When experiencing gender prejudice, college women engage in a dynamic decision making process about whether and how to respond. We examined the discrepancy between how college women wanted to respond and how they actually responded to gender prejudice events and explored their reasons for not using a desired response. In this study, 81 college women from the Western United States responded to a qualitative online daily diary about gender prejudice. In 34% (N = 265) of the events, the women reported there was a discrepancy between what they wanted to do and how they actually reacted, with the most common discrepancy being a desire to utilize a confrontational response (91%, N = 242). Over the two week period, women reported significantly more events during which they considered the use of a confrontational response (N = 242) than they actually used one (N = 199). Women’s reported reasons for not using their desired response included: not being cost effective (25%), concern about social norms (37%), setting limitations (19%), personality characteristics (9%) and not being bothered enough by the event (10%). We also found that when women considered using a confrontational response but decided not to, they reported using all other response types instead. In these cases, women who did nothing during the event reported lower levels of distress during the event than women who used a psychological response or a different confrontational response. Implications and future research directions are discussed.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Jun 14, 2011
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