feminine men prefer feminine models (M=5.02) over androgynous models (M= 3.86) and masculine models (M=3.73), when their private self is salient. However, when their collective self is salient, they claim a preference for the traditional masculine model (M=4.35) over the feminine model (M=2.81) and androgynous model (M=3.35; Table 1).

 

Thus, hypothesis 2 is supported. The cognitive responses revealed a significant model type×priming interaction for VIM (F2, 86=22.64, p<0.001) and VNIM (F2, 86=5.95, p<0.001). Under private self conditions, feminine men reported more positive VIM for feminine models (M= 0.55) than other model types (Ms<0.10). Yet when the collective self is activated, feminine men regard feminine models negatively (M=−0.78) as opposed to masculine models (M=0.72) and androgynous models (M=0.16). For VNIM, under the private self, feminine men dislike the masculine model (M=−0.19). For the collective self, feminine men report positive thoughts about the masculine model (M=0.72) as opposed to dislike of the feminine model (M=−0.41) and indifference toward the androgynous model (M=0.18). Androgynous men The model type×priming interaction was significant for evaluations (F2, 112=17.71, p<0.001).

 

As expected, when the private self is salient, androgynous men report more favorable evaluations after viewing an androgynous model (M=4.58) rather than a masculine model (M=3.36) or feminine model (M=3.09). Yet when the collective self is salient, they prefer masculine models (M=5.10) over androgynous models (M=3.88) and feminine models (M=3.82). Thus, there is support for hypothesis 3. The cognitive responses revealed a significant model type×priming interaction for VIM (F2, 112=19.05, p<0.001). The means generally converge with the attitudinal results. When the private self is salient, androgynous men report more favorable VIM in response to an androgynous model (M=1.00) rather than a masculine model (M=0.17) or feminine model (M= 0.07). When the collective self is salient, more favorable thoughts are reported for the masculine model (M=0.74) and the androgynous model (M=0.30) compared with the feminine model (M=−0.44). No such interaction was evident for VNIM (p>0.10).

 

3.6 Discussion

The findings suggest that men differ in their evaluations of male models when selfconstrual and gender identity are taken into account. Masculine men prefer masculine models and regard feminine models negatively. In contrast, feminine men conform to this pattern when their collective self is salient; but in private, their evaluations show the opposite pattern. The cognitive responses data generally.

 

Means with different letters are significantly different at p<0.05 Andro model androgynous model, VIM valenced impression management thoughts, VNIM valenced nonimpression management thoughts, Class. expect classification expectationsconverge with these findings and provide insight into the mechanism that accounts for the attitudinal effects.

 

Of note is the way that feminine and androgynous men endorse masculine models in a collective context but prefer models that resemble their own gender identity when their private self is salient. We posit that the reason for these results relates to male classification expectations. Specifically, how men feel they will be classified by others and the normative pressure men experience to endorse the traditional masculine male. Research suggests that heterosexual men seek to avoid misclassification as homosexual when they perform stereotypically feminine role behaviors, such as dancing in a ballet class (Bosson et al. 2005). Furthermore, Bosson et al. (2005) show that these misclassification expectations mediate feelings of self-conscious discomfort thereby promoting adherence to role norms.

Given that self-construal is context-dependent andthat, for the collective self, individuals emphasize their similarity to other in-group members (Guimond et al. 2006), such as male peers, we expect masculine men and androgynous men to endorse the masculine norm to avoid misclassification as feminine. However, while past research has examined misclassification (e.g., a masculine male regarded as feminine), we predict that in a collective self context, feminine men are concerned with being correctly classified (i.e., being revealed as feminine) because of social pressure and, hence, endorse the masculine norm.

 

This is because, for feminine men, there is a potential conflict between social pressures to be seen to endorse traditional masculinity—and hence the masculine model—and their own feminine characteristics. In other words, feminine males are likely to experience gender role dissonance because of the discrepancy between their private feminine views and the masculine stereotype which they are expected to support (Smiler 2004). To this end, recent research highlights the negative social reactions that nonconformists may suffer. Maas et al. (2003) show that masculine males are more likely to engage in harassment, particularly when exposed to feminine information which may threaten their self-identity.

 

Furthermore, Rudman and Fairchild (2004) show how people who violate traditional stereotypes can suffer a social backlash from other members of their in-group. They found that feminine men were more afraid of a backlash than traditional masculine men and that they actively engaged in strategies (e.g., feigning gender conformity) to avoid these negative reprisals. Overall, this suggests that feminine males hide their feminine views in order to avoid being classified by other men as feminine. Thus, their concern is that they will be correctly classified by other men as feminine. Thus, classification expectations should mediate male responses to male models in advertising

H4: Classification expectations mediate the effects of participant gender identity, model gender identity, and self-construal on evaluations.

 

4 Study

2 4.1 Overview, participants, and procedure

Study 2 replicates study 1 with a new product context and includes a measure for classification expectations. Two hundred and forty-three male undergraduates from the same subject pool as study 1 participated (BSRImasculinity: α=0.85, BSRIfemininity: α=0.77). 4.2 Independent variables and dependent variables The manipulation for self-construal and measures were identical to study 1. We selected watches as the product since a pretest showed they scored higher for men as a fashion item than mobiles. For classification expectations, participants rated the following seven-point item, “If this ad was used in the media and you bought the watch, how likely is it that a stranger would think you were like the model in the ad, if they saw you with the watch?” (not at all likely–very likely), adapted from Bosson et al. (2005).

 

4.3 Results

4.3.1 Manipulation checks

Analysis of the model gender identity manipulation check indicated that this manipulation was successful for masculinity (F2, 223=36.73, p<0.001) and femininity (F2, 223=58.54, p<0.001) with appropriate profiles for the masculine model (Mmasculine=4.93, Mfeminine=2.61, p=0.01), androgynous model (Mmasculine= 4.89, Mfeminine=4.71, NS), and feminine model (Mmasculine=3.22, Mfeminine=5.26, p< 0.001). For self-construal, the private self prime resulted in significantly more self thoughts (M=4.38) than the collective self prime (M=3.93, F1, 208=4.05, p<0.001). Furthermore, the collective self prime resulted in significantly more other-oriented thoughts (M=3.83) than the private self prime (M=2.65, F1, 208=26.15, p<0.001). These results suggest that the priming manipulation was successful.

 

4.3.2 Hypothesis testing

Masculine men A three-way MANOVA yielded a significant model gender identity×self-construal×consumer gender identity interaction for evaluations (F4, 196=6.44, p<0.001) and VIM (F4, 196=10.23, p<0.001). A MANOVA on masculine men data revealed similar significant main effects for model type on evaluations (F2, 76=9.02, p<0.001). Masculine models (M=4.47) are viewed more favorably than androgynous models (M=4.00) or feminine models (M=2.77). Thus, hypothesis 1 is supported. A model type×priming interaction was not significant (p=0.87). An ANOVA on cognitive response data yielded a significant main effect for VIM. Consistent with study 1, participants viewed the masculine model most positively (Mmasculine=0.53, Mfeminine=−0.21, Mandrogynous=−0.14, F2, 76=10.55, p<0.001) but no significant two-way interactions were evidentFeminine men A significant model type×priming interaction was evident for evaluations (F2, 54=23.70, p<0.001). This interaction showed that feminine men prefer feminine models (M=5.10) over androgynous models (M=4.40) and masculine models (M=2.10), when their private self is salient. Yet when their collective self is salient, they prefer the masculine model (M=4.33) over the feminine model (M=2.88) and androgynous model (M=3.20).

 

Thus, hypothesis 2 is supported.An analysis of cognitive responses revealed a significant model×prime interaction for VIM (F2, 54=14.39, p<0.001). When their private self is salient, feminine men think favorably about the feminine model (M=1.20) rather than the masculine model (M=−0.50) or androgynous model (M=0.60). Yet a salient collective self results in positive thoughts reported about the masculine model (M= 1.17) and negative thoughts about the feminine model (M=−1.00) and androgynous model (M=−0.80). Androgynous men A model type×priming interaction was evident for evaluations (F2, 66=8.78, p<0.001). When the private self is salient, androgynous men prefer androgynous models (M=6.00) rather than feminine (M=4.90) or masculine models (M=4.65). Yet when the collective self is salient, these men state a preference for masculine models (M=5.38) over androgynous models (M=3.63) or feminine models (M=3.69; Table 1).

 

Thus, hypothesis 3 is supported. For cognitive responses, androgynous men exhibit a significant model×prime interaction for VIM (F2, 68= 8.76, p<0.001) but not for VNIM (p>0.92). Specifically, in private, these men think more favorably of androgynous models (M=1.13) than masculine (M=0.20) or feminine models (M=−0.20). In contrast, under collective self conditions, these men report thinking more favorably of the masculine model (M=0.44) rather than the androgynous model (M=−0.17) or feminine model (M=−0.25).

 

4.3.3 Tests of mediation(H4)

To test for mediation, we followed three steps (Baron and Kenny 1986). First, as shown, model gender identity, self-construal, and participant gender identity should interact to affect evaluations. Second, the mediator, classification expectations (CE), is significantly affected by this interaction. Specifically, a significant model gender identity×self-construal×participant gender identity interaction was evident for CE (F4, 198=3.52, p<0.01). Third, including CE as a covariate in the MANOVAs from step 1 weakens the previously significant model type×priming×participant gender identity interaction for evaluations (F4, 197=4.78, p<0.01). The effect sizes for this interaction were reduced by 28.57% (i.e., ω2 =0.05 vs 0.07) suggesting partial mediation. Next, we repeated our two-way analyses. For masculine men, the model×prime interaction for evaluations remained nonsignificant (p=0.87). However, the main effect for model type on evaluations was reduced by 33.33% (F2, 75=6.35, p<0.001, ω2 =0.12 vs 0.18). For feminine men, including CE as a covariate resulted in a weaker model×prime interaction for evaluations (F2, 54=18.75, p<0.001) with the effect size reduced by 20.93% (ω2 =0.34 vs 0.43). For androgynous men, including CE as a covariate resulted in weaker model×prime interactions for evaluations (F2, 65=3.95, p<0.05) and a reduction in the effect size of 53.33% (ω2 =0.07 vs 0.15). Thus, hypothesis 4 is partially supported.

 

4.4 Discussion

Study 2 supports the hypotheses and converges with study 1 with a different product context. Furthermore, the mediation analyses suggests that the effect of model gender identity, self-construal, and participant gender identity is mediated by classification expectations. For example, when primed with their collective self, feminine men exhibit a concern they will be classified by others as similar to a feminine model (M=5.10; Table 1). Androgynous men exhibit a similar concern for classification by others in a collective self context (M=5.13; Table 1). 5 General discussion The present research shows that male responses to male models in advertising is influenced by their gender identity, self-construal, and the perceived gender identity of the model. The findings contribute to research on gender effects in marketing.

 

We show that considering model gender identity in isolation only applies to masculine men. In contrast, the responses of feminine men and androgynous men are influenced by self-construal salience. Our findings suggest that classification expectations provide insights for exploring the process that underlies gender identity differences in how men evaluate male models. Furthermore, we extend the findings of Bosson et al. (2005) by showing that the responses of feminine men to advertising in a collective self context is influenced by concerns of being correctly classified as feminine which results in them supporting traditional masculinity.

 

When the collective self is salient, the expectation that they will be revealed as feminine drives feminine men to endorse the masculine model and shun the feminine model. A useful avenue for future research to explore this result involves concealable stigma. Stigma involves some characteristic individuals possess, or are thought to possess, that conveys a social identity which is devalued in a particular social context (Smart and Wegner 1999). Frable et al. (1998) assert that concealable stigma effects may only have an effect when a person’s social group membership is salient. Our findings support this view, as feminine and androgynous men conceal their positive view of feminine models when their collective self is salient, and instead endorse the masculine model.

 

Thus, male femininity appears to represent a selfperceived undesirable characteristic to be hidden from discovery and the negative impressions or potential backlash from other men (Rudman and Fairchild 2004). Alternatively, the positive view that feminine men have in private of feminine models, along with their classification expectations of being recognized as masculine in private, may represent an evoked fantasy of social acceptance (Martin 2004). A limitation of this research is we did not measure sexual orientation which could be used as a covariate in future research. Similarly, although the evidence of the validity of the BSRI has been offered by researchers (e.g., Holt and Ellis 1998), Palan et al. (1999) suggest that changes in the sociocultural environment since the BSRI was developed in the 1970s may have influenced its validity.

 

To this end, researchers should consider developing new measures of gender identity which may offer additional insights into how men respond to male models in advertising. For advertising practice, our research suggests that masculine models like the Marlboro man are not the only alternative for advertisers. Instead, males can be segmented in terms of gender identity. Masculine men prefer masculine models. For these consumers, feminine models should be avoided. Thus, these men support the current widespread use of masculine models in advertising (Ganahl et al. 2003). Yet the opportunity exists for using other model gender identities to target segments beyond masculine men.

 

Specifically, advertisers can use gender identity congruency (i.e., feminine models targeting feminine men and androgynous models targeting androgynous men), but only for advertising appeals that emphasize the private self (e.g., a solitary consumption activity) and which are viewed in a social setting away from other males. Masculine models may appear to be a useful ingredient of advertising when targeting men in a collective self setting (e.g., advertising in a sports bar), but this overlooks how feminine and androgynous male consumers disguise their advertising preferences when the collective self is salient. Acknowledgements The authors thank the editors, the anonymous reviewers, Cristel Russell, David Griffith, and Simon Pervan for the helpful comments.

 

References

Aaker, J. L. (1999). The malleable self: the role of self-expression in persuasion. Journal of Marketing Research, 36, 45–57. (February) doi:10.2307/3151914. Aaker, J. L., & Lee, A. Y. (2001). ‘I’ seek pleasures and ‘we’ avoid pains: the role of self-regulatory goals in information processing and persuasion. The Journal of Consumer Research, 28(1), 33–49. doi:10.1086/321946. Aarts, H., & Dijksterhuis, A. (2003). The silence of the library: environment, situational norm, and social behavior. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 84(1), 18–28. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.84.1.18. Ahluwalia, R. (2002). How prevalent is the negativity effect in consumer environments. The Journal of Consumer Research, 29, 270–279. (September) doi:10.1086/341576. Anderson, K. L. (1986). Androgyny, flexibility, and individualism. Journal of Personality Assessment, 50 (2), 265–278. doi:10.1207/s15327752jpa5002_13. Baron, R. M., & Kenny, D. A. (1986). The moderator-mediator variable distinction in social psychological research: Conceptual, strategic, and statistical considerations. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 51, 1173–1182. Beere, C. A. (1990). Gender roles: a handbook of tests and measures. New York: Greenwood. Bem, S. L. (1974). The measurement of psychological androgyny. Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 42(2), 155–162. doi:10.1037/h0036215. Bem, S. L. (1981). Gender schema theory: a cognitive account of sex typing. Psychological Review, 88(4), 354–364. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.88.4.354. Bosson, J. K., Prewitt-Freilino, J. L., & Taylor, J. N. (2005). Role rigidity: a problem of identity misclassification. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 89(4), 552–565. doi:10.1037/0022- 3514.89.4.552. Connell, R. W. (1995). Masculinities. Cambridge: Polity. Deaux, K. (1985). Sex and gender. Annual Review of Psychology, 36, 49–81, (January) doi:10.1146/ annurev.ps.36.020185.000405. Debevec, K., & Iyer, E. (1986). The influence of spokespersons in altering a product’s gender image: implications for advertising effectiveness. Journal of Advertising, 15(4), 12–20. Elliott, R., & Elliott, C. (2005). Idealized images of the male body in advertising: a reader-response exploration. Journal of Marketing Communications, 11(3), 3–19. doi:10.1080/1352726042000263566. Frable, D. E. S., Platt, L., & Hoey, S. (1998). Concealable stigmas and positive self-perceptions: feeling better around similar others. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 74(4), 902–922. doi:10.1037/ 0022-3514.74.4.909. Ganahl, D. J., Prinsen, T. J., & Netzley, S. B. (2003). A content analysis of prime time commercials: a contextual framework of gender representations. Sex Roles, 49((9/10)), 545–551. doi:10.1023/ A:1025893025658. Garst, J., & Bodenhausen, G. V. (1997). Advertising’s effects on men’s gender role attitudes. Sex Roles, 36(9/10), 551–572. doi:10.1023/A:1025661806947. Guimond, S., Chatard, A., Martinot, D., Crisp, R. J., & Redersdorff, S. (2006). Social comparison, selfstereotyping, and gender differences in self-construals. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 90(2), 221–242. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.90.2.221. Gürhan-Canli, Z., & Maheswaran, D. (2000). Cultural variations in country of origin effects. JMR, Journal of Marketing Research, 37, 309–317, (August) doi:10.1509/jmkr.37.3.309.18778. Holt, C. L., & Ellis, J. B. (1998). Assessing the current validity of the BEM sex-role inventory. Sex Roles, 39(11/12), 929–941. doi:10.1023/A:1018836923919. Holt, D. B., & Thompson, C. J. (2004). Man-of-action heroes: the pursuit of heroic masculinity in everyday consumption. The Journal of Consumer Research, 31, 425–440. (September) doi:10.1086/422120. Ickes, W., Schermer, B., & Steeno, J. (1979). Sex and sex role influences in same-sex dyads. Social Psychology Quarterly, 42(4), 373–385. doi:10.2307/3033807. Jaffe, L. J. (1994). The unique predictive ability of sex-role identity in explaining women’s response to advertising. Psychology and Marketing, 11(5), 467–482. doi:10.1002/mar.4220110504. Jaffe, L. J., & Berger, P. D. (1988). Impact on purchase intent of sex-role identity and product positioning. Psychology and Marketing, 5(3), 259–271. Levant, R. F., & Richmond, K. (2007). A review of research on masculinity ideologies using the male role norms inventory. Journal of Men’s Studies, 15(2), 130–146. doi:10.3149/jms.1502.130. 366 Market Lett (2009) 20:353–367 Maas, A., Cadinu, M., Guarnieri, G., & Grasselli, A. (2003). Sexual harassment under social identity threat: the computer harassment paradigm. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(5), 853– 870. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.85.5.853. Martin, B. A. S. (2004). Using the imagination: consumer evoking and thematizing of the fantastic imaginary. The Journal of Consumer Research, 31, 136–149, (June) doi:10.1086/383430. Moore, T. M., & Stuart, G. L. (2004). Effects of masculine gender role stress on men’s cognitive, affective, physiological and aggressive responses to intimate conflict situations. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 5(2), 132–142. doi:10.1037/1524-9220.5.2.132. Palan, K. M., Areni, C. S., & Kiecker, P. (1999). Reexamining masculinity, femininity, and gender identity scales. Marketing Letters, 10(4), 363–377. doi:10.1023/A:1008110204546. Parsons, T., & Bales, R. F. (1955). Family Structure and the Socialization of the Child. New York: Free Press. Patterson, M., & Elliott, R. (2002). Negotiating masculinities: advertising and the inversion of the male gaze. Consumption, Markets and Culture, 5(3), 231–246. doi:10.1080/10253860290031631. Prior, M. (2004). With metrosexuals in mid-America, merchants explore ‘masculine side’. Drug Store News, 26(8), 63–65. Reed II, A. (2004). Activating the self-importance of consumer selves: exploring identity salience effects on judgments. The Journal of Consumer Research, 31, 286–295, (September) doi:10.1086/422108. Rudman, L. A., & Fairchild, K. (2004). Reactions to counterstereotypic behavior: the role of backlash in cultural stereotype maintenance. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 87(2), 157–176. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.87.2.157. Smart, L., & Wegner, D. M. (1999). Covering up what can’t be seen: concealable stigma and mental control. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 77(3), 474–486. doi:10.1037/0022-3514.77.3.474. Smiler, A. P. (2004). Thirty years after the discovery of gender: psychological concepts and measures of masculinity. Sex Roles, 50(1/2), 15–26. doi:10.1023/B:SERS.0000011069.02279.4c. Stern, B. B. (1988). Sex-role self-concept measures and marketing: a research note. Psychology and Marketing, 5(1), 85–99. doi:10.1002/mar.4220050107. Triandis, H. C. (1989). The self and social behavior in differing cultural contexts. Psychological Review, 96(3), 506–520. doi:10.1037/0033-295X.96.3.506. Vigorito, A. J., & Curry, T. J. (1998). Marketing masculinity: gender identity and popular magazines. Sex Roles, 39(1/2), 135–152. doi:10.1023/A:1018838102112. Wade, J. C., & Brittan-Powell, C. (2001). Men’s attitudes toward race and gender equity: the importance of maculinity ideology, gender-related traits, and reference group identity dependence. Psychology of Men & Masculinity, 2(1), 42–50. doi:10.1037/1524-9220.2.1.42. Ybarra, O., & Trafimow, D. (1998). How priming the private self or collective self affects the relative weight of attitudes and subjective norms. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 24(4), 362–370. doi:10.1177/0146167298244003

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *