Chapter 8.docx

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Dwayne Pare

Chapter 8: Sexism  Sexism : Negative attitudes & behaviour toward someone on the basis of their gender o Most researchers use this term to refer to prejudice against women o In subtle & overt forms sexism influences our attitudes toward women, women's career choices & countless other aspects of women's lives  Stereotypes of women can also sabotage performance on stereotype-related tasks o Spencer et al. found that when negative stereotypes about math & science abilities of women made salient to women participants, performance suffered relative to group of equally qualified men  Male & female participants were equally matched on their mathematics ability (based on score on major college-entrance exams)  Effects of stereotyping, prejudice, & discrimination can impair performance, limit opportunities, & affect one's self-concept  It may be case that people not consciously aware of presence of sexism in society or when they're being sexist toward another o Gender stereotypes so well-learnt that they automatically influence perceptions & judgements often w/out conscious awareness  But links b/w a group & negative thoughts & feelings can be broken & substituted w/ more egalitarian responses Gender Stereotypes  Appears to be remarkable cross-cultural consensus in content of stereotypes o Williams & Best examined data covering 30 nations & found men tend to be viewed as stronger, more assertive, dominant, active, & aggressive  Women usually viewed as primarily concerned w/ fostering relationships w/ others, nurturing, & deference  w/in U.S , college students have similar shared ideas about physical appearance, clothes & settings of specific stereotyped subgroups for males ("nerd", "ladies man") & females ("housewife", "feminist")  In Broverman et al. study, men & women were seen as complete opposites on virtually all of traits & characteristics listed (hence term opposite sex) o i.e. men seen as independent vs. women dependent  Bergen & Williams compared prevalent gender stereotypes about men & women in 1972 & 1988 & found no differences in content of stereotypes o People's views of women still tend to shaped by traditional gender stereotypes that persist today  In 3 experiments by Deaux & Lewis, participants given info about gender of a target individual, as well as role behaviour or target info, & were asked to indicate likelihood that target person had gender-related characteristics o Results demonstrated that gender stereotypes best conceptualized as set of components, such as traits, role behaviours, occupations & physical appearance o Making features of a component salient can lead perceiver to think of other components of gender stereotype o Specific gender-stereotype component info can outweigh influence of gender in evaluations of the target  If people just know that a target is a man or woman, they will draw on gender-stereotype info in their inferences about target  However once perceiver knows more info about target (i.e. Physical appearance, traits, etc.), the influence of gender category will diminish in perceiver's evaluation of target & target will be viewed according to specific component info  While participants do use gender info in target evaluation, influence of this info very weak o Reason for weak influence of gender is that participants prefer to use specific case info in their assessments of a target, rather than simple gender-category info Measurement of Gender Stereotypes  People have different ideas about behaviour & personality of men & women  Bipolar assumption: states that an individual has characteristics associated with males or females but not both o This assumption tended to guide way researchers devised measures of gender stereotypes  Thus, results strongly tainted by limitations of instrument & demand characteristics associated w/ such measures o Broverman et al. presented participants w/ list of dichotomous trait items  Each item listed 2 endpoints of a trait indicating opposite ends of given trait (i.e. emotional vs. non-emotional)  Participants could only indicate where on trait typical man & typical woman would fall (i.e. participants could only indicate that women/men were either dominant or submissive but not somewhere in b/w)  Thus, easy to see how this inherent bias in design of questionnaire could lead participants to indicate opposite characterizations of men & women) o But when participants were asked, in open-ended questionnaire, to list characteristics of males & females, responses mirror closely results obtained by Broverman o Bipolar assumption has been strongly criticized o Little evidence to support it o Bem‘s research on gender roles reveals that many people do, in fact, often possess traits typically associated w/ males & females  Dualistic view: people can have some of both agentic (traits traditionally associated w/ males & that indicate task orientation, assertiveness, & striving for achievement) & communal (traits traditionally associated w/ women, such as desire to foster relationships, to be sensitive & get along w/ others) traits  Eagly & Mladinic suggest that people actually have quite favourable attitudes toward women o Examined research literature on people‘s attitudes toward women & noticed that researchers had been using Spence & Helmreich‘s Attitudes Toward Women Scale (ATWS) to measure attitudes toward women , when that was not purpose of scale  Scale actually measures attitudes toward equal rights & roles & privileges for women o Administered ATWS to 203 male & female college students, also asking to list traits & attributes of men & women (stereotypes) in an open-ended questionnaire ; also asked to indicate attitudes toward equality of women & men in terms of rights & roles in society  Participants‘ questionnaire responses (stereotypes) completely uncorrelated w/ ATWS scores  Scores on ATWS strongly correlated w/ self-reported attitudes toward equal rights & roles for women  Suggests that ATWS measures not attitudes toward women but attitudes toward equal rights & privileges for men & women in society  Participants‘ conceptions of typical women in their open-ended responses showed favourable views toward women  Past research using ATWS suggested that people have negative views of women, but likely they had negative views of idea of male-female equality in society o Reason for this may be found in differences b/w male & female participants‘ scores on ATWS  Men & women had significantly more negative attitudes toward equal rights for women than did women participants  Although men & women have positive attitudes toward women in general, men may react negatively to threats to their power dominant over women in society Origin of Gender Stereotypes Religion  Bem & Bem found that many major religions in world (Islam, Jewish, Christian) have taught that women different from & inferior & subservient to men  Due to church sanctioning prejudice against women, women came to be viewed as less than men in spirit & intellect  more devoutly religious people more likely to hold stereotypical gender role attitudes & those attitudes tend to reflect a benevolent sexism  Most religions today have made tremendous advances in perspective on status of women in relation to men, but long ways still to go toward equality Social Learning  From young age children taught what it means to be male or female in society o Social learning theory: children learn (via reinforcement & modeling) the expectations, goals, interests, abilities & other aspects associated w/ their gender o Children‘s conceptualizations of what gender means to them shaped by their environment, & most importantly, by their parents  Through rewarding what‘s deemed gender-appropriate behaviours & punishing/discouraging supposedly gender-appropriate behaviour (differential reinforcement), parents teach child about gender  Children also learn about their gender by watching parents & important others in their environment engage in behaviour (modeling)  Child can then acquire new behaviours via this observational learning  In experiments on modeling expression, Bandura showed that boys & girls were equally likely to lean to be aggressive w/ toy if previously saw model (adult) behave aggressively toward toy  Evidence indicates influence of parent in shaping child‘s gender identity is substantial & lasting  Americans adhere to belief that men & women naturally different in temperament, personality & ability o Leads parents to see need to teach children what it means to be boy/girl o Expectations communicated in direct/indirect ways via parents‘ interactions w/ child  As children age, children‘s gender stereotypes become more rigid & resistant to change  Review of literature on differential reinforcement & socialization by parents for boys vs. girls suggests that parents don‘t really differentiate b/w boys & girls in things they teach their children o It‘s likely that parents are egalitarian in their socialization of children & that stereotypic gender roles & characteristics acquired via other socializing agents (child‘s friends & teachers, media) o In controversial book, The Nurture Assumption, Harris states that influence of parents in socialization of children is minimal at best , & child‘s non-parental socializing agents (especially friends) strongly shape child‘s personality & gender identity  This controversial, goes against child-development research that suggests that parents VERY influential in shaping child‘s personality Cultural Institutions  TV, movies, magazines, & other media, society reinforces notion that boys & girls different & each has gender-appropriate goals, interests, abilities & roles in society  Analysis of animated cartoons from 1975 -1995 indicated males & females still portrayed in very gender-stereotypical ways in 1990s, just as they were in 1970s o Male characters tend to be given more prominence, talk more, & given nearly all important behaviours in the cartoon o However significant change in degree of stereotypic portrayal of each gender since early 1980s  Today there are more female lead characters, & female cartoon characters more frequently portrayed as intelligent, assertive, strong, independent, & competent  Attitudes about gender influenced by continual exposure to gender-relevant info contained in tv shows & commercials o When TV emerged, expectations & roles for each gender were highly divided  Society has undergone tremendous changes in expectations, opportunities, & roles afforded to women o TV does not always reflect such advances  Men & women still adhere to traditional divisions of labour in household o Even among couples who both work full-time, women report doing 65.1% of household labour vs. men who do 42.7% (significant difference associated w/ greater likelihood of depression among working women)  Learn from their parentsb/c their parents likely to have traditional gender roles in their marriage , their conceptions of roles in marriage likely to reflect gender-role stereotypes  Gender stereotypes in advertisements also influence gender attitudes through normative influence (type of social influence exerted on the individual when they wish to get along w/ others; individual will be more likely to conform to others‘ opinions in order establish & maintain a friendly relationship w/ other person) & informational influence(type of social influence that is exerted on individual when they wish to be correct in their judgements, opinions, or perceptions; individual will be better persuaded by info that‘s perceived to be accurate) o When we see advertisement, often implicitly infer 2 things : attitude/message is correct & is shared by many others  Sexist portrayals of women in advertising take form of pairing women & attractiveness o Downs & Harrison found that , in content analysis of 4000 tv commercials, female performers on commercials more likely to be associated w/ attractiveness stereotypes than are male performers  Pairing of female performer & male voice-over (―voice of authority‖ in advertising industry) seems to make most persuasive advertisement o b/c women associated with positive thingspositive things evoke positive emotions, & seller wants to associate positive emotions w/ product  in analysis of print advertisements, Goffman found that print ads convey sexism in many subtle ways: o men almost always pictures in an agentic or instrumental act (doing something),whereas women were often pictured as peripheral to action, looking onto what man was doing o women far more often than men, featured in poses that draw attention to their bodies o men tend to be placed higher in ad relative to women conveying greater stature or importance ; men have hands around women –indicating dominance in relationship & women almost exclusively pictured w/ & nurturing children  Rudman & Borgida showed that men ,even those not prejudiced against women, who are exposed to sexist advertisements tend to think of women in more sexualized roles & sexist stereotypes of women are made more salient to them  Print ads have changed w/ time & becoming less sexist  Face-ism : the greater facial prominence of depictions of men in media, vs. greater emphasis of whole body of women o Archer et al., conducted series of studies that found that men‘s faces were given much more prominence in 3 contexts: American magazines, in publications from 11 different countries, & even in art work over last 600 years  When facial prominence varied experimentally, & when faces of individuals in photos were more prominent, those individuals were rated by participants as more intelligent, more ambitious & higher in physical appearance ( physical attractiveness)  Facism in depictions of women vs. men conveys message about importance of various parts of body for each gender  b/c head is center of mental life (one‘s character, intellect, personality & identity are associated w/ the mind), & data showed that people rated subjects in facially prominent photos as more intelligent & ambitious, men & women portrayed in different ways o men see as bright achievers & women valued for physical attractiveness  gender-stereotyped portrayals of women in ads have negative effects on women o Shwartz et al. : when women exposed to ads that portrayed women in traditional roles as homemakers, reported less positive attitudes toward political participation  Activation of a common cultural stereotype may, for women, result in suppression of achievement-related attitudes, or perhaps depressed, pessimistic outlook on abilities & career possibilities  Geis et al : asked men & women to watch either sex-stereotyped commercials , commercials w/ sex roles reversed, or asked to list favourite tv programs (control condition)  Then asked to write an essay in which they describe their lives 10 years from that date o Essays analyzed & coded for achievement-related vs. house-making themes  Women who viewed stereotyped commercials reported less achievement imagery & more emphasis on house-making compared w/ men & those in control & role-reversed conditions  When women viewed role-reversed commercials, women‘s essays contained much more achievement-related themes than those women in sex-role stereotyped condition  Fig. 8.1 & 8.2—p.212-213  Media does not reflect popular cultural stereotypes, it perpetuates them & creates new gender stereotypes that negatively affect women‘s self-concepts & way society views women o Both environment & type of women to whom women perceivers exposed can have significant effect on own tendency to engage in automatic gender stereotyping o When women exposed to famous women who have made major contributions to various areas, much less likely to automatically activate gender stereotypes in subsequent judgments o Women exposed to more women leaders in daily environments much less likely to automatically activate gender stereotypes  So, automatic cognitive process can be disrupted & perhaps eliminated by exposing individual to women who occupy leadership (counter-stereotypic) positions Evolution vs. Social roles  Evolutionary psychology suggests that differences b/w males & females in terms of personality characteristics, etc. that are often labeled as stereotypes ,a real & they exist b/c evolutionary processes of inclusive fitness favoured certain behaviours for men & different behaviours for men o Inclusive fitness: an organism is motivated to pass on its genes, either directly or by producing offspring, or indirectly helping a genetic relative survive & pass on its genes o Evolutionary psychology has erroneous belief that it‘s untestable & so falsifiable, but gaining popularity o Difference that many gender researchers have w/ evolutionary psychology is at causal level of gender differences  Evolutionary theory suggest that gender differences today evolved out of evolutionary drive to pass on one‘s genes, while researchers form other perspectives state that human biology evolved around different social structures & roles  Social roles & societal structure have evolved throughout time, & w/ these changes males & females have placed different emphases on qualities they seek in a matethese changes have thus influenced what genes what characteristics passed down in men & women o Another problem : suggests that specific social conditions present today—i.e.gender differences in behaviour—were also present & adaptive in early days o Eagly has proposed alternative to evolutionary & biological explanation for gender differences in behaviour o Social-roles theory : states that reason for gender differences in social behaviour is not biological differences b/w men & women but the different socialization processes for men & women that lead them to perform different roles in society . Social theory states: 1. Through a combination of biological & social factors, a division of labor b/w the sexes has emerged over time 2. Since people behave in ways that fit the roles they play, men more likely to wield physical, social & economical power 3. These behavioural differences provide a continuing basis for social perception, leading us to perceive men as dominant ―by nature‖ & women as domestic ―by nature‖, when in fact the differences reflect the roles they play  Though social-roles theory has been criticized by evolutionary psychologists as unsatisfactory explanation for gender differences in behaviour, theory has received much empirical support  Social-roles theory proposes men & women more similar than different  Provides most parsimonious account for observed differences b/w men & women in their social behaviour Power  Disparity in equality b/w men & women range from stronger male physique, province of men to be more agentic compared w/ women, & legitimization of male dominance by religion & government o has worked to keep societies male dominated in virtually every aspect of life  Fiske: initial difference b/w men & women in terms of power can be explained in terms of control o Suggests that stereotypes are a form of controllimit target & legitimize discrimination & prejudice against stereotyped group o Power fosters development of stereotypes about powerless ( & not vice versa)  people in power do not carefully think about others, & may not be personally motivated to pay attention to others, & therefore more likely to use rough stereotypes when thinking about others o stereotyping by powerful serves to maintain power imbalance o power differential b/w men & women is embedded & legitimized w/in organizational, societal & interpersonal structures, & this serves to perpetuate gender stereotyping  powerful men adopt ideologies & belief that help stabilize oppression of powerless women & minimize group conflict through their institutionalization w/in their society  descriptive stereotype :tells us how most people in a group behave, think & feel o describes group‘s motives, expectations,& other aspects of behaviour  prescriptive stereotype: suggest how stereotyped groups SHOULD think, feel & act  gender stereotypes more prescriptive than other stereotypes o we have so much more experience w/ gender groups than w/ other groups ; so more prescriptive ―shoulds‖ that make up gender stereotypes o Prescriptive (not descriptive) stereotypes predicted sexism & this type of stereotyping is resistant to behavioural info that undercuts descriptive stereotypes Accuracy of Gender Stereotypes  Stereotypes are broad generalizations of members o Stereotype suggests that all members have similarity among themselves & this unique constellation of characteristics sets them apart from other members o Therefore stereotypes can never be accurate in terms of describing individuals within the group  Allport suggested that stereotypes contain a ―kernel of truth‖—based in some small way on fact o For some percentage of group, stereotype is an accurate reflection of reality& accurately describes characteristics of those members  ―kernel of truth‖ notion one type of accuracy—addressing question of actual accuracy of stereotype in describing characteristics of entire group o Second type of accuracy: how accurate is group stereotype in describing individual group member?  LaFrance & Banaji found that women tend to express their emotions more than men, but on subjective experience of emotion (relying on self-report measures), women more emotional if they are asked directly, the context is interpersonal & the emotional domain is observable o Difference may be attributable to finding that men & women rely on different info cues to define their internal state  Men use internal physiological cues, vs. women who use external sources of info  However physiological measures of emotion indicate there are no differences b/w men & women in terms of physiologically felt emotion o So there‘s a question of accuracy of the stereotype (women tend to be more emotional) for whole group  Stereotypes regarded as probability estimates when applied to individuals, rather than accurate characterizations o For given stereotype, there is certain probability that stereotype is accurate for particular group member under consideration o Perceivers decide based on their own info, past experiences, biases & other heuristics, what those probabilities are for them in that social context, at that moment o RWAs more likely to rely on stereotypes o Some evidence that people are more sensitive to actual group differences than once thought, & their judgments about an individual may reflect both bias & accurate perceptions of distinctions b/w groups  People still often apply group stereotypes b/c they represent a ―good enough‖ judgment about an individual  Martin asked men & women to estimate percentage of men & women who have various characteristics o Males & females had very stereotypical images of each other , & tended to exaggerate small differences to match gender stereotypes o So w/ respect to gender stereotype accuracy : w/in group variability is usually larger than is perceived, & inter-group differences tend to be exaggerated in perception in ways that conform to expected stereotypes  In meta-analysis of accuracy of gender stereotypes, Swim concluded that males & females were quite accurate in perceptions of characteristics of other‘s group o Swim suggests that stereotypes may not be overestimates o But, Allen found support for idea that gender stereotypes not accurate, but substantial exaggerations of small group differences Sexist Language  ―Generic masculine‖: use of masculine terms to refer to both men & women (i.e. fireman, policeman etc.)  Use of word ‗he‘ as generic reference to men & women in English  Gastil asked participants to read various sentences aloud & then describe whether the image of a subject was a male, female , either male or female , or neither (no human image) o Generic ‗he‘ tends to evoke male majority in significant majority of responses  When children read sentences w/ generic ‗he‘ , generally do not understand it‘s meant to denote both male & female  Use of generic masculine in job ads affects how women perceive appropriateness of job for them o When jobs described with masculine pronouns, women are rated as less competent than men to do the job, & female applicants lose interest in position (assume they‘re not suited for position)  Women tend to be described in media by their appearance  ―female doctor‖, ―woman pilot‖ ; ―male nurse‖ , ―male model‖ o Assumes positions are typically occupied by one gender; & when other gender occupies position there‘s a need to denote gender  Traditionally when woman gets married, loses identity & becomes Mrs. John Doe—lose original last name o After wedding ―man & wife‖ o Many traditions changing these days  Many sexist traditions remain rooted in religion & language  Men less likely than women to see sexist language as sexist Sexist Humor Sexist jokes perpetuate stereotypes  People give fair amount of credence to truth of message in gender-stereotypic humour o Reasons for this:  1. Relationships b/w me & women are often confusing --> often rely on our schemas to clarify our understanding of the other gender  Gender schemas contain all the info we know about gender in question, expectations for behaviour, stereotypes, motives, & how to feel toward other gender --> made accessible upon perceiving other individual (& activating the gender schema in one‘s consciousness) o Much of this info can be inappropriately applied or is incorrect, as in case of stereotypes o People tend to be cognitive misers; concerned w/ making fast rather than accurate evaluation -->so little incentive to disregard info from incorrect sources w/in schema (i.e . stereotypes)  When it comes to understanding other gender, people often rely on schemas about the gender, & w/in those schemas are a lot of gender stereotypes  2. People exposed to gender-stereotype info from a young age o More we encounter a piece of info, more likely it is to be encoded in our memory as part of the schema & this holds for gender stereotypes o Availability heuristic: our judgments about the probability of the event will be affected by the availability (or how fast an instance of the event comes to mind) of that event info  Upon initial perception of a male or female, we should have gender stereotypes made highly salient along w/ other gender schema info o However some people more likely than others to think about gender when perceiving the world  Gender schematic: Those who tend to think about world in terms of gender info
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