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  • Benevolent sexism contributes to gender inequality by reinforcing traditional gender roles and stereotypes.

  • It limits women's roles by rewarding them for conforming to traditional norms and punishing them for deviating.

  • Benevolent sexism is perceived as less objectionable than hostile sexism, making it more insidious and harder to combat.

  • It can undermine collective action for social change by making gender inequalities seem natural and acceptable.

  • Benevolent sexism is associated with positive stereotypes about women who adhere to traditional roles, which can perpetuate gender disparities in various social contexts.

Definition and Components [1]

  • Ambivalent Sexism Theory: Developed by Glick and Fiske, it includes both hostile and benevolent sexism.

  • Hostile Sexism: Overtly negative attitudes towards women who challenge traditional gender roles.

  • Benevolent Sexism: Subjectively positive attitudes that idealize women who conform to traditional roles.

  • Three Components: Paternalism, gender differentiation, and heterosexual intimacy.

  • Ambivalent Sexism Inventory: A tool used to measure both hostile and benevolent sexism.




Predictors of Benevolent Sexism [1]

  • Demographic Factors: Higher in countries with lower gender equality and less wealth, health, and education.

  • Gender Differences: Men endorse benevolent sexism more than women.

  • Age: Men’s benevolent sexism increases with age; women’s benevolent sexism varies across life stages.

  • Religiosity: Positively associated with benevolent sexism across various religious affiliations.

  • Political Conservatism: Strong predictor of benevolent sexism, driven by a need for security.




Effects on Gender Roles [1]

  • Reinforcement of Traditional Roles: Benevolent sexism encourages women to adhere to traditional gender roles.

  • Punishment for Non-Conformity: Hostile sexism punishes women who deviate from traditional roles.

  • Positive Stereotypes: Associated with positive views of women who conform to traditional roles.

  • Negative Stereotypes: Hostile sexism correlates with negative views of women who challenge traditional roles.

  • Impact on Behavior: Influences how women and men behave in various social contexts.




Impact on Social Change [1]

  • Undermines Collective Action: Benevolent sexism can make gender inequalities seem natural and acceptable.

  • Perceived Harmlessness: Benevolent sexism is often seen as less objectionable, making it harder to combat.

  • Romantic Perception: Sometimes perceived as romantic, which can mask its harmful effects.

  • System Justification: Women who endorse benevolent sexism see the social system as fair.

  • Life Satisfaction: Associated with greater life satisfaction among women who endorse it.


Cultural and Demographic Variations [1]

  • Cross-Cultural Endorsement: Ambivalent sexism is endorsed across various cultures and countries.

  • Racial Differences: Black American women endorse benevolent sexism more than white American women.

  • Sexual Orientation: Heterosexual individuals report stronger benevolent and hostile sexist attitudes.

  • Measurement Issues: Ambivalent Sexism Inventory may not be appropriate for all racial or ethnic groups.

  • Geographical Contexts: Most research is carried out in a restricted number of countries.





Comparisons with Hostile Sexism [1]

  • Tone: Hostile sexism is overtly negative, while benevolent sexism is subjectively positive.

  • Perception: Hostile sexism is regarded as more objectionable than benevolent sexism.

  • Frequency: Women report more lifetime experiences with benevolent than hostile sexism.

  • Association: Both forms of sexism are positively correlated and work together to perpetuate gender inequalities.

  • Impact: Hostile sexism motivates collective action for social change, while benevolent sexism undermines it.

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