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Chapter 8

Chapter 8 Psychology of Prejudice Book

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Michael Inzlicht

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 religion 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) 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 television 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 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 9.3.1.Kernel of truth is one type of accuracy – addressing the question of the actual accuracy of the stereotype in describing the characteristics of the entire group 9.3.2.A second part of accuracy question is, how accurate is the group stereotype in describing an individual group member? 9.3.3.Research into this has found that although women are explicitly more emotional than men, as in women seem to be more willing than men to express, talk about, and let themselves experience emotion. However, men use internal physiological cues, whereas women sue external situational sources of information. Physiological measures of emotion indicate that there are no differences between men and women in terms of physiologically felt emotion 9.3.4.Most researchers have found that men and women often have various stereotypes about one another, and they often exaggerate small real differences to match gender stereotypes 10. Sexist Language 10.1. Sexist language is all around us, such as policeman, fireman, mailman, etc. 10.2. These jobs are traditionally reserved only for males 10.3. The English language is sexist in the tradition of women being referred to by their relationships. When a woman gets married, she loses her identity and becomes Mrs. Joe Doe. She also loses her original maiden last name, and takes the husband’s last name 10.4. Although research indicates that men and women agree that sexist language is a problem and can be detrimental to women, men are less likely than women to recognize sexist language as sexist 11. Sexist Humor 11.1. One of the axioms of stand-up comedy is that make sure your jokes appeal to the most common denominator 11.2. You will get the biggest laughs if everyone can relate to the content of the joke or story 11.3. Sexist Jokes Perpetuate Gender Stereotypes 11.3.1. Humor that describes differences between men and women is that they are restatements of gender stereotypes 11.3.2. Stereotypes are true for a fraction of the population, but they are in no way generalizable to the entire population or even, in most cases, a majority of the population 11.3.3. Why do people give a fair amount of credence to the truth of th
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