By Shahnaz Mahmud
Friday, May 28, 2010
A new online test taps visitors' attitudes towards sex roles. So far, male respondents express more traditional attitudes toward professional occupations but say they are more willing to divide the household duties evenly.
In personal relationships, Jerabek said many female respondents said they like it when men initiate, plan and pay for dates, all the while being gallant and courteous. Surveyed women also often tended to regard women as more emotionally expressive, nurturing, and romantic, and more comfortable being vulnerable in a relationship.
When it comes to first dates, 53 percent of the males surveyed believed that they should be the one to pay. Only 16 percent thought it should be split evenly.
They also believed very strongly in gallantry--which is probably a good thing, since the majority of women love it.
The survey found women more modern in their views of sexuality. The majority of male survey respondents were not as comfortable as women are with the idea of females being sexually assertive in the bedroom and initiating sex.
Both sexes agreed that men and women should make decisions together. Jerabek said men and women see each other as equally capable of managing finances.
Jerabek said the topic of changing attitudes toward changing gender roles is very popular in academic research.
"We realized that despite the popularity of this topic in research circles, there weren't many ways regular people could learn about their own views of gender roles. People can easily say, 'Of course I'm totally modern in my views,' but when they actually sit down and take our assessment and think about how they really feel, this perception can change."
Jerabek said the data so far are indicating that individual test takers have a spectrum of attitudes. "Some people had a modern attitude towards gender roles, but when it came close to home, like how to raise their children, some traditional views held strong," she said.
In my own case, however, the results provided no surprise.
I emerged from the test as a "progressive traditionalist." That is, a woman who accepts many, but not all, twists on modern gender roles.
Scoring a 53 overall, it appears that I am neither totally conservative nor completely modern in my views and behaviors. While I might be considered more unconventional in my thinking about the workplace, I apparently take a very traditional stance where romantic relationships are concerned. Yes, I like to be courted and gallantry is not dead in my world.
Jerabek said my test results fall in line with statistical averages the company has gathered so far.
"I think it's kind of a balance. Some women might wish for complete equality. But, then they are stunned if a man doesn't hold the door open for them. I (myself) am a feminist, but I still like these little gallantries," she said.
Jerabek emphasized that more women take "psychometric" assessments like this, so the findings may not be the last word on the male-female areas of agreement and disagreement on sex roles.
In general, men lean towards the technical and IQ tests, while women have a keen interest to dive into the relationship assessments, Jerabek said.
"Women are much more open, in terms of getting feedback from these assessments and acting upon them," she said.
Shahnaz Mahmud is a writer based in New York.
Test Yourself: Do you believe in traditional or modern gender roles? (Women's version):
Test Yourself: Do you believe in traditional or modern gender roles? (Men's version):
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