Does Sexism Moderate the Relationship between Target’s Gender and Moral Judgements?

Dasci, E. (University of Exeter), Barreto, M. (University of Exeter), Sweetman, J. (University of Exeter)

The present research examines the effect of benevolent sexism on moral judgements of female targets. We hypothesised that the idealization of females as morally pure (benevolent sexism) resulted in harsher judgements towards females when the action is clearly immoral, however otherwise when the action is ambiguously immoral. To test our predictions, we conducted two studies.  In Study 1 (N=438), we examine how benevolent sexism affects moral judgements of female targets when actions were ambiguously vs. unambiguously immoral, and for both male and female perceivers. Study 2 (N=827), maintains this design, but adds a manipulation of the gender of the target, to examine whether the effect is restricted to female targets. Our studies showed that endorsement of benevolent sexism was positively associated with moral judgements of a female target who engaged in an ambiguously immoral action, but there was no association between benevolent sexism and moral judgements of the female target when the action was morally ambiguous. This supports the idea that benevolent sexism also moderates moral judgements in non-gendered scenarios and specifies that this might be the case particularly when the immorality of the action is clear. This is an important addition to the literature, where effects of sexism on moral judgements have focused on highly gendered actions.

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—- TYREE —–
Close Relationships and Individual Differences