Friday, May 13, 2022

Honor cultures research centered almost exclusively on men and physical aggression as a means of reputation defense; present research indicates honor endorsing women also active in reputation maintenance and defense (spreading rumors, social exclusion)

Honor-endorsing women and relational aggression: Evidence for the presence of feminine aggression norms in southern U.S. women. Stephen Foster et al. Personality and Individual Differences, Volume 194, August 2022, 111668.


• Culture of honor research has failed to focus on female-centric aspects of the culture.

• It is expected that women may engage in relationally-aggressive behavior to defend one's reputation.

• Relationally-aggressive reputation defense only emerges when honor-endorsing women do not fulfill honor norms and values.

• Provides first evidence for feminine aggression norms.

Abstract: Research on honor cultures has centered almost exclusively on men and men's use of physical aggression as a means of reputation defense, while tacitly overlooking women's role(s). Across three studies (N = 813), we examined whether honor endorsing women, like men, exhibit aggressive tendencies, albeit in the form of relational aggression. We found that women's honor endorsement predicted greater use of reactive relational aggression (e.g., ignoring and excluding others; Studies 1 and 2), but only among women who felt they were not achieving what it means to be an honorable woman (Study 2). Lastly, we found that women higher in feminine honor endorsement were more supportive of women who relationally aggressed (i.e. spreading rumors, social exclusion) in response to reputation threats (Study 3). Taken together, the present research indicates that honor endorsing women are more active in reputation maintenance and defense than prior work has acknowledged.

Keywords: Culture of honorFeminine normsRelational aggressionAggression

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