Chapter 8: Sexism (p. 199-237)
Sexism: negative attitudes, prejudice, or discrimination directed toward someone on the basis of their
- Most researchers use the term sexism to refer to prejudice against women.
- When negative stereotypes about math and science abilities of women were made salient,
performance suffered relative to a group of equally qualified men.
- Sexism is often downplayed in society.
- Gender stereotypes are so well learned that they automatically influence our perceptions and
judgements, often without our conscious awareness of such bias.
- There is a remarkable cross-cultural consensus in the content of gender stereotypes.
- Men and women seen as complete opposites of each other – opposite sex, however this is not true
- Gender stereotypes are best conceptualized as a set of components, such as traits, role behaviours,
occupations, and physical appearance.
MEASUREMENT OF GENDER STEREOTYPES
Bipolar assumption: states that an individual has characteristics associated with either males or females,
but not both.
- Notion that men and women are opposites.
- Little evidence supports the bipolar assumption that men and women have either masculine or
feminine traits because this suggests that an individual cannot be masculine with feminine traits
Dualistic view: states that people can have some of both agentic and communal traits.
- Therefore, people can have both agentic and communal traits
Agentic traits: traits that have traditionally been associated with males and that indicate task orientation,
assertiveness, and a striving for achievement.
Communal traits: traits that have traditionally been associated with women, such as the desire to foster
relationships, to be sensitive, and to get along with others. - Eagly and Mladinic suggest that people actually have quite favorable attitudes towards women.
- They also found that men had significantly more negative attitudes towards equal rights for
women than women. This is because men may react negatively to threats to their power
dominance over women in society.
ORIGIN OF GENDER STEREOTYPES
- According to Christian teaching, because women were derived from men, and man from God,
woman was lesser than man.
- Research also indicates that people who are more devoutly religious are more likely to hold
stereotypical gender role attitudes and those attitudes tend to reflect benevolent sexism.
- According to social learning theory, children learn through reinforcement and modeling the
expectations, goals, interests, abilities and other aspects associated with their gender.
- The influence of the parent in shaping the child’s gender identity is substantial and lasting.
- Children’s gender stereotypes become more rigid and resistant to change as they get older.
- However, other research has found that parents are egalitarian in their socialization of children
and that the stereotypic gender roles and characteristics are from other socialization agents, such
as children’s friends, teachers, and the media.
- Friends strongly shape children’s personality and gender identity.
- By age 70, an average person will have watched ten years of television (emphasizing the large
impact media has on sexism).
- Men and women still adhere to traditional divisions of labour in the household.
- Even in families with two working parents, women do 65.1% of housework compared to men
doing 42.7%, leading women to greater risks of depression.
- According to Crosby and Jaskar, men and women today look to their parents as a guide for
understanding the roles of husband and wife. Since their parents grew up in more traditional
times, they reinforce traditional gender roles in marriage.
Another way advertisements influence gender attitudes is through normative and information influence. Normative influence: a type of social influence that is exerted on the individual when they wish to get
along others. The individual will be more likely to conform to others’ opinions in order to establish and
maintain a friendly relationship with other persons.
Informational influence: a type of social influence that is exerted on the individual when they wish to be
correct in their judgements, opinions, or perceptions. The individual will be better persuaded by
information that is perceived to be accurate.
- When we see the advertisement, we often implicitly infer two things: this attitude/message must
be correct because it is being advertised and it is shared by many others.
- Females in advertisements are more likely to be associated to attractiveness and feature their
Face-ism: the greater facial prominence of depictions of men in the media, versus the greater emphasis
on the whole body of women.
- Archer et al. suggest that face-ism in depictions of women versus men conveys a message about
the importance of various parts of the body for each gender.
- Research indicates that gender-stereotyped portrayals of women in advertisements have negative
effects on women.
- Experiment by Geis et al. where men and women were asked to watch with sex-stereotyped
commercials, commercials with sex-roles reversed or to list their favourite TV show. Results
showed women who viewed the stereotyped commercials reported less achievement imagery and
more emphasis on homema