How Nice of Us and How Dumb of Me: The Effect of Exposure to Benevolent Sexism on Women’s Task and Relational Self-Descriptions
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- Barreto, M., Ellemers, N., Piebinga, L. et al. Sex Roles (2010) 62: 532. doi:10.1007/s11199-009-9699-0
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This research demonstrates how women assimilate to benevolent sexism by emphasizing their relational qualities and de-emphasizing their task-related characteristics when exposed to benevolent sexism. Studies 1 (N = 62) and 2 (N = 100) show, with slightly different paradigms and measures, that compared to exposure to hostile sexism, exposure to benevolent sexism increases the extent to which female Dutch college students define themselves in relational terms and decreases the extent to which they emphasize their task-related characteristics. Study 3 (N = 79) demonstrates that benevolent sexism has more pernicious effects when it is expressed by someone with whom women expect to collaborate than when no collaboration is expected with the source of sexism. The implications of these results are discussed.