Marines, medics, and machismo: Lack of fit with masculine occupational stereotypes discourages men's participation

Kim Peters*, Michelle K. Ryan, S. Alexander Haslam

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)
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Women have made substantial inroads into some traditionally masculine occupations (e.g., accounting, journalism) but not into others (e.g., military, surgery). Evidence suggests the latter group of occupations is characterized by hyper-masculine 'macho' stereotypes that are especially disadvantageous to women. Here, we explore whether such macho occupational stereotypes may be especially tenacious, not just because of their impact on women, but also because of their impact on men. We examined whether macho stereotypes associated with marine commandos and surgeons discourage men who feel that they are 'not man enough'. Study 1 demonstrates that male new recruits' (N = 218) perceived lack of fit with masculine commandos was associated with reduced occupational identification and motivation. Study 2 demonstrates that male surgical trainees' (N = 117) perceived lack of fit with masculine surgeons was associated with reduced identification and increased psychological exit a year later. Together, this suggests that macho occupational stereotypes may discourage the very men who may challenge them.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)635-655
Number of pages21
JournalBritish Journal of Psychology
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - Nov-2015


  • Gender stereotypes
  • Masculinity
  • Men
  • Occupational engagement
  • Occupational identification

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