Date Thesis Awarded

4-2014

Document Type

Honors Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)

Department

Psychology

Advisor

Cheryl Dickter

Committee Member

Suzanne Raitt

Committee Member

Jennifer Stevens

Abstract

Previous research has suggested that females tend not to confront sexist remarks, often because they fear being negatively evaluated when they do. Less research has explored the variables that moderate perceptions of women who confront sexist remarks, and the field has largely ignored perceptions of female perpetrators of sexist remarks. The current research was designed to examine perceptions of a confronter (Studies 1 and 2) and perpetrator (Studies 3 and 4) of a sexist remark. These studies examined whether factors such as participant gender, perpetrator gender, type of sexist comment, confrontation style, and individual gender role beliefs predicted perceptions of confronters and perpetrators of sexism. Participants responded to vignettes depicting a situation with a benevolent or hostile sexist remark (Studies 1 and 3), a female or male perpetrator (Studies 1, 3, and 4), and an assertive or polite confrontation (Study 2). Results indicated that a female confronter was evaluated more positively by female participants than male participants, and perceptions depended on individual gender role beliefs. Additionally, an assertive confronter was respected more than a polite confronter. Our findings also revealed that a female perpetrator was evaluated more positively than a male perpetrator, and this was mediated by the perceived offensiveness of the sexist remark. A hostile perpetrator was also evaluated more negatively than a benevolent perpetrator. Additionally, specific gender role beliefs predicted perceptions of a perpetrator. Participant gender differences emerged as males evaluated the perpetrator more positively than females, and this depended on gender role beliefs and the gender of the perpetrator. These findings expand on current understanding of strategies to combat sexism and obstacles that preclude initiating such prejudice-reduction strategies.

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