Sex Roles

, Volume 51, Issue 3–4, pp 117–128 | Cite as

Understanding Subtle Sexism: Detection and Use of Sexist Language

  • Janet K. Swim
  • Robyn Mallett
  • Charles Stangor


In the present research we examined the association between Modern Sexist beliefs and identifying and engaging in subtle sexist behavior. In Study 1, we found that those who endorsed Modern Sexist beliefs were less likely to detect the occurrence of normative sexist behavior (i.e., the use of sexist language), and this oversight was a function of their failure to define such behavior as sexist. In Study 2, we found that those who endorsed Modern Sexist beliefs were more likely to use sexist language and less likely to use nonsexist language. Use of nonsexist language was a function of personal definitions of sexist language. Results are discussed in terms of motivations to self-correct discriminatory behavior and conceptualizations of current forms of sexism.

sexist language modern sexism subtle sexism 


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Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2004

Authors and Affiliations

  • Janet K. Swim
    • 1
  • Robyn Mallett
    • 1
  • Charles Stangor
    • 2
  1. 1.Psychology DepartmentThe Pennsylvania State University
  2. 2.Psychology DepartmentThe University of Maryland

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