PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Ambivalent Sexism, Gender Role, Gordon Allport

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Published on 25 Feb 2013
Chapter 8 Sexism
1. Sexism negative attitudes and behaviour toward someone on the basis of their gender
2. Sexism affects women’s performance as well. In a test of the stereotype about women can’t do math, when the
participants are primed with the stereotype, they indeed performed worse than without the stereotype
3. Thus, women participants performed worse compared with their male counterparts when they were made aware of
the stereotype
4. Discrimination can impair performance, limit opportunities, and affect one’s self-concept
5. Research have shown that gender stereotypes are well learned and they automatically influence our perceptions
and judgments, often outside of our consciousness
6. Gender Stereotypes
6.1. From an early age, we learn that women are not aggressive or independent, tend to be more emotional, and
more easily persuaded
6.2. On the other hand, men tend to be the opposite in these areas
6.3. Despite political, economic, and social gains women have made toward more equal status over the last 2
decades, people’s views of women still tend to be shaped by traditional gender stereotypes
6.4. Researches have shown 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, the influence of the gender category will diminish in the perceiver’s
evaluation of the target, the influence of the gender category will diminish in the perceiver’s evaluation of the
target, and the target will be viewed according to the specific component information
7. Measurement of Gender Stereotypes
7.1. Men and women are “opposite sexes”. This notion that men and women are so diametrically opposite
represents a bipolar assumption among both researchers and the lay public alike
7.1.1. Bipolar assumption This assumption states that a person has characteristics that are associated with
either males or females, but not both
7.2. Dualistic view unlike the bipolar view, this view suggests that people can have some of both agentic and
communal traits
7.2.1. Agentic traits those that have traditionally been associated with males, traits that indicate task
orientation, assertiveness, and a striving for achievement
7.2.2. Communal traits those that have traditionally been associated with women, such as the desire to foster
relationships, to be sensitive, and to get along with others
7.3. Past researches using the Attitudes Toward Women Scale (ATWS) had suggested that people have negative
views of women, when in fact what was likely happening with the data was that they had negative views of the
idea of male-female equality in society
7.4. Past researches have also suggested that although men and women have positive attitudes toward women in
general, men may react negatively to threats to their power dominance over women in society
8. Origin of Gender Stereotypes
8.1. There are way too many contributing sources to the gender stereotypes toward women
8.2. Religion
8.2.1. Perhaps the earliest and the strongest influences on the perception of men versus women has been
8.2.2. Research has found that people who are more devoutly religious are more likely to hold stereotypical
gender role attitudes, and those attitudes tend to reflect a benevolent sexism (Benevolent sexism
represents evaluations of women that may appear subjectively positive, but are actually damaging to
women and gender equity more broadly (e.g., women need to be protected by men)
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8.2.3. Churches have made tremendous improvement in recent decades on the status of women in relation to
men, however women are still not treated as equals in the church
8.3. Social Learning
8.3.1. Children are taught what it means to be a male or female in society at a very young age
8.3.2. Social-learning theory children learn through reinforcement and modelling the expectations, goals,
interests, abilities and other aspects associated with their gender
8.3.3. Children’s conceptualization of gender is shaped mostly by their parents
8.3.4. There is evidence that indicate that the influence of the parent in shaping the child’s gender identity is
substantial and lasting
8.3.5. Other researches state that parents do not really differentiate between boys and girls in the things they
teach their children. Stereotypic gender roles and characteristics are acquired via other socialization
agents, such as child’s friends and teachers, and through the media
8.4. Cultural Institutions
8.4.1. Society also plays a big part in communicating to the child similar gender roles and gender stereotypes
8.4.2. Through different media outlets, e.g., TV, society reinforces the notion that boys and girls are indeed
different, and that each gender has gender-appropriate goals, interests, abilities, and roles
8.4.3. There are now more female characters in TV shows, and they are portrayed as more intelligent, assertive,
strong, independent, and competent
8.4.4. By experts’ estimation, an average American that lives for 70 years would have watched over 10 years of
8.4.5. This much TV has strong influence on a wide variety of our attitudes
8.4.6. Men and women still adhere to traditional divisions of labour in the household. Women are primarily
responsible for the care of the children and maintaining a clean house, while men are expected to fulfill
their duty as father and husband by getting a good job to provide for the family
8.4.7. Women do more household chores than men even though most women work full-time as well
8.4.8. Another way that gender stereotypes in advertisements influence gender attitudes is through normative
and informational influence Normative influence when we wish to hold a particular attitude in order to be liked by others Informational influence when we wish to be correct in our attitudes. We may adopt an
attitude held by others because we believe the shared attitude of many others is more likely correct
than if we developed an attitude about the issues on our own
8.4.9. Research of 4000 TV commercials shows that female performers on commercials are more likely to be
associated with attractiveness stereotypes than are male performers
8.4.10. Women are associated with attractiveness, and attractive things evoke positive emotions, and the seller
wants people to associate positive emotions with the product
8.4.11. Face-ism the greater facial prominence of depictions of men in the media versus women, and greater
emphasis on the whole body of women Another area of research on the objectification of women
8.4.12. Archer’s research suggests that the faceism in the depictions of women versus men conveys a message
about the importance of various parts of the body for each gender. Because the head is the center of
mental life, the data showed that people rated subjects in facially prominent photos as more intelligent
and ambitious. Thus, since men have more facial exposures than women, men are seen as the bright
achievers, and women tend to be valued primarily for the physical attractiveness of their body
8.4.13. Gender-stereotyped portrayals of women in advertisements have negative effects on women. Research
has shown that when women viewed the gender-stereotyped commercials, they tend to suppress
achievement-related attitudes, pessimistic outlook on her own abilities and career possibilities
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8.4.14. If they watch role-reversed commercials, they tend to show the opposite traits
8.4.15. Other researches have suggested that a well-entrenched, automatic cognitive process can be disrupted
and perhaps eliminated by exposing the individual to women who occupy leadership positions
8.5. Evolution versus Social Roles
8.5.1. Evolutionary psychologists suggest that the differences between men and women are the result of the
Darwinian principle of natural selection. The explanations for behaviour assert that behaviour and
characteristics that are present today must necessarily have been adaptive, or else they would not have
been passed down in the genetic code Evolutionary psychology is gaining popularity within mainstream psychology
8.5.2. According to Eagly’s social roles theory, gender differences that are present today come from different
social roles that men and women perform in society
8.5.3. We (men and women) are different because society has taught us to do and be interested in different
things, and to develop some aspects of personality more than others
8.5.4. Social-roles theory state that Through biological and social factors, a division of labour between the sexes has emerged Since people behave in ways that fit the roles they play, men are more likely to wield physical,
social, and economic power These behavioural differences provide a continuing basis for social perception, leading us to
perceive men as dominant “by nature” and women as domestic by nature”, when in fact the
differences reflect the roles they play
8.6. Power
8.6.1. The initial difference between men and women in terms of power can be explained by the same reason
that drives sexism and prejudice against women, which is control
8.6.2. Fiske suggests that stereotypes are a form of control they limit the target of the stereotype, and they
legitimize discrimination and prejudice against the group
8.6.3. Power fosters the development of stereotypes about the powerless
8.6.4. People in power do not need to think carefully about others, and they may not be personally motivated to
pay attention to others, and therefore they are more likely to use rough stereotypes
8.6.5. Stereotypes are both descriptive and prescriptive Descriptive aspect tells how most people in a group behave, think, and feel. Stereotypes thus
are controlling in that they provide a point from which the stereotyped individual must start, or from
which they must break free Prescriptive aspect suggests how stereotyped groups should think, feel, and act. This limits the
range of behaviours open to the stereotyped individual, and it demands conformity to some or most
aspects of the stereotype in order to maintain smooth interactions with the more powerful
8.6.6. Gender stereotypes are special in terms of their ability to exert control they are more prescriptive than
other stereotypes
8.6.7. The reason is because we have more experience with gender groups than with other groups, and this
provides a larger database from which to derive the prescriptive “should” that make up gender stereotype
9. Accuracy of Gender Stereotypes
9.1. Stereotypes, by definition, is a generalization of certain traits that a group of people have
9.2. Thus, stereotypes can never be accurate in terms of describing individuals within the group
9.3. Gordon Allport mentions that stereotypes contain a “kernel of truth” idea that stereotypes are based in some
small way on fact. So, for some percentage of the group, the stereotype is an accurate reflection of reality, and
accurately describes the characteristics of those members
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