University of Queensland researchers have found evidence to suggest that men who react adversely to romantic rejection and act violently towards women are more likely to be socially dominant.
In two online surveys of more than 550 men, researchers from UQ ’s School of Psychology found that socially dominant men tended to express hostile attitudes towards women, even wanting to ‘discipline’ them.
Research co-author social psychologist Dr Fiona Barlow said socially dominant men were those who supported inequality, and were usually less supportive of women’s rights and tended to prefer more traditional gender roles for both sexes.
“This preference even extends to the bedroom, where more socially dominant men often expect to dictate events,” Dr Barlow said.
“Hostile attitudes were not uncommon among men who felt ‘sexually entitled’ to women.”
The research was led by School of Psychology PhD student Ashleigh Kelly.
Ms Kelly said socially dominant men in the study got angry at women, blaming them for rejection, rather than accepting that women may sometimes not be sexually interested.
“Some of the strategies used by these men include stalking, threatening violence or threatening to hurt themselves when they are rejected in the context of a long-term relationship,” Ms Kelly said.
“These men were also more likely to say they had acted aggressively or threatening towards women they didn’t know when rejected at a club or bar, for example.”
“Men who feel this way are likely to want to lower the age of sexual consent for women, potentially to get access to women with little power or capacity to say no to them.”
Dr Barlow said men who reacted this way were often those who thought women were inferior.
“These will often be men who value their own dominance – who see themselves at the top of the social hierarchy, and women down below, and want to keep it that way.”
The researchers found that a man’s social dominance orientation was a valid predictor of his likely negative or domineering attitudes towards women.
The original research paper by Ashleigh Kelly, Shelli Dubbs and Fiona Barlow, Social Dominance Orientation Predicts Heterosexual Men’s Adverse Reactions to Romantic Rejection, is published in the Archives of Sexual Behaviour.