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Chapter 20: Sexism
Informed by the dominant model of ‘prejudice as antipathy,’ researchers initially defined sexism as ‘hostility toward women.’ Decades of research challenged this assumption, leading theorists to define sexism as subjectively favorable and unfavorable attitudes (toward both sexes) that reinforce gender inequality. This new framework focuses on how sexist attitudes, both explicit and implicit, reconcile male dominance with intimate heterosexual interdependence. Sexist beliefs not only influence expectations about each sex, but prescribe how men and women ‘should’ behave. Favorable emotional and behavioral reactions reward members of each sex when they conform to gender-traditional traits, while gender ‘deviants’ are punished. Thus, although ambivalent and context dependent, sexist attitudes serve a common goal: to reinforce traditional gender role and power distinctions.
In contrast to the often troubled and ...