Sexist attitudes do not exist in a limbo; they are embedded in larger belief systems associated with specific hierarchies of values. In particular, manifestations of benevolent sexism (Glick and Fiske 1996, 1997, 2001) can be perceived as a social boon, not a social ill, both because they are experienced as positive, and because they reward behaviors that maintain social stability. One of the strongest social institutions that create and justify specific hierarchies of values is religion. In this paper, we examine how the values inherent in religious beliefs (perhaps inadvertently) propagate an unequal status quo between men and women through endorsement of ideologies linked to benevolent sexism. In a survey with a convenience sample of train passengers in Southern and Eastern Poland (N = 180), we investigated the relationship between Catholic religiosity and sexist attitudes. In line with previous findings (Gaunt 2012; Glick et al. 2002a; Taşdemir and Sakallı-Uğurlu 2010), results suggest that religiosity can be linked to endorsement of benevolent sexism. This relationship was mediated in our study by the values of conservatism and openness to change (Schwartz 1992): religious individuals appear to value the societal status quo, tradition, and conformity, which leads them to perceive women through the lens of traditional social roles. Adhering to the teachings of a religion that promotes family values in general seems to have as its byproduct an espousal of prejudicial attitudes toward specific members of the family.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: May 28, 2014
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