Men, women often overlook subtle sexism of daily life, says study

Last Updated: Jun 14, 2011, 13:59 PM IST

Washington: A new study has found that men and women often overlook the more subtle daily acts of sexism they encounter.

‘Psychology of Women Quarterly’ showed how subtle sexism such as calling women “girls” but not calling men “boys” or referring to a collective group as “guys”, creep into daily interactions.

The study has helped not only pinpoint which forms of sexism are most overlooked by which sex, but also how observing these acts can bring about attitudinal changes in people.

“Women endorse sexist beliefs, at least in part, because they do not attend to subtle, aggregate forms of sexism in their personal lives,” said authors Julia C. Becker and Janet K. Swim.

“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 added.

The study has elaborately differentiated the way men and women’s beliefs alter once they become aware of subtle sexism.

While women need to “see the unseen”, men need to be aware of the sexist behaviour or comments, as well as empathize with the women targeted.

SAGE, on behalf of the Society for the Psychology of Women, Division 35 of the American Psychological Association, published the study.

ANI