-- Mary Elizabeth Dallas
WEDNESDAY, Feb. 13 (HealthDay News) -- You've come a long way,
baby, but in matters of love and marriage this Valentine's Day,
you'll probably let
himdo the asking.
Researchers from the University of California, Santa Cruz, found
that a majority of men and women hold traditional views on
proposals. Most women also said they would opt to take their
husband's last name.
"I was surprised at how strong the preference was," Rachael Robnett, a doctoral candidate in psychology, said in a university news release.
"Given the prevalence of liberal attitudes among students at the university where data collection took place, it is striking that so many participants held traditional preferences," she said. "Even more surprising is that many participants overtly state that their preferences were driven by a desire to adhere to gender-role traditions."
In conducting the study, Robnett surveyed 277 undergraduates
majoring or intending to major in psychology. All of the students
were heterosexual and ranged in age from 17 to 26 years old.
Not one of the 136 men surveyed said he "would definitely want"
his partner to propose. And none of the 141 women surveyed said
they "would definitely want" to pop the question.
By contrast, two-thirds of women and slightly more than
two-thirds of men "definitely" wanted the guy to do the asking,
according to the study, which was published in the January issue of
Journal of Adolescent Research.
Only 9 percent of women and 17 percent of men said it didn't
matter who proposed.
Sticking with traditional views on marriage, 60 percent of women
were "very willing" or "somewhat willing" to take their husband's
name. Only 6 percent of women were "very unwilling" and just 11
percent "somewhat unwilling" to change their name. Less than
one-quarter of women were "neither willing nor unwilling" to take
their husband's name.
The participants' traditional views on marriage were likely
linked to "benevolent sexism," or the notion that "men should
protect, cherish and provide for women," Robnett said.
"On the surface it looks positive. The problem is that benevolent sexism contributes to power differentials between women and men," Robnett noted. "The mindset underlying benevolent sexism is that women need men's protection because they are the weaker gender."
The notion of benevolent sexism is difficult to challenge
because it's "usually viewed as politeness or chivalry," she said.
She added, however, that people who endorse benevolent sexism tend
to adhere to traditional marriage roles, including the idea that
women should do most of the childrearing even if both partners
work. "Research shows it often does a disservice to women," she
The Pew Research Center provides more information on
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