Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Gold, Steven R.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of Psychology


Sex (Psychology); Femininity


The purpose of the current study was to explicate the definition of hyperfemininity. This was achieved by identifying hyperfeminine women with the Hyperfemininity Scale developed by Murnen and Byrne (1991) and analyzing their responses to measures of a variety of other attitudinal and behavioral variables. Subjects included 326 females who completed a series of self-report measures including the Hyperfemininity Scale, the Sexual Experiences Survey, the Heterosexual Behavior Scale, the Mar1owe-Crowne Social Desirability Scale, Scale 4 of the MMPI-2, the Sexual Attitudes Scale, and the Brief Symptom Inventory. Subjects also read three scenarios depicting a sexual interaction in which the male uses various levels of force (no force, low force, moderate force). Half of the subjects received scenarios which described the male as having a high prestige occupation while the other half read scenarios in which the male's occupation was not mentioned. The purpose of the scenarios was to determine if hyperfeminine women justified the behavior of sexually coercive males more so than non-hyperfeminine women. Fifty subjects were also asked permission to obtain their ACT scores. Hyperfeminine women held more permissive sexual attitudes and had more consensual and coercive sexual experiences. Their instrumental and communal sexual attitudes suggest individuals who view sex as functional in obtaining and maintaining a romantic relationship. Hyperfemininity was negatively correlated with social desirability and was positively correlated with self-reported symptoms of psychopathology and behaviors suggesting delinquency/psychopathy. Women who scored high on the Hyperfemininity Scale were more likely to justify the behavior of sexually coercive males because of characteristics of the date (i.e., the male paid, she allowed him to kiss and touch her) when the male held a high prestige position. They were also more likely than non-hyperfeminine women to date again a male who used low levels of force to obtain sex. Hyperfeminine women were neither less intelligent nor less assertive than non-hyperfeminine women. It is suggested that "hyperfemininity" may be a misnomer as there are many aspects of femininity that are not assessed in the Hyperfemininity Scale. The title of hyperfeminine may also prompt an image of a demure, obsequious, sexually withholding woman while the results of the current research indicate a woman who is manipulative and willing to use sex as a commodity.


Includes bibliographical references (pages [71]-74)


129 pages




Northern Illinois University

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