The sexual double standard is the notion that women are evaluated negatively and men positively for engaging in similar sexual behaviors. Because traditional, gender-based stereotypes are reflected in the attitudes that people hold towards men and women, it is likely that sexism plays a part in the manifestation of the double standard. The goal of the present study is to investigate the relationship between sexism (prejudice against individuals based on their gender) and the sexual double standard. There are two types of sexism: hostile (negative prejudice) and benevolent (positive prejudice). We hypothesized that participants displaying high levels of either type of sexism would be most likely to exhibit the sexual double standard. A US-sample of 232 undergraduates from a Southwestern university completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI) and the Ambivalence Towards Men Inventory (AMI) and then evaluated a hypothetical target individual who reported having zero, one or 12 sexual partners. Results show that participants’ sexist attitudes towards men and women were related to their exhibition of the sexual double standard. Specifically, men and women’s hostile attitudes towards targets of their own gender were related to negative evaluations of highly sexually active targets of the same gender, while men and women’s benevolent attitudes towards the opposite gender were related to positive evaluation of highly sexually active targets of the opposite gender. Implications of the present results and directions for future research are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Oct 13, 2014
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