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College Students’ Descriptions of Everyday Gender Prejudice

Abstract

This study examined 104 undergraduate college students (mean age = 19) from the Western United States regarding gender differences in their experiences of gender prejudice. Women (N = 81) and men (N = 22) responded to an online diary for 14 days, resulting in 1008 descriptions of events. Women reported significantly higher levels of negative affect than men during the experiences. Qualitative content analysis was used to analyze event descriptions and three main themes emerged including target of the event, perpetrator and setting. Significant differences were found for target and perpetrator based upon the gender of the participant. There were also significant differences in the distribution of the type of event (gender role stereotypes, sexual objectification or demeaning events) based on the setting and target.

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Correspondence to Britney G. Brinkman.

Appendices

Appendix A

Online diary

Date:Time:

Please indicate the number of times you experienced each incident today. The incident may have happened to you specifically or to another person in your presence. If none, leave blank.

  1. 1.

    ___ Heard comments that members of your gender should behave in a certain way or that they should posses particular personality characteristics (women should be “feminine” and men should be “masculine”)

  2. 2.

    ___ Experienced unwanted sexual behaviors (pinched, slapped, touched in a sexual way)

  3. 3.

    ___ Called a demeaning or degrading label such as slut, bitch, player, etc.

  4. 4.

    ___ Heard sexist jokes about members of your gender.

  5. 5.

    ___ Were the target of unwanted sexual gestures (masturbation gesturing, etc)

  6. 6.

    ___ Heard comments that certain roles or jobs are NOT suitable for members of your gender.

  7. 7.

    ___ Ignored in a conversation by members of the opposite sex.

  8. 8.

    ___ Heard unwanted sexual comments, whistles, or “catcalls”.

  9. 9.

    ___ Heard comments that members of your gender possess lower levels of ability compared to members of the opposite sex.

  10. 10.

    ___ Felt like your opinions carried less weight than the opinion of a member of the opposite sex.

  11. 11.

    ___ Exposed to media (magazines, TV, music, etc.) that portrayed members of your gender as sexual objects.

  12. 12.

    ___ Heard comments that certain jobs or roles are ONLY suitable for members of your gender.

  13. 13.

    ___ Heard comments that expressed hostile or negative attitudes toward members of your gender.

  14. 14.

    ___ Felt like you were being checked out, ogled, or leered at.

  15. 15.

    ___ Exposed to media (magazines, TV, music) that portrayed members of your gender in traditional roles (women as caregivers, men as leaders, etc)

If you indicated that you experienced one of the above, please answer the following questions. If you experienced more than one, please choose the one that you felt was most distressful. If you did not experience any of the above events, please write about a stressful event that you did have today.

1. Describe the event.

Appendix B

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Brinkman, B.G., Rickard, K.M. College Students’ Descriptions of Everyday Gender Prejudice. Sex Roles 61, 461–475 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-009-9643-3

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Keywords

  • Targets of gender prejudice
  • College students
  • Perpetrators of gender prejudice
  • Types of gender prejudice
  • Setting of gender prejudice