Gender, fear of crime, and self-presentation: an experimental investigation
Abstract:The authors investigate gendered norms associated with the fear of crime. A sample of 100 men and women in a British market town completed a fear of crime survey having been instructed either to be 'totally honest and accurate', or to respond in a way that portrays them 'in the best possible light' ('fake good'). Men asked to 'fake good' reported less fear than men asked to respond honestly. This result is consistent with theories of masculinity that emphasize the importance of emotional invulnerability and self-sufficiency. In contrast, women asked to 'fake good' tended to report more fear than those asked to respond honestly. This result extends theories of how fear of crime curtails women's freedoms. Specifically, the fear of crime may be a prescriptive gendered norm in its own right, causing women (and men) to feel that their expressed fear is a yardstick by which they might be judged.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: June 1, 2011