Sex Roles [sers] pp978-sers-472562 September 10, 2003 18:15 Style ﬁle version June 3rd, 2002
Sex Roles, Vol. 49, Nos. 9/10, November 2003 (
The “True” Romantic: Benevolent Sexism
and Paternalistic Chivalry
G. Tendayi Viki,
and Paul Hutchison
Previous research has shown that individuals high in benevolent sexism positively evaluate
women who conform to traditional gender roles (e.g., Glick, Diebold, Bailey-Warner, & Zhu,
1997). In the current study, male and female participants completed the Ambivalent Sexism In-
ventory (Glick & Fiske, 1996) and a new measure of paternalistic chivalry, that is, attitudes that
are both courteous and considerate to women but place restrictions on behavior considered
appropriate for women during courtship. Consistent with our hypotheses, benevolent sexism
was signiﬁcantly positively related to paternalistic chivalry. Hostile sexism and participant sex
were unrelated to paternalistic chivalry.
KEY WORDS: benevolent; hostile; sexism; paternalism; chivalry.
Social psychological accounts of sexism have
tended to emphasize hostile attitudes toward women
(e.g., Spence & Helmreich, 1972; Swim, Aikin, Hall,
& Hunter, 1995). However, researchers have also
reported ﬁndings that suggest that women may be
more positively stereotyped in comparison to men
(e.g., Eagly, Mladinic, & Otto, 1991). Glick and Fiske
(1996) proposed that sexism may not manifest as
a unitary hostility toward women. Rather, hostile
sexism may coexist with subjectively positive sexist
attitudes toward women, that is, benevolent sexism.
According to Glick and Fiske (1996; see also Glick
et al., 2000), benevolent sexism comprises a set of
attitudes that favor keeping women in restricted
roles, but are subjectively positive in feeling tone.
Such attitudes may result in male behavior that could
be considered prosocial. For example, studies have
shown that female targets are more likely than male
targets to elicit help from male strangers (Eagly &
Crowley, 1986; Vrugt & Nauta, 1995). Despite such
apparently positive outcomes, Glick and Fiske (1996)
Department of Psychology, University of Kent at Canterbury,
Canterbury, United Kingdom.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at Department of
Psychology, University of Kent at, Canterbury, Canterbury CT2
7NP, United Kingdom; e-mail: email@example.com.
have argued that benevolent sexism is not good
for women because it is rooted in the traditional
assumptions that women are the “weaker” sex, who
are dependent on men for their survival.
The Ambivalent Sexism Inventory (ASI) is a
22-item measure that was developed to assess indi-
vidual levels of hostile and benevolent sexism (Glick
& Fiske, 1996). Researchers who have used the ASI
have reported ﬁndings that are consistent with the
hypothesized hostile sexism and benevolent sexism
subscales (e.g., Glick et al., 2000; Glick & Fiske,
1996; Masser & Abrams, 1999). These studies have
also consistently shown that benevolent sexism and
hostile sexism are signiﬁcantly positively correlated.
As such, individuals who are high in hostile sexism
are also likely to be high in benevolent sexism.
Despite such paradoxical ﬁndings, Glick and Fiske
(1996) maintain that benevolent sexism and hostile
sexism have “...opposing evaluative implications,
fulﬁlling the literal meaning of ambivalence.” They
have argued that ambivalent sexists reconcile their
ambivalence by classifying women into “good” and
“bad” subcategories. Consistent with this argument,
Glick, Deibold, Bailey-Werner, and Zhu (1997)
found that benevolent sexism was signiﬁcantly
related to the positive evaluations of women who
conform to traditional gender roles (e.g., mothers
2003 Plenum Publishing Corporation