Kilianski and Rudman (1998) developed “standard” profiles of a benevolent and a hostile sexist man from the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI) and tested if a U.S. sample of female students would perceive them as referring to the same person (i.e. an ambivalent sexist). Results showed that although they appraised the benevolent sexist profile favourably, and the hostile sexist one unfavourably, they considered it unlikely that they could refer to the same man. We developed “non-standard” profiles similar to those used by Kilianski and Rudman, with the major difference that they were not made directly from the ASI, but on the basis of attitudes and actions of a realistic soap-opera character, and tested if they would be considered as referring to the same individual by a sample of 238 undergraduate students (81 males and 157 females) at the University of Zimbabwe. Our results showed that both male and female participants found it as difficult to detect ambivalent sexism on the basis of non-standard ASI profiles as on the basis of standard ASI profiles.
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Non-standard Benevolent Sexist Profile
The following is a description of an adult male who is cohabiting with his girlfriend, P, who works as a cashier in a pub. He is out of work temporarily, as a result of some grievance he has about his boss. He accompanies his girlfriend to work to look after her and protect her as he believes a pub is a dangerous place for women. He thinks that, ideally, his girlfriend should not work in a pub, because she is too pure for such a job. He is hastily looking for another job, because he is convinced that he should be the one working, and looking after his girlfriend. However, in the meantime, he asks to look after his girlfriend’s finances, because, in his words, he is “a trained professional, older, and therefore wiser”. Although he is a professional, he feels that he needs P’s love, and adores her. He feels that his life, regardless of whatever achievements he has made, would not be enough without P.
Non-standard Hostile Sexist Profile
The following is a description of an adult male who believes that women who work in pubs and nightclubs are whores, and are a bad influence to well-bred women. He believes that if women are left to their whims, they easily mess up their financial budgets, and their lives. Therefore, he believes that he should be, and indeed is, the head of the house, which means his female partner must listen intently when he is speaking, and not interrupt him.
Standard Benevolent Sexist Profile
The following is a description of an adult male who firmly believes that, despite any achievements, a man’s life remains incomplete without the love of a woman. He feels that such a relationship should be the one in which the man upholds the woman as an object of adoration. He is convinced that women have a more highly developed and keenly felt moral sense than do men and that they are disposed to act in a more ethical fashion. He believes that women possess a naturally superior aesthetic sensibility which makes them better judges in matters of culture and test. He sees women as being in need of male protection and as entitled to special treatment (such as being rescued first in a disaster or emergency). He holds the view that it is a man’s obligation to provide financial support and economic security for a woman.
Standard Hostile Sexist Profile
The following is a description of an adult male who believes that many women exploit the movement toward equality to gain unfair advantage over men. He is convinced that women are often overly sensitive and misconstrue humorous, casual remarks as put-downs or sexual harassment. He feels that many women make unreasonable, conflicting demands of men, placing them in a “damned if you do, damned if you don’t dilemma”. It is his opinion that many women enjoy provoking men by arousing them sexually and then refusing them or being offended by their advances. He believes that women undervalue men and fail to appreciate everything that men do for them. He feels that most women use men for their own ends and, when in a relationship, attempt to restrain a man’s independence and exert undue control over his behaviour.
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Chisango, T., Javangwe, G. Are People Better at Recognizing Ambivalent Sexism on the Basis of the Non-standard Profiles than the Standard ASI Ones?. Sex Roles 67, 69–82 (2012). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-012-0146-2
- Ambivalent sexism
- Benevolent sexism
- Hostile sexism
- Standard ASI aprofiles
- Non-standard ASI profiles