PSYC12H3 Chapter Notes - Chapter 8: Ambivalent Sexism, Stereotype Threat, Gender Role

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Published on 14 Apr 2013
School
UTSC
Department
Psychology
Course
PSYC12H3
PSYC12 WINTER 2013
CHAPTER 8: SEXISM
INTRODUCTION
Sexism: Negative attitudes and behavior toward someone on the basis of their
gender mostly refers to sexism against women
In subtle and overt forms, sexism influences our attitudes toward women, women’s
views of themselves, women’s career choices and countless other aspects of
women’s lives
Stereotypes of women can also sabotage their performance on stereotype-related
tasks
o Spencer, Steele & Quinn (1999) found that when the negative stereotype
about the math and science abilities of women were made salient to women
participants, their performance suffered relative to a group of equally
qualified men.
Stereotype threat and the pernicious effects of stereotyping, prejudice and
discrimination can impair performance, limit opportunities and affect one’s self-
concept
Research suggests that gender stereotypes are so well learned that they
automatically influence our perceptions and judgments, often without out conscious
awareness of such bias.
GENDER STEREOTYPES
Gender role stereotypes indicate that women are unaggressive, dependent,
emotional, easily persuaded, dislike math and science, passive, polite, gentle,
nurturing, compassionate, neat, indecisive, concerned with appearance, quid while
men tend to be viewed as aggressive, independent, nonemotional, decisive,
confident, rough, blunt, sloppy, and loud cross cultural consensus on the content of
gender stereotypes
Men and women were seen as complete opposites on virtually all of the traits and
characteristics listed (hence the term the opposite sex)
Despite the great political, economic and social gains women have made towards
equal status over the last 25 years, people’s views of women still tend to be shaped
by traditional gender stereotypes that persist today
If people just know the gender of a person, they will draw on gender-serotype
information in their inference about the target however once the perceivers knows
more specific information about the target, the influence of the gender category will
diminish in the perceiver’s evaluation of the target, an the target will be viewed
according to the specific component information.
MEASUREMENT OF GENDER STEREOTYPES
Bipolar assumption: The notion that men and women are so diametrically opposite
this view has been heavily criticized and now we employ the dualistic view
Dualistic view: People can have some of both Agentic and communal traits
Agentic traits are those that have been traditionally associated with males, traits
that indicate task orientation, assertiveness and striving for achievement
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PSYC12 WINTER 2013
Communal traits or expressive traits are those that have traditionally been
associated with women such as the desire to foster relationships, to be sensitive,
and to get along with others
Spence and Helmreich’s Attitudes Towards Women Scale (ATWS) to measure
attitudes toward women scale actually measures attitudes toward equal rights and
roles and privileges for women
Study by Eagly and Mladinic in 1989
o Researchers used ATWS scale on male and female college students
o ATWS was seen to not measure attitudes toward women but attitudes
toward equal rights and privileges for women in society
o Men and women may have positive attitudes toward women in general, men
may react more negatively though to threats to their power dominance over
women in society and thus have negative views towards female equality
ORIGIN OF GENDER STEREOTYPES
Religion
Bem and Bem (1970) found that many major religions around the world (Christian,
Judaism, Islam) have tougher that women are differed from, inferior to and
subservient to men
Research also indicates that those who are more devoutly religious are more likely
to hold stereotypical gender role attitudes and those attitudes tend to reflect a
benevolent sexism
It should be noted that most religions toward have made tremendous advances in
their perspective on the status of women in relation to men
In sum, religion has had a tremendous influence on the attitudes of society toward
women which has often resulted in a view that women are inferior and subservient
to men
Social Learning
According to social learning theory, children learn through reinforcement and
modeling the expectations, goals, interests, abilities and other aspects associated
with their gender
Children’s conceptualization of what their gender means to them is shaped by their
environment and most importantly by their parents
Through rewarding what are deemed gender-appropriate behaviors and punishing
or discouraging supposedly gender-inappropriate behaviors (differential
reinforcement), parents teach the child about their gender
Children also learn about their gender by watching their parents and important
others in their environment engage in behavior
Substantial evidence to indicate that the influence of the parent in shaping the
child’s gender identity is substantial and lasting
Additionally, Americans tend to adhere to the beliefs that men and women are
naturally different in temperament, personality and ability
According Jacklin and Baker, a likely reason that studies have failed to show
evidence of different socialization by parents of boys vs. girls 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 friends,
teachers and media
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PSYC12 WINTER 2013
Harris stated the influence of parents in the socialization of their children is minimal
at best and that the child’s aforementioned non parental socializing agents
(especially friends) strongly shape the child’s personality and gender identity
highly controversial and goes against much evidence
Cultural Institutions
Cultural institutions such as media, television, movies, magazines reinforce the
notion that boys and girls are indeed different and that each gender has gender-
appropriate goals, interests, abilities and roles in society
TV shows gave men more prominent positions and roles and women more
supportive or marginal roles
Men and women still adhere to traditional divisions of labor in the household where
women cook and clean and take care of the children while men get a job
Even when both members of the couple work full time, women do more of the
housework
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 because we
believe the shared attitude of many others I more likely to be correct than if we
developed at attitude about the issue on our own
Sexist portrayals of women in advertising take the form of pairing women with
attractiveness because they evoke positive emotions and thus sell more
products/services
Goffman found that print ads convey sexism in many subtle ways
o Men perform agentic or instrumental act whereas women are always on the
periphery
o Women pose in ways that bring more attention to their body even when its
not something that is worn
o Men tend to be placed higher in ads compared to women
o Men have their arms around women and hold the women’s hand, not the
other way around indicating dominance in the relationship
Face-ism is the greater facial prominence of depictions of men in the media vs.
women and greater emphasis on the whole body of women due to the patriarchal
history of society that objectifies women and has their value linked more to their
physical beauty and less to their intellectual ability
Men have more facial prominence in magazines, publications and artwork
Archer et al suggests
o Emphasis on face for men suggests that men are more seen as bright,
achievers
o Women tend to valued primarily of the physical attractions of their body
Wagner, Bannert and Mathes found that when women were exposed to ads that
portrayed women in traditional roles, they reported less positive attitudes toward
political participation
The activation of a common cultural stereotype such as women as homemakers
result in a suppression of a achievement-related attitudes or perhaps a depressed,
pessimistic outlook on her own abilities and career possibilities due to implied
societal limits set forth in the traditional stereotype of women as homemakers
Study on stereotypic commercials and essay writing showed that women who
viewed the stereotyped commercials reported less achievement imagery and more
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Document Summary

Sexism: negative attitudes and behavior toward someone on the basis of their gender mostly refers to sexism against women. In subtle and overt forms, sexism influences our attitudes toward women, women"s views of themselves, women"s career choices and countless other aspects of women"s lives. Stereotype threat and the pernicious effects of stereotyping, prejudice and discrimination can impair performance, limit opportunities and affect one"s self- concept. Research suggests that gender stereotypes are so well learned that they automatically influence our perceptions and judgments, often without out conscious awareness of such bias. Men and women were seen as complete opposites on virtually all of the traits and characteristics listed (hence the term the opposite sex) Despite the great political, economic and social gains women have made towards equal status over the last 25 years, people"s views of women still tend to be shaped by traditional gender stereotypes that persist today. Bipolar assumption: the notion that men and women are so diametrically opposite.

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