Emotional Reactions to Observing Misogyny: Examining the Roles of Gender, Forecasting, Political Orientation, and Religiosity

Abstract

The purpose of this study was to examine the reactions of women and men who observe misogyny. The authors examined the emotional distress associated with observing misogyny, and the degree to which this varied based on (a) reading about or actually observing the incivility, (b) political orientation, and (c) religiosity. Participants (n = 205 US college students) took part in a between subjects experiment where they either heard or read about one of two scenarios: two men making a disparaging comment about a woman while she was out of the room, or a situation in which no comment was made. Results indicate that women, but not men, overestimated their emotional distress to observing misogyny. For women, but not men, whether or not the misogynistic comment was heard also interacted with religiosity to predict emotional distress. Political orientation did not have an effect on women and men’s reactions. The authors discuss contributions and implications.

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Correspondence to George B. Cunningham.

Appendix

Appendix

Script for the men in the misogynistic comment experiencer condition:

  • Joe: “She is such a bitch! I cannot stand her.”

  • Bob: “Why is that?”

  • Joe: “She thinks she is so hot. I asked her out, but she said no.”

  • Bob: “I hear ya, man.”

Script that participants read in forecaster/misogynistic comment condition:

  • Please read the following scenario and respond to the items on the following page: Three researcher team members were guiding an experiment on a decision making task. When it came time for the participants to complete the questionnaire, the lone female of the research team, Sue, indicated that the questionnaires had been left in another room and that she would need to be excused to retrieve them. While she was out of the room, one of the male researchers, Joe, commented to the other, Bob: “She is such a bitch! I cannot stand her.” Bob then responded by asking “why is that?” Joe responded “She thinks she is so hot. I asked her out, but she said no.” Bob then concluded the exchange by commitment “I hear ya, man.” At this point, Sue returned to the room with the questionnaires.

Script that participants read in forecaster/no comment condition:

  • Please read the following scenario and respond to the items on the following page: Three research team members were guiding an experiment on a decision making task. When it came time for the participants to complete the questionnaire, the lone female of the research team, Sue, indicated that the questionnaires had been left in another room and that she would need to be excused to retrieve them. While she was out of the room, the male researchers, Joe and Bob, waited for Sue to return with the questionnaires.

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Cunningham, G.B., Miner, K. & Benavides-Espinoza, C. Emotional Reactions to Observing Misogyny: Examining the Roles of Gender, Forecasting, Political Orientation, and Religiosity. Sex Roles 67, 58–68 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-012-0121-y

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Keywords

  • Misogyny
  • Incivility
  • Religion
  • Political orientation
  • Affective forecasting