Academic journal article The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

Negative Reactions of Men to the Loss of Power in Gender Relations: Lilith vs. Eve

Academic journal article The European Journal of Psychology Applied to Legal Context

Negative Reactions of Men to the Loss of Power in Gender Relations: Lilith vs. Eve

Article excerpt


This paper examines the reaction of the man when he sees he is losing power and authority over a woman and it relation with men's sexist ideology. 83 men participated in the study and were led to believe they were interacting via computer with a woman, and answered a decision-making task about family relationships. All of them were assigned the role of someone with authority and power. In half the cases, the woman accepted the man's decisions, and, in the other half, she did not accept. The results showed that when woman did not accept the decisions of the man, she was perceived more negatively. Moreover, the more hostile sexist participants were, the more they rated negatively their female partner, especially when the woman did not accept their decisions. Hostile sexism acts as a corrective tool against those women who defy the traditionally higher status accorded to men. The valuation that woman receive in their interaction with man is determined by what man feel threatened. These results are of great interest in the field of gender violence, since it is one more step towards explaining why some men use violence to attempt to regain their threatened or lost power.

Keywords: gender; sexism; power; threat; violence.


Este artículo examina la reacción del hombre cuando ve que está perdiendo poder y autoridad sobre la mujer y su relación con la ideología sexista de los hombres.83 hombres participaron en el estudio y se les hizo creer que estaban interactuando a través del ordenador con una mujer, y respondieron a una tarea de toma de decisiones sobre las relaciones familiares. A todos ellos se les asignó el papel de alguien con autoridad y poder. En la mitad de los casos, la mujer aceptaba las decisiones del hombre, y, en la otra mitad, ella no aceptaba. Los resultados mostraron que cuando la mujer no aceptaba las decisiones del hombre, ella era percibida de forma más negativa. Además, cuanto más sexistas y hostiles eran los participantes, evaluaban más negativamente a su pareja, especialmente cuando la mujer no aceptaba sus decisiones. El sexismo hostil actúa como una herramienta correctiva hacia las mujeres que desafían el tradicionalmente más alto estatus otorgado a los hombres. La valoración que la mujer recibe en su interacción con el hombre está determinada porque el hombre se siente amenazado. Estos resultados son de gran interés en el campo de la violencia de género, ya que es un paso más hacia la explicación de por qué algunos hombres usan la violencia para tratar de recuperar su poder amenazado o perdido.

Palabras clave: género; sexismo; poder; amenaza; violencia.

Lilith is considered the first wife of Adam before Eve. She was created at the same time as Adam and as his equal, but faced with Adam's claim that she should submit to his will, Lilith lefther husband and the Garden of Eden on her own initiative, rebelling against the established roles.


Relationships between men and women have been characterized, since their origins, by inequalities. This situation of inferiority in which women find themselves, both in their professional and personal relationships, has resulted in a clear power asymmetry upon which discrimination is built and that, amongst other pernicious effects, gives rise to many forms of gender violence.

Ambivalent sexism and gender discrimination

Whenever there is inequality of power, that is whenever one group dominates another, the first group often generates an ideology that facilitates the perpetuation of the dominant position it holds. For men and women that ideology is sexism. Sexism has been conceived as a negative attitude towards women, based on their supposed inferiority as a group. However, as Glick and Fiske (1996, 2001a) have argued, although men may exclude women from certain activities and roles, keeping them in a subordinate position, they also need women for intimate relationships and sex. According to these authors (Glick & Fiske, 1997, p. …

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