Is Hastings Man anxious and insecure about relationships with women?

If a man appears to be a model of chivalry one moment and a woman-hater the next it may be because he is anxious and insecure, according to new research.

This flip in attitudes may reflect confusion over women as romantic partners and potential rivals. And,according to Prof Hart of Union College in the US, other men tend to avoid relationships altogether and can remain hostile to women.

Prof. Hart suggests that anxious men are likely to switch between chivalry and hostility towards female partners, acting like a knight when she fulfils his goals and ideals about women, but like an ogre when she doesn't.

The research team questioned more than 400 heterosexual men to get their views on romance and to find out whether they showed anxiety or avoidance towards women, and whether this could be described as "hostile" or "benevolent" sexism.

Hostile sexists saw women as dominating, mean-spirited foes, whereas the benevolent ones thought of women as fragile objects of adoration.

The study found that anxious men tended to be romantics, but could be both hostile and benevolent sexists. Those who shunned relatiionships with women leaned towards social dominance and were typically hostile sexists only.

added at 12:12am on 27th December 2012

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