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Chapter 8: Sexism


Course Code
Michael Inzlicht

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Sexism: negative attitudes and behavior toward someone on the basis of
their gender.
Discrimination can impair performance, limit opportunities and affect ones
Recent research suggests that gender stereotypes are so well learned that
they automatically influence our perceptions and judgments, often without
our conscious awareness of such bias.
DEAUX AND LEWIS: found that if people just know that a target individual is
a man or woman, they will draw on gender stereotype information in their
inferences about the target. However, once the perceiver knows more
specific information about the target (i.e. the components discussed above,
such as physical appearance, traits, etc) the influence of the gender
category will diminish in the perceivers evaluation of the target, and the
target will be viewed according to the specific component information.
Opposite suggests that men and women are as different as hot and cold.
Which is untrue, they are merely difference sexes. Not opposite.
The notion that women and men are so diametrically opposite represents a
bipolar assumption among both researchers and the lay public alike. This
assumption states that a person has characteristics that are associated with
either males or females, but not both.
The bipolar assumption has been strongly criticized, primarily because little
evidence supports the notion that men and women have either masculine or
feminine traits, but not both, or that the presence of a number of supposedly
masculine traits in an individual necessarily means that the individual cannot
have a number of supposedly feminine traits
Dualistic view, which suggests that people can have some of both agentic
and communal traits. Agentic are those that have traditionally been
associated with males, traits that indicate task orientation, assertiveness and
a striving for achievement.
Communal traits or expressive traits are those that have traditionally been
associate with females, such as the desire to foster relationships, to be
sensitive, and to get along with others.

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Eagly and Mladinic suggests that people actually have quite favorable
attitudes toward women. ATWS & open-ended questionnaire. (204)
Most likely people had negative view of the idea of male-female equality, not
negative views of women. Why? Men may react negatively to threats to their
power dominance over women in society.
Bem and Bem have found that many major religions in the world have
taught that women are different from, inferior to, and subservient to men.
People who are more devoutly religious are more likely to hold stereotypical
gender role attitudes and those attitudes tend to reflect a benevolent
Social Learning
From very young age, children are taught what it means to be a male or
female in society.
According to the social learning theory, children learn (through
reinforcement and modeling) the expectations, goals, interests, abilities and
other aspects associated with their gender.
Childrens conceptualization of what their gender means to them is shaped
by their environment, and, most importantly, by their parents.
Children also learn about their gender by watching their parents and
important others in their environment engage in behaviour (modeling).
According to Macklin and Baker, a likely reason is that parents are
egalitarian in their socialization of children and that the stereotypic gender
roles and characteristics are acquired via other socialization agents, such as
the child’s friends and teachers, and through the media.
Cultural Institutions:
Attitudes abbot gender is certainly influenced by continual exposure to
gender relevant information contained in television shows and commercials.
Men and women look to their parents as a guide for understanding the
nature of the respective roles of husband and wife in the household. Because
their parents are more likely to have traditional gender roles in their
Another way that gender stereotypes in advertisements influence gender
attitudes is through normative and informational influence.

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When we wish t hold a particular attitude in order to be liked by others, we
are adhering to normative influence.
When we wish to be correct in our attitudes, we may be more susceptible to
informational influence.
Sexist portrayal of women in advertising takes the form of pairing women
and attractiveness.
Female performer and male voice over.
Men tend to be placed higher in ads, arms over the woman, etc.
Face-ism is the greater facial prominence of depictions of men in the media
versus women, and grater emphasis on the whole body of women.
Mens faces were given much more prominence in three contexts: American
magazines, in publications from 11 different countries and even in artwork
over the last 600 years.
Schwarz et al. found that when women were exposed to advertisements that
portrayed women in traditional roles as homemakers, they reported less
positive attitudes toward political participation.
When women viewed the role reversed commercials, womens essays
contained much more achievement-related themes than those of women in
the sex role stereotyped condition
This suggests that a well-entrenched, automatic cognitive process (gender
stereotyping activation and endorsement) can be disrupted and perhaps
eliminated by exposing the individual to women who occupy leadership
(counter stereotypic) positions.
Evolution versus Social Roles
Many people believe that men and women are different in terms of their
personalities, interests and abilities and this difference are caused by their
different biological makeup.
They think men and women are hardwired differently, and this is why men
are aggressive and women are non aggressive
Evolutionary psychologists suggest that such differences are the result of the
Darwinian principle of natural selection.
Natural selection is the process whereby those with genetic fitness are those
who are most able to adapt successfully to the environment.
Successful adapted organisms are most likely to pass on their genes and in
this way, only the strongest, most adapted organisms in the species survive.
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