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In the essay, please 1. Please give an example of one “old-fashioned” prejudice and one modern form of prejudice toward women. 2. Explain which of the two forms of prejudice (old-fashioned or modern) may be the most detrimental to the group targeted by the prejudice and why.Be sure to support your postings and responses with specific references to the Learning Resources and the current literature.ReadingsCameron, J. E. (2001). Social identity, modern sexism, and perceptions of personal and group discrimination by women and men. Sex Roles, 45(11/12), 743–766. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.Gaertner, S. L., & Dovidio, J. F. (1986). The aversive form of racism. In J. F. Dovidio & S. L. Gaertner (Eds.), Prejudice, discrimination, and racism(pp. 61–89). San Diego, CA: Academic Press.Prejudice, Discrimination, and Racism by Dovidio, J. F., & Gaertner, S. L. Copyright 1986 by Elsevier Science & Technology. Reprinted by permission of Elsevier Science & Technology via the Copyright Clearance Center.Sears, D. O., & Henry, P. J. (2003). The origins of symbolic racism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 85(2), 259–275. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.Swim, J. K., Aikin, K. J., Hall, W. S., & Hunter, B. A. (1995). Sexism and racism: Old-fashioned and modern prejudices. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68(2), 199–214. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.Tarman, C., & Sears, D. O. (2005). The conceptualization and measurement of symbolic racism. Journal of Politics, 67(3), 731–761. Retrieved from the Walden Library databases.


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Copyright 1995 by the American Psychological Association, Inc.
Journal orpersonalily and social Psychology
1995, Vol. 68, No. 2, 199-214
Sexism and Racism: Old-Fashioned and Modern Prejudices
Janet K. Swim, Kathryn J. Aikin, Wayne S. Hall, and Barbara A. Hunter
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Pennsylvania State University
Prejudice and discrimination against women has become increasingly subtle and covert (N. V. Benokraitis & J. R. Feagin, 1986). Unlike research on racism, little research about prejudice and discrimination against women has explicitly examined beliefs underlying this more modern form of
sexism. Support was found for a distinction between old-fashioned and modern beliefs about women
similar to results that have been presented for racism (J. B. McConahay, 1986; D. O. Sears, 1988).
The former is characterized by endorsement of traditional gender roles, differential treatment of
women and men, and stereotypes about lesser female competence. Like modern racism, modern
sexism is characterized by the denial of continued discrimination, antagonism toward women’s demands, and lack of support for policies designed to help women (for example, in education and
work). Research that compares factor structures of old-fashioned and modern sexism and racism
and that validates our modern sexism scale is presented.
Racism and sexism have a long history of association. The
political origins of this connection in the United States began
with thefirstabolition movement in the 1830s (Doyle & Paludi,
1991; Hole & Levine, 1971). Female abolitionists, incited by
their inability to work as equals with the male abolitionists, began speaking out against the subjugation of African-Americans
and women. Later, Hacker (1951) delineated many parallels between the experiences of women and African-Americans, which
she attributed to their minority status in the United States.
Though noting differences in the statuses of women and African-Americans (see also Comas-Diaz, 1991; Reid, 1988; Smith
& Stewart, 1983), she argued that sufficient parallels existed to
generalizefindingsfrom one group to the other group.
Parallel perceptions of women and minorities also have been
described in recent research concerning the role of cognitive
processes in stereotyping and prejudice. For instance, perceptual and memory processes, such as confirmation biases and
selective encoding and retrieval, are used to maintain stereotypical beliefs and prejudices about both women and AfricanAmericans (Fiske & Taylor, 1991). Furthermore, Black-White
relations and female-male relations have been described as instances of intergroup relations (Ashmore & Delboca, 1986; for
other parallels, as well as some distinctions, see Smith & Stewart, 1983).
A further similarity between racism and sexism resides in the
measurement of prejudicial beliefs, which has become an increasingly elusive task. One explanation for the difficulty of this
task may be the presence of strong normative pressures not to
endorse blatantly prejudicial remarks (McConahay, 1986).
However, attitudinal research on current expressions of prejudice has dealt primarily with racism (directed at AfricanAmericans), not sexism. Researchers examining racism have
generally agreed that its expression is more subtle in modern
society than in the past. Individuals appearing nonracist on the
surface may secretly harbor negative affect or beliefs about African-Americans. These in turn serve to support discriminatory
treatment. Recent research on prejudice against AfricanAmericans has explored the content of contemporary racial stereotypes (e.g., Dovidio, Evans, & Tyler, 1986; Gaertner &
McLaughlin, 1983), examined the circumstances under which
discriminatory behavior occurs (McConahay, 1983), and has
investigated the underlying causes of modern racist beliefs (e.g.,
Bobo, 1983; Katz & Hass, 1988; Sears, 1988). Researchers
differ in their labels for this newer form of racism directed at
African-Americans (e.g., symbolic racism [Sears, 1988], aversive racism [Dovidio, Mann, & Gaertner, 1989; Gaertner &
Dovidio, 1986], racial ambivalence [Katz, Wackenhut, & Hass,
1986], and modern racism [McConahay, 1986; Pettigrew,
1988]), and in the specific characteristics and causes identified
for this form of racism (e.g., Bobo, 1988; Dovidio, Mann, &
Gaertner, 1989; Gaertner & Dovidio, 1986; Pettigrew, 1988;
Sears, 1988). For simplicity, we use the term modern racism to
refer to these newer forms of racist beliefs.
Some researchers have suggested connections between modern racism and modern sexism (e.g., Benokraitis & Feagin,
1986; Butler & Geis, 1990; Dovidio & Gaertner, 1983; Frable,
1989; Rowe, 1990). For instance, in their discussion of affirmative action, Dovidio et al. (1989) stated, “While our discussion focuses on racism, our discussion also concerns sexism.
We believe that many of the critical elements of modern racism
relate to sexism” (p. 86). However, although there has been ample and ongoing research on modern racism, there has been no
comparable systematic analysis of the underlying beliefs supporting modern sexism.
National surveys and research on women’s equality support
the possibility of structural similarities between modern racism
Janet K. Swim, Kathryn J. Aikin, Wayne S. Hall, and Barbara A.
Hunter, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania State University.
We would like to express our appreciation to Lisa Feldman, John
Mathieu, Aaron Pincus, and Jules Thayer for their statistical consultations. Additionally, we would like to express thanks to Lee Carpenter,
Cynthia Thomsen, Lisa Feldman, and John Mathieu for their comments and suggestions on earlier versions of this article.
Correspondence concerning this article should be sent to Janet K.
Swim, 515 Moore Building, Department of Psychology, Pennsylvania
State University, University Park, Pennsylvania 16802. Electronic mail
may be sent via Internet to [email protected].
Terms and Conditions
Sexual Harassment
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Figure 1. Number of complaints reported to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission from 1975
to 1989 forfivefrequently reported gender-based issues.
and modern sexism. Data from national opinion polls suggest
that fewer people endorse old-fashioned prejudicial beliefs such
as unequal treatment of African-Americans as compared with
European-Americans (McConahay, 1986) and suggest that
fewer people disapprove of nontraditional roles for women (Myers, 1993). From 1937 to 1988, approval of married women’s
employment increased steadily, from approximately 20% to
80% (Myers, 1993). Yet the depth of the endorsement of gender
equality is open to question.
There is evidence of behaviors inconsistent with these more
liberal attitudes toward women’s roles (Benokraitis & Feagin,
1986; Rowe, 1990). For example, family roles are still inequitably divided, even for women with professional jobs (Biernat &
Wortman, 1991). Inequity also can still be found in the workforce. In a 1990 Gallup poll, 43% of the male respondents and
54% of the female respondents indicated that they preferred a
man as a boss, whereas only 12% of the women and 15% of the
men indicated that they preferred a woman as a boss. Furthermore, as illustrated by Figure 1, the five most frequent sexbased complaints to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC; 1977, 1981, 1983, 1984, 1990, 1993) either
have changed little from 1975 to 1989 or have risen sharply.1
Although it is impossible to know how much these statistics depend on women’s willingness to report discriminatory treatment, complaints to the EEOC indicate that women are still
facing difficulties on the job. The impact of discriminatory
treatment also can be found in differential salary levels. For instance, Stroh, Brett, and Reilly (1992) found differential increases in salary levels in their sample of recently transferred
Fortune 500 male and female managers who had similar educational and work experiences and equivalent qualifications and
dedication. Thus, the endorsement of gender equality does not
appear to parallel changes in behaviors indicative of equality.
The specific beliefs that underlie modern racism and modern
sexism also may be similar. Sears (1988) described the beliefs
underlying modern racism against African-Americans as being
a) denial of continuing discrimination; b) antagonism toward
African-Americans’ demands; and c) resentment about special
favors for African-Americans (see also McConahay, 1986).
These same beliefs may be applied to women. There are social
pressures to suppress old-fashioned prejudicial and stereotypical statements about women. Furthermore, people may resent
women and African-Americans because these groups have both
pushed for greater economic and political power and for the passage of anti-discrimination laws. Thus people, while rejecting
old-fashioned discrimination and stereotypes, may believe that
discrimination against women is a thing of the past, feel antagonistic toward women who are making political and economic
demands, and feel resentment about special favors for women,
such as policies designed to help women in academics or work.
Thus, qualitatively, current beliefs about women can be described as modern sexist, in a manner similar to modern racist
beliefs about African-Americans. The purpose of the present
research is to test quantitatively the construct validity of this
characterization of beliefs about women. Construct validity
tests examined in thefirststudy are described below. Additional
tests are presented in Study 2.
Study 1
Confirmatory Factor Analyses
We devised a set of statements concerning beliefs about
women based on the three basic tenets described above. We de1
Initial EEOC reports indicated the number of sex-based charges
made by women and men. Later reports referred to sex-based charges
with no indication of the sex of the complainant. Approximately 807c
of the charges for the fiscal years of 1968 to 1974 in the areas of discharges and terms and conditions of employment were made by women
(EEOC; 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1974, 1975). The percentages
for women versus men were relatively stable across this 7-year period.
The other three categories noted in Figure i were not reported by these
early publications.
signed an additional set of statements to measure old-fashioned
prejudices. These were characterized by items endorsing traditional gender roles, differential treatment of women and men,
and stereotypes about lower female competence. Like previous
research that has compared modern racism and old-fashioned
racism (McConahay, 1986), we predicted that responses to
these sets of statements, though correlated, could be characterized by a two-factor structure with one factor representing OldFashioned Sexism and the other representing Modern Sexism.
This analysis is the first test of the construct validity of our
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
Sex Differences
Most tests of the construct validity of sexism scales seek to
determine whether women and men respond differently to these
scales (DelBoca, Ashmore, & McManus, 1986). Therefore, examining sex differences is our second test of the construct validity of our scales. We predicted that women would give less sexist
responses to both old-fashioned and modern sexist statements
because of the less favorable implications of these beliefs for
women. Women may not only disagree with blatant discriminatory statements but also may be less likely than men to believe
that equality has been obtained. This latter belief may result
from greater personal experience with sex discrimination or
identification with others who have experienced the effects of
prejudice. These factors should lead women to support other
women’s demands and to adopt favorable perceptions of programs designed to help women.
In contrast to the evidence for sex differences in mean levels
of sexism, research on sex differences in the structure of political beliefs is sparse (Shapiro & Mahajan, 1986), and two studies
that examined these structures suggested that there are few sex
differences. Goertzel (1983) reported that women’s and men’s
attitude structures about various social and political issues were
very similar. Additionally, Sears, Huddie, and Schaffer (1986)
found similar factor structures for men’s versus women’s responses to specific gender, racial, and partisan issues. Thus, we
did not predict significant sex differences in factor structure.
Values Underlying Racism and Sexism
Our third test of construct validity examined the relevance of
individualistic and egalitarian values to modern sexism. Sears
(1988) and Katz and colleagues (e.g., Katz & Hass, 1988; Katz
et al., 1986) argued that the values of individualism and egalitarianism are related to racism against African-Americans.
People who hold individualistic values emphasize personal freedom, self-reliance, devotion to work, and achievement (Katz
& Hass, 1988). Individualistic values are related to traditional
protestant values that similarly emphasize devotion to work,
individual achievement, and discipline. These latter values relate to racism by supporting internal attributions (e.g., lack of
drive or discipline) rather than external attributions (e.g., poor
job opportunities) for social and economic problems faced by
African-Americans. Egalitarian values, however, emphasize
helping others so that no one has special advantages. Thus, these
values yield more sympathetic responses to, and more support
for, the rights of African-Americans.
Sears (1988) provisionally concluded that not endorsing egal-
itarian beliefs is a stronger predictor of symbolic racism than is
endorsing individualism. If the same value structure underlies
racism and sexism, then egalitarian values should correlate negatively with Modern Sexism, and individualist values should be
uncorrelated or positively correlated with Modern Sexism. The
correlation between individualism and Modern Sexism should
be smaller in magnitude than that between egalitarianism and
Modern Sexism.
Katz and colleagues (Katz & Hass, 1988; Katz et al., 1986)
have argued that current attitudes regarding African-Americans are characterized by ambivalence (i.e., simultaneously
having both pro- and anti-African-American sentiments). They
have shown that negative attitudes are more consistently related
to individualism than to egalitarianism; conversely, positive attitudes are more strongly related to egalitarianism than to individualism. To the extent that the Modern Racism and Modern
Sexism scales measure negative beliefs about African-Americans and women, respectively, these results suggest—contrary
to Sears (1988)—that we should observe stronger correlations
between these beliefs and individualistic values than between
these beliefs and humanitarian values.
Job Segregation
Our fourth test of construct validity involved perceptions of
sex segregation in the workforce. Despite advances in women’s
employment status, most women still hold lower paying, lower
status jobs than men do (Unger & Crawford, 1992). It has been
argued that discrimination against women is one reason that
one can find fewer women than men in male-dominated jobs
(England & McCreary, 1987; Nieva & Gutek, 1981; Ragins &
Sundstrom, 1989). Furthermore, segregation in the workforce
leads to less direct opportunity for advancement and fewer economic resources to improve job status.
McCauley, Thangavelu, and Rozin (1988) found that people
underestimated the extent ofjob market segregation by sex. We
predicted that Modern Sexism would be related to people’s perceptions of sex segregation in the workforce. Those who believe
that discrimination is no longer a problem, one component of
the Modern Sexism scale, should perceive fewer barriers to
women in male-dominatedfields.Furthermore, misperceptions
of equality should be related to less perceived need and support
for assistance for women. Thus, we predicted that higher scores
on the Modern Sexism scale would be related to greater overestimation of women in male-dominated jobs. Perceiving decreased job segregation in male-dominated jobs may yield overestimation of men in female-dominated jobs, and the degree of
overestimation may be predicted by scores on the Modern Sexism scale.
Respondents were 418 women and 265 men from an introductory
psychology course who received extra credit for their participation.
Nearly all respondents were European-American.
Respondents were given a questionnaire packet containing several
surveys as part of a mass screening for introductory psychology stu-
This document is copyrighted by the American Psychological Association or one of its allied publishers.
This article is intended solely for the personal use of the individual user and is not to be disseminated broadly.
dents. Responses to all items relevant to the present study were on 5point Likert-type scales with 1 indicating strongly agree and 5 indicating strongly disagree. Item responses were averaged. Respondents first
completed Katz and Hass’s (1988) Humanitarian-Egalitarian scale and
Katz and Hass’s (1988) shortened version of Mirels and Garrett’s (1971)
Protestant Work Ethic scale. Items from the first scale were alternated
with items from the second scale. Respondents then completed sexism
items designed as potential measures of Old-Fashioned Sexism and
Modern Sexism (see below). The Old-Fashioned Sexism items were interspersed with the Modern Sexism items. These items were followed by
McConahay’s (1986) racism items; items from the Modern Racism
scale were interspersed with items from the Old-Fashioned Racism
Finally, respondents estimated the percentage of women and men in
the United States who occupy 12 occupations (registered nurses, physicians, bank tellers, police officers and detectives, lawyers, legal assistants, engineers, waiters and waitresses, child care workers, architects,
secretaries, and airplane pilots and navigators). They were told that the
percentages of men and women in each occupation should sum to 100.
Respondents took the packets home and returned their completed
forms during one of their next two class periods. They were instructed
tofillout the forms privately.
Scale Development
As described previously, Sears (1988) classified survey items used to
measure symbolic racism against African-Americans into three categories. Many of these same symbolic racism items were also incorporated
into McConahay’s Modern Racism scale (see Appendix A). We used
McConahay’s (1986) items and Sears’ classification system as guides in
constructing potential items for our Modern Sexism scale. First, all
seven items measuring modern racism from McConahay’s Modern
Racism scale were altered to apply to women. Second, we constructed
additional items consistent with the three categories described by Sears.
Only one of McConahay’s Old-Fashioned Racism items (Item 1) could
be meaningfully altered to measure old-fashioned sexism. Hence, in addition to altering this one item, we developed several items that were
related to traditional beliefs about women. These emphasized nega …
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