Sexism Keeps Slipping By, Scientists DiscoverJune 14, 2011 3 Comments
You think we live in a sexist world? You might only be noticing the tip of the iceberg.
A new study published by Psychology of Women Quarterly reveals that both men and women overlook the more subtle, daily acts of sexism they encounter, such as referring to a group of people as “guys” rather than recognizing the different genders it contains.
“Women endorse sexist beliefs, at least in part, because they do not attend to subtle, aggregate forms of sexism in their personal lives,” found the researchers, Julia C. Becker and Janet K. Swim, who conducted their study in the United States and Germany.
On the other hand, “many men not only lack attention to such incidents but also are less likely to perceive sexist incidents as being discriminatory and potentially harmful for women,” they wrote.
In order to reverse this latent sexism in the less conscious areas of our minds, the researchers advise women to pay more attention to the sexist incidents around them; during the study, they asked women to jot them down in diaries and got positive results.
Because men don’t seem to always understand where the more subtle examples of sexism lie, researchers say they need to be made aware of sexist behaviour or comments and empathize with those it affects in order for their attitude to change effectively.
This study reveals the most crucial fight in ending prejudice caused by gender. Western society has been male-dominated for so long that this mindset where one sex is better than the other has infiltrated our language in ways we don’t even notice. Letting these language biases go will only reinforces the status quo.
There is a long way to go to get exactly where we want. If we don’t call each other out on our sexist slip-ups, gender equality won’t come nearly as fast as it should.
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