chapter  11
17 Pages

The Drive for Muscularity and Masculinity: Testing the Associations Among Gender Role Traits, Behaviors, Attitudes, and Confl ict

Until the last decade, research exploring gender differences in body image concerns and their outcomes has been based solely on perceptions of adiposity (i.e., body fat). This research has led to the belief that, because men are less concerned or dissatisfi ed than women with their degree of adiposity, are less likely than women to be dieting to lose weight, and rarely experience clinical disorders associated with body image (e.g., anorexia and bulimia nervosa), they are relatively happy with their bodies (e.g., Feingold & Mazzella, 1998; Garner, Olmstead, & Polivy, 1983; Muth & Cash, 1997). This belief, however,

does not take into consideration the fact that adiposity is not equally important for men and women. That is, whereas the social standard of bodily attractiveness for women refl ects being small and thin, the social standard for men refl ects being big and muscular, what Mishkind, Rodin, Silberstein, and Striegel-Moore (1986) referred to as the muscular mesomorphic shape.