Why Do Women Endorse Honor Beliefs? Ambivalent Sexism and Religiosity as Predictors

Abstract

Cultures of honor, such as Turkey, prioritize defending individual and family reputations, but in gender-specific ways (Nisbett and Cohen 1996). Men maintain honor via reputations for toughness, aggression, control over women, and avenging insults. Women maintain honor through obedience to men, sexual modesty, and religious piety. Honor beliefs support women’s subordination, justifying violence against them (Sev’er and Yurdakul, Violence against Women, 7, 964–998, 2001) and therefore should be challenged. Understanding honor beliefs’ ideological correlates may inform such efforts. We hypothesized that benevolent sexism, a subjectively favorable system-justifying ideology, would more strongly, positively predict Turkish women’s (versus men’s) honor beliefs; whereas hostile sexism, which is openly antagonistic toward women, would more strongly, positively predict Turkish men’s (versus women’s) honor beliefs. Additionally, due to justifications for gender inequality embedded in Islamic religious teachings, we expected Islamic religiosity to positively predict honor beliefs for both genders. A convenience sample of Turkish undergraduates (313 women and 122 men) in Ankara completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, Religious Orientation Scale, and Honor Endorsement Index. Regression analyses revealed that benevolent (but not hostile) sexism positively predicted women’s honor beliefs, whereas hostile (but not benevolent) sexism positively predicted men’s honor beliefs. Islamic religiosity positively predicted honor beliefs for both genders, but (unexpectedly) did so more strongly for men than women. We suggest that combating benevolent sexism and promoting feminist interpretations of Islamic religiosity may help to empower Turkish women to challenge honor beliefs.

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Appendices

Appendix 1

Namusu Onaylama Ölçeği (Honor Endorsement Index)

  1. 1.

    Bir kadın ailesinin şerefini korumalıdır. (A woman must protect the family’s good reputation.)

  2. 2.

    Bir erkeğin namusundan çok daha önemli şeyler var. (There are many things that are much more important than a woman’s honor.)

  3. 3.

    Bir kadının namusu ailedeki erkekler tarafından korunmalıdır. (A woman’s honor must be defended by the men in the family.)

  4. 4.

    Bir kadın saf ve dürüst olmalıdır. (A woman must be pure and honest.)

  5. 5.

    Bir erkek ne olursa olsun namusunu korumalıdır. (A man must defend his honor at any cost.)

  6. 6.

    Bir erkek ne olursa olsun ailesinin namusunu korumalıdır. (A man must defend his family’s honor at any cost.)

  7. 7.

    Gerçek bir erkek bir aşağılama karşısında kendini savunacak kapasiteye sahip olmalıdır. (A real man must be capable of defending himself against an insult.)

  8. 8.

    Bir kadının namusundan çok daha önemli şeyler var. (There are many things that are much more important than a man’s honor.)

  9. 9.

    Bir erkek sert olmalıdır. (A man must be tough.)

Appendix 2

Dini Yönelim Ölçeği (Religious Orientation Scale)

  1. 1.

    Dini inançlarımı, hayatımın diğer tüm alanlarına uygulamak için elimden geleni yapmaya çalışırım. (I try hard to carry my religion over into all my other dealings in life.)

  2. 2.

    Dini inancın bana sağladığı en büyük yarar hüzün ve talihsizliklerle karşılaştığımda beni rahatlatmasıdır. (What religion offers most is comfort when sorrow and misfortune strike.)

  3. 3.

    Hayata bakışımın temelinde dini inançlarım yatar. (My religious beliefs are what really lie behind my whole approach to life.)

  4. 4.

    Dua etmemim başlıca nedeni dua etmem gerektiğinin öğretilmesidir. (I pray chiefly because I have been taught to pray.)

  5. 5.

    Dürüst ve ahlaklı bir yaşam sürdüğüm sürece, neye inandığım çok fazla önemli değildir. (It doesn’t matter so much what I believe as long as I lead a moral life.)

  6. 6.

    Şartlar engellenmediği sürece hergün beş vakit namaz kılarım. (If not prevented by unavoidable circumstances, I pray God five times a day.)

  7. 7.

    Senede bir kere malımın zekatını veriririm. (I give zakat once a year.)

  8. 8.

    Şartlar engellemediği sürece; insanın ömründe bir kez hacca gitmesi gerektiğini düşünürüm. (If not prevented by unavoidable circumstances, I believe in the necessity of pilgrimage.)

  9. 9.

    Kendi sosyal ve ekonomik refahımı korumak için zaman zaman dini inançlarımdan ödün vermem gerektiğini düşünürüm. (Occasionally I find it necessary to compromise my religious beliefs in order to protect my social and economic wellbeing.)

  10. 10.

    Dini amaçlı bir gruba katılacak olsam sadece kuran kurslarında ya da toplumsal yardımı amaçlayan dini gruplara katılırdım. (If I were to join a church group I would prefer to join A) a Bible Study group or, B) a social fellowship.)

  11. 11.

    Dindar olmakla birlikte hayatta daha birçok önemli şey olduğuna inanıyorum. (Although I believe in my religion, I feel there are many more important things in life.)

  12. 12.

    İnancımla ilgili kitap okurum. (I read literature about my faith (or church) frequently, occasionally, rarely, never.)

  13. 13.

    Dini tefekküre dalmak için zaman ayırmak benim açımdan önemlidir. (It is important to me to spend periods of time in private religious thought and mediation.)

  14. 14.

    Dini bir cemaate üye olmamım bir nedeni toplum içinde bana mevkii kazandırmasıdır. (One reason for my being a church member is that such membership helps to establish a person in the community.)

  15. 15.

    Çok sık olarak Allah’ın veya kutsal bir varlığın mevcudiyetini güçlü bir şekilde hissederim. (Quite often I have been keenly aware of the presence of God or of the Divine Being.)

  16. 16.

    İbadet etmek bana, mutlu ve huzurlu bir hayat sağlamalıdır. (The purpose of prayer is to secure a happy and peaceful life.)

  17. 17.

    İnançlı biri olsam bile dinsel düşüncelerimin günlük yaşamımı ve ilişkilerimi etkilemesine izin vermem. (Although I am a religious person, I refuse to let religious considerations influence my everyday affairs)

  18. 18.

    Şartlar engellemediği sürece; ramazan ayında oruç tutarım. (If not prevented by unavoidable circumstances, I fast in Ramadan)

  19. 19.

    İbadet yerleri iyi sosyal ilişkiler kurmam açısından önemlidir. (The place of worship is most important as a place to formulate good social relationships.)

  20. 20.

    Dine ilgi duymamın başlıca nedeni ibadet yerlerinin bana sıcak bir sosyal ortam sağlamasıdır. (A primary reason for my interest in religion is that my church is a congenial social activity.)

  21. 21.

    Hayatın anlamıyla ilgili pek çok soruyu cevaplandırdığı için din benim açımdan özellikle önemlidir. (Religion is especially important to me because it answers many questions about the meaning of life).

  22. 22.

    İbadetin en önemli amacı kişiye huzur vermesi ve güven sağlamasıdır. (The primary purpose of prayer is to gain relief and protection.)

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Glick, P., Sakallı-Uğurlu, N., Akbaş, G. et al. Why Do Women Endorse Honor Beliefs? Ambivalent Sexism and Religiosity as Predictors. Sex Roles 75, 543–554 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-015-0550-5

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Keywords

  • Culture of honor
  • Hostile sexism
  • Benevolent sexism
  • Religious Orientation
  • Muslim sample
  • Turkish sample