Sociology Research

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Introduction To Sociology
Section 4

Research: Sexism
To: Dr. Mohammed Marzoky

By: Faris Al Sahhar
ID: LAB260

8/05/2012

Sexism

Sexism is also known as gender discrimination or sex discrimination, is defined as prejudice or discrimination based on sex; or behavior, conditions, or attitudes that foster stereotypes of social roles based on sex. Sexism is a form of discrimination or devaluation based on a person's sex, with such attitudes being based on beliefs in traditional stereotypes of gender roles. The term sexism is most often used in relation to discrimination against women, in the context of patriarchy.

Sexism involves hatred of or prejudice towards a gender as a whole or the application of gender stereotypes. Sexism is often associated with gender-supremacy arguments.

Gender stereotypes

A 1952 magazine feature stereotyping women drivers.
Gender stereotypes are widely held beliefs about the characteristics and behavior of women and men. Gender stereotypes are not only descriptive, but also prescriptive beliefs about "how men and women should be and behave". Members of either sex who deviate from prescriptive gender stereotypes are punished; assertive women, for example, are called "bitches" whereas men who lack physical strength are seen as "wimps".

Empirical studies have found widely shared cultural beliefs that men are more socially valued and more competent than women at most things, as well as specific assumptions that men are better at some particular tasks (e.g., mechanical tasks) while women are better at others (e.g., nurturing tasks). For example, Fiske and colleagues surveyed nine diverse samples, from different regions of the United States, and found that members of these samples, regardless of age, consistently rated the category "men" higher than the category "women" on a multidimensional scale of competence.

Gender stereotypes can facilitate and impede intellectual performance. For instance, stereotype threat can lower women's performance on mathematics tests due to the stereotype that women have inferior quantitative skills compared with men. Stereotypes can also affect the assessments people make of their own competence. Studies found that specific stereotypes (e.g., women have lower mathematical ability) affect women’s and men’s perceptions of their abilities (e.g., in math and science) such that men assess their own task ability higher than women performing at the same level. These "biased self-assessments" have far-reaching effects because they can shape men and women’s educational and career decisions.

Gender stereotypes are sometimes applied at an early age. Various interventions were reviewed including the use of fiction in challenging gender stereotypes. For example, in a study by A. Wing, children were read Bill's New Frock by Anne Fine. The content of the book was discussed with them. Children were able to articulate, and reflect on, their stereotypical constructions of gender and those in the world at large. There was evidence of children considering 'the different treatment that boys and girls receive', and of classroom discussion enabling stereotypes to be challenged.

Sexist and gender-neutral language

Research has found that the use of he as a generic pronoun evokes a disproportionate number of male images and excludes thoughts of women in non gender-specific instances. Results also suggest that while the plural they functions as a generic pronoun for both males and females, males may comprehend he/she in a manner similar to he, as he usually is placed before the dash and she after. This is usually done because the word she already contains the word he so it is positioned after the dash. It also has nothing to do with stereotypical gender roles. Nearing the end of the 20th century, there is a rise in gender-neutral language in western worlds, which is often attributed to the rise of feminism. Gender-neutral...
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