Sex Roles

, Volume 62, Issue 7–8, pp 583–601 | Cite as

Ambivalent Sexism in Close Relationships: (Hostile) Power and (Benevolent) Romance Shape Relationship Ideals

  • Tiane L. Lee
  • Susan T. Fiske
  • Peter Glick
  • Zhixia Chen
Original Article


Gender-based structural power and heterosexual dependency produce ambivalent gender ideologies, with hostility and benevolence separately shaping close-relationship ideals. The relative importance of romanticized benevolent versus more overtly power-based hostile sexism, however, may be culturally dependent. Testing this, northeast US (N = 311) and central Chinese (N = 290) undergraduates rated prescriptions and proscriptions (ideals) for partners and completed Ambivalent Sexism and Ambivalence toward Men Inventories (ideologies). Multiple regressions analyses conducted on group-specific relationship ideals revealed that benevolent ideologies predicted partner ideals, in both countries, especially for US culture’s romance-oriented relationships. Hostile attitudes predicted men’s ideals, both American and Chinese, suggesting both societies’ dominant-partner advantage.


Ambivalent sexism Close relationships Gender roles Culture Power Romance 



We thank Andrew Conway for his helpful advice on statistical analyses and Blair Moorhead for her help in coding data. We are also grateful to James Chu of Princeton University’s Office of Information Technology for his assistance in collecting open-ended data. This research was supported partially by a grant from Chinese National Social Science Foundation (09BSH045) and Culture and Social Science Foundation of Ministry of Education of China (08JA630027) for the fourth author.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Psychology, Princeton UniversityPrincetonUSA
  2. 2.Lawrence UniversityAppletonUSA
  3. 3.Huazhong University of Science and TechnologyWuhanChina

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