Iowa State University
In cultures with “female honor” norms, women are expected to cultivate a reputation for purity, chastity, and loyal behaviors such as wearing modest clothes and maintaining virginity before marriage. The dominant explanation for men’s support for female honor norms is that female infidelity and promiscuity threaten men’s honor, whereby such acts reflect badly on the reputation of the husband, and damage family and community relationships. Beyond this, the literature affords little understanding of the individual-level psychological mechanisms which produce men’s support for female honor norms. We propose that male sexual jealousy motivates men’s support of female honor norms beyond feelings of threat to male honor. Experimental studies conducted with MTurk samples found that men who were manipulated to feel sexual jealousy showed stronger support for female honor norms than men did in a control condition. The effect of sexual jealousy manipulation was specific to men’s support for female honor norms, and it did not lead to stronger support for other types of honor norms (masculine, family, and integrity honor). Furthermore, results showed that sexual jealousy was a stronger predictor of men’s support for female honor norms than feelings of threat to male honor. These findings can enhance understanding of the individual-level psychological and affective mechanisms that contribute to the evolution and maintenance of ideologies that enable the control of women’s reproductive behavior.