Do single women and single men differ in their experiences of "singlism"? This research examines whether single women and single men report differences in the amount and content of singlehood-based discrimination. Study 1 (N=140) evaluated the amount of discrimination single male and single female participants reported against single women, single men, and themselves for being single. Additionally, participants were asked to provide stereotypic trait words to describe singles of their own gender. Study 2 had single male and single female participants (N=146) report 10 stereotypes for both single women and single men and rate the valence of those stereotypes. As hypothesized, in both Studies 1 and 2, single male and single female participants did not differ in their reported personal discrimination, but female participants did perceive single women as experiencing more discrimination than single men. Furthermore, while single male and single female participants agreed on overlapping stereotypes of single men and single women (e.g., "lonely", "independent"), they also reported distinct gendered stereotypes for single men (e.g., "immature", "reliable") and single women (e.g., "frigid", "lucky"). However, contrary to hypotheses, single men were rated more harshly on the valence of stereotype words than single women, although this was partly driven by single female participants rating single women's stereotypes more positively (Study 2). This research helps reconcile inconsistencies in the literature by illustrating that while single women and single men may experience similar amounts of discrimination, they may nonetheless have distinct discrimination experiences that are shaped by gendered stereotypes of single men versus single women.
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Thesis advisor: Girme, Yuthika
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