4 years ago

Value-based standards guide sexism inferences for self and others

People often disagree about what constitutes sexism, and these disagreements can be both socially and legally consequential. It is unclear, however, why or how people come to different conclusions about whether something or someone is sexist. Previous research on judgments about sexism has focused on the perceiver's gender and attitudes, but neither of these variables identifies comparative standards that people use to determine whether any given behavior (or person) is sexist. Extending Devine and colleagues' values framework (Devine, Monteith, Zuwerink, & Elliot, 1991; Plant & Devine, 1998), we argue that, when evaluating others' behavior, perceivers rely on the morally-prescriptive values that guide their own behavior toward women. In a series of 3 studies we demonstrate that (1) people's personal standards for sexism in their own and others' behavior are each related to their values regarding sexism, (2) these values predict how much behavioral evidence people need to infer sexism, and (3) people with stringent, but not lenient, value-based standards get angry and try to regulate a sexist perpetrator's behavior to reduce sexism. Furthermore, these personal values are related to all outcomes in the present work above and beyond other person characteristics previously used to predict sexism inferences. We discuss the implications of differing value-based standards for explaining and reconciling disputes over what constitutes sexist behavior.

Publisher URL: www.sciencedirect.com/science

DOI: S0022103116304784

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