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Real men don’t share (online): perceived neediness and the frequent-posting femininity stereotype

Andrew B. Edelblum (Department of Marketing, University of Dayton, Dayton, Ohio, USA)
Nathan B. Warren (Department of Marketing, BI Norwegian Business School, Oslo, Norway)

European Journal of Marketing

ISSN: 0309-0566

Article publication date: 8 June 2023

Issue publication date: 8 February 2024

594

Abstract

Purpose

Research emphasizes the motivations underlying and potential harmful consequences of social media use, but there is little understanding of stigmas faced by individual social media users, particularly as they pertain to gender. The purpose of this study is to examine a unique stereotype related to men’s social media use.

Design/methodology/approach

Four experiments examine judgments of men based on how often they post on social media (frequently vs infrequently).

Findings

The authors find that posting frequently (vs infrequently) affects the perceived gender of men but not women. This frequent-posting femininity stereotype is explained by perceived neediness and holds regardless of whether posts are about others (vs the self) or whether posts are shared by influencers (vs ordinary users).

Research limitations/implications

Future research should examine other stereotypes of social media users – including those pertaining to gender – and ways to mitigate such negative attributions. Researchers should examine how the frequent-posting femininity stereotype and other social media use stereotypes affect social media consumption and consumer well-being.

Practical implications

Managers should adjust consumer engagement strategies and restructure platforms to address the unique stigmas facing different consumer groups.

Originality/value

Providing insights into the dark side of social media, the authors investigate a unique domain – stereotypes about individual social media users. The findings of this study uncover an emasculating stigma against men who post often on social media, which may discourage men from online participation.

Keywords

Acknowledgements

Both authors contributed equally to this manuscript. Author order was determined by seniority, with the more junior author listed first.

Citation

Edelblum, A.B. and Warren, N.B. (2024), "Real men don’t share (online): perceived neediness and the frequent-posting femininity stereotype", European Journal of Marketing, Vol. 58 No. 2, pp. 572-589. https://doi.org/10.1108/EJM-12-2022-0883

Publisher

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Emerald Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2023, Emerald Publishing Limited

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