Gender prejudice is a common occurrence that takes place throughout one’s life and in many arenas (i.e., school, work, public settings, etc.). Recent research has explored how targets respond to such experiences, but few studies examine bystander reactions to this type of event. The current study examined four factors (social norms, cost-effectiveness, distress, and feminist activism) that might influence how bystanders respond when witnessing gender prejudice. Male and female college students (n = 291) from the Western United States completed online surveys in which they described their experiences witnessing a woman being targeted with gender prejudice. Results indicate gender differences in appraisals of the cost-effectiveness of using particular responses, but no gender differences in the types of responses used. Results indicate that the endorsement of feminist activism predicted female bystanders’ use of confrontational responses, but none of the variables predicted male bystanders’ use of confrontational responses. For female bystanders, those who questioned whether their response would be cost-effective were more likely to report considering, but not using a confrontational response. Implications and future directions are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: May 29, 2015
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