The Italian Almanac

italian macho man

Italian News - June 22

Italian men are nowhere near as macho and domineering as some old stereotypes might suggest, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Missouri. The study, which appears in an upcoming issue of Pyschology of Men and Masculinity suggests that Italian men, while still endorsing the playboy stereotype, are substantially less homophobic and sexist than their United States counterparts.

The study required 152 Italian males from universities in Rome and Palermo to fill in surveys that examined 11 "masculine traits": winning, risk-taking, emotional control, violence, power over women, dominance, self-reliance, playboy, primacy of work, disdain for homosexuality and pursuit of status. The results were compared to another study in which 752 US men filled out a similar survey.

The researchers found that Italian men reported significantly lower adherence to nine of the 11 categories. The only norm that Italian males endorsed significantly higher was the playboy norm which, according to the researchers, "supports the stereotype of the flirtatious and emotional Italian male vying for the attention of a woman."

Glenn Good, a professor of educational, school and counselling psychology who led the study, said he was particularly surprised by the Italian males' lesser endorsement of disdain for homosexuals and power over women. The results, Good said, seemed counter-intuitive in light of Italy's more hidden gay and lesbian community and its greater disparity between men and women in positions of power.