Imagine that you hear a conversation between two of your female colleagues, by chance. In that conversation, one colleague tells the other that her husband wanted to engage in sex the night before and insisted, despite her repeated objections. At the same time, imagine being in either of the following situations: (a) You do not know anything about your colleague's husband (you have never met him and do not know anything about him), or (b) you have met your colleague's husband and believe him to be a nice person with "positive" attitudes selectively directed toward some women (especially those playing traditional gender roles deferring to men). These attitudes are defined by caring for his wife and cherishing and protecting her. How is your judgment about what happened the previous night affected by your knowledge of the husband's attitudes? How is your perception of "marital rights and duties" related to sexual intercourse affected by that knowledge and your attitudes toward women?
This study addressed the question of how judgments about husbands' marital rights and wives' marital duties pertaining to sex may be influenced by one's sexist ideology and information about a husband's sexist ideology. The study also explored how these variables may influence the perception of a hypothetical forced sexual penetration as rape. Addressing these issues is important because it may provide a new perspective on the effects of sexist ideology--particularly, benevolent sexism (BS)--on the interpretation of marital rape. This interpretation may be affected by the perception of marital rights and duties. This could help us understand the factors that prevent people from characterizing the experience of marital rape as rape and contribute to avoiding negative social reactions toward victims of rape.
Sexism has typically been described as a prejudice toward women defined by hostility. However, this concept is being challenged by recent theories and empirical research on sexism, which suggests that sexism may not only manifest itself as hostility toward women, given it coexists with heterosexual intimacy and interdependence. As a result, sexism is not uniformly hostile, but may have a benevolent component (Glick & Fiske, 1996) that includes subjectively positive attitudes toward women. In their theory, Glick and Fiske (1996) referred to this form of sexism as ambivalent sexism in which prejudiced attitudes are subjectively negative, positive, or both.
Hostile sexism (HS) is defined as a negative and derogatory attitude toward women (who are viewed as challenging men or usurping men's power). BS is defined as "a set of interrelated attitudes toward women that are sexist in terms of viewing women stereotypically and in restricted roles but that are subjectively positive in feeling tone" (Glick & Fiske, 1996, p. 491). As opposed to hostile attitudes, benevolent attitudes are protective and affectionate and idealize women, especially those who behave in a manner consistent with traditional roles (e.g., mothers, wives, etc.). According to BS, women are placed on a pedestal, cherished, and should be protected by men (Glick, Diebold, Bailey-Werner, & Zhu, 1997). Glick and Fiske (1996) developed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI), which consists of 22 items measuring individual differences in ambivalent sexism. Several studies have used this inventory or adapted it to other countries and shown that BS and HS are positively correlated across different cultures. They have found that people who endorse benevolent sexist attitudes toward women also tend to endorse hostile sexist beliefs. Results of cross-cultural studies (Glick et al., 2000; Glick et al., 2004) have led these authors to argue that HS and BS represent complementary ideologies that are used to justify traditional gender roles and power relations (Glick & Fiske, 1996).
Ambivalent Sexism, Gender …