Understanding Masculinity Ideology in Convicted Rapists

Pandey, Madhumita (2016) Understanding Masculinity Ideology in Convicted Rapists. In: International Symposium on Education, Psychology and Society (ISEPST) 2016, 29-31 March 2016, Kyoto, Japan.

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Abstract

While violence against women has gained prominence in India, there is still a dearth of literature addressing these issues in the society. Amongst available research, the focus has primarily been on victims; judiciary and policing systems while, there are minimum efforts in understanding the alleged offenders. Masculinity originally emerged as concept opposite to femininity (Constantinople, 1973), was later developed into an independent personality characteristic (Bem, 1974) and is now being widely used by social psychologists to study various gender related phenomena (Pleck, Sonenstein and Ku, 1993). According to the trait conceptualization, a man can prove his masculinity only if he meets the expectations and ideals unique to his culture (Bem, 1974; Helgeson, 1994). In other words, possessing characteristics that conform to culturally acceptable behaviours for men (Levant et al., 1992; Thompson, Pleck, & Ferrera, 1992). The objective of this study was to analyze masculinity ideology in convicted rapists and to understand how these men view their roles in the society. Furthermore, the study also compares masculinity ideology of convicted rapists with convicted murders to establish similarities and differences between these two groups of offenders. The present study employed a sample of 60 convicted rapists (convicted under Indian Penal Code 375) and 60 convicted murders (convicted under Indian Penal Code 302) from Tihar Central Jail, New Delhi; which is the largest prison complex in South Asia. Participation in the study was voluntary. Information sheets were sent out to brief the participants about the procedure and confidentiality measures and only those inmates who gave their consent to the Superintendent of the Jail were included. The sample was not random and thus may not be representative of all rapists and murders. Each participant was given a demographic questionnaire to get an insight into their background as well as the Multicultural Masculinity Ideology Questionnaire (MMIS) by Doss and Hopkins (1998). The MMIS has 35-items and is written and published in English. However majority of the participants did not know how to read English and for that reason the official translator of the Delhi Prisons Department translated the questionnaire into Hindi. The MMIS “measures an individual’s adaptation and internalization of a culture’s norms about how men should act”. Doss and Hopkins (1998) conducted a principal-components analysis and were able to identify five major components- Toughness, Pose, Responsibility, Sensitivity and Sexual Responsibility. For this study quantitative methodology will be adopted to analyze the questionnaires to determine the relationships between these components/factors when understood from an Indian context. A possible analysis of variance (ANOVA) will be run using SPSS to find differences among the group means of these two samples (convicted rapists versus convicted murders) as well as to identify any variation in-between groups. According to Stearns (1990) masculinity tends to emphasize on physical toughness, emotional stoicism, projected self-sufficiency, and heterosexual dominance over women. The expected results will most likely show a relationship between these core components of MMIS- Toughness, Pose, Responsibility, Sensitivity and Sexual Responsibility for both groups of convicted offenders. It can be hypothesized that convicted rapists will show less Sexual Responsibility as opposed to convicted murders due to the nature of their crime. Similarly it would be interesting to see which of the group scores reflect higher Sensitivity. Kindlon and Thompson (1999) highlighted emotional stoicism as an important feature of masculinity according to which most men are “emotionally illiterate” due to gender socialization. Toughness is another feature of masculinity that is learned early in life and pushes sensitivity further away (Pollack, 1995). India continues to be a patriarchal society. Culture specific gender-roles and expectations can be important factors when trying to understand crimes against women as rape is often seen as a gender-based crime (Brownmiller, 1975). It is also important to understand the attitudes and beliefs these men have (particularly the rapists) about gender roles and relationships in our society as well as their attitudes towards women. Researchers in the west have been studying the rapists and other offenders since early 1960s (Scully and Marolla, 1984; Langevin, 1988; Segal & Stermac, 1990; Wilson and Shine, 1990) and have made noteworthy progress in highlighting factors that are responsible for their behaviours. The present research will be able to bring forward a new perspective of this unique sample and will contribute to the literature trying to identify factors responsible for crimes against women in India.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Additional Information: The extended abstract for - Understanding Masculinity Ideology in Convicted Rapists - was published in the Conference Proceedings. Paper ID- ISEPST-738
Keywords: Masculinity, Rapists, Culture, Gender Roles, India
Faculty: Faculty of Arts, Law & Social Sciences
Depositing User: Miss Madhumita Pandey
Date Deposited: 29 Jun 2016 12:50
Last Modified: 08 Mar 2018 15:02
URI: http://arro.anglia.ac.uk/id/eprint/700144

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