When Women Become More Hostilely Sexist toward their Gender: The System-Justifying Effect of Benevolent Sexism
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Two longitudinal studies examined the system-justifying effect of women’s benevolent sexist ideology in New Zealand female undergraduate samples. Women’s endorsement of benevolent sexism predicted longitudinal changes in hostile sexist attitudes toward their gender over 6-month (study 1; n = 117) and 12-month (study 2; n = 76) periods. Consistent with Ambivalent Sexism Theory, these findings indicate that women’s endorsement of benevolent sexism disarms resistance to, and increases their endorsement of, more hostile forms of sexism directed toward their gender. However, the disarming effect of benevolent sexism occurred only for women high in Right-Wing Authoritarianism (study 2), suggesting that threat-driven authoritarian motivations for collective security and social cohesion cause women to actively participate in an ideological system that perpetuates gender inequality.