Thinking as the Others Do: Persistence and Conformity of Sexual Double Standard among Young Italians

Chiara Pronzato , University of Turin & CCA
Matteo Migheli

The double standard represents a standard of good behaviour that, unfairly, some people are expected to follow or achieve, but others are not. Once neglected by social scientists, the double standard in sexual attitudes has become more and more studied. In this paper, we inquire about the existence of the double standard in opinions regarding peers’ sexual behaviours and study its determinants. What makes young people judge the sexual behaviour of women in a more conservative way than that of men? The paper uses data collected from Italian university students, who are asked to express their (dis)approval of a series of sexual behaviours, considering peers of either gender participating in those behaviours. The results show that the double standard exists and has been persistent amid Italian undergraduate students over the last 20 years, and that the cultural context matters more than the family in shaping students’ beliefs.

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 Presented in Session 107. Flash Session Fertility, Family and the Life Course