The decision to act: Factors that predict women’s and men’s decisions to confront sexism
Published on Jan 1, 2019
· DOI :10.1016/B978-0-12-814715-3.00003-5
Abstract Recent media campaigns, news articles, and political events have spotlighted sexism and collective action against sexism. In the face of these injustices, some women and men decide to confront sexist events, whereas others do not. In this chapter, we focus on the factors that motivate people to confront sexism with particular attention to the ways in which confrontations of sexism might be unique. We first consider the integral role of recognizing sexism in predicting confronting behaviors. Viewed through the lens of Ambivalent Sexism Theory, we articulate the ways in which sexism, in contrast to other forms of bias, may be particularly difficult to recognize. Next, we present research findings regarding the diversity of sexist experiences and the role of social power differentials in predicting confronting. We also detail how both perceived and actual costs and benefits of confronting sexism motivate women to confront. We pay special attention to ally confrontation and the differential effectiveness of ally versus target confrontation, with speculation as to how male allies may both help and hinder the goal to reduce sexism. Throughout the chapter, we consider how the recent surge in recognition and public confrontation of sexism may fit with empirical research findings. Finally, we provide concrete strategies for increasing confrontation behavior and suggest novel and important avenues for future research.