Five-year-olds have inherent sexism that persists as they grow up – but this process takes longer for little boys, according to a new study.

U.S. researchers found that negative views of women held by children with age disappear – but & # 39; goodwill & # 39; sexism only decreases for girls.

& # 39; Hostile & # 39; reduce sexist perceptions for both boys and girls as they get older. However, boys hold goodwill or seemingly & # 39; positive & # 39; sexist views of 11 years.

Boys who don't think they are cheating can actually consider women as weak and helpless – attitudes that last throughout childhood and possibly into adulthood.

The study examines the & # 39; hostile & # 39; child sexism and & # 39; benevolent & # 39; sexism, which may seem abusive but still undermines women.

Boys are slower to acknowledge that their benevolent, if ambivalent, attitude toward women is actually patronizing, the researchers reported

Most people understand sexism to refer to open negative attitudes about women, the researchers note, but benevolent sexism can be undermining, patronizing and often overlooked.


Benevolent sexism (also referred to as & # 39; positive & # 39; sexism) describes attitudes and positions that may seem positive but are in fact still undermining and patronizing for women.

Examples include women & # 39; should be admired warm, caring, pure & deserving & # 39; as & # 39; men must protect women from danger & # 39 ;.

The theory of benevolent sexism was largely developed by social psychologists Peter Glick and Susan Fiske.

Goodwill sexism contrasts with hostile sexism, which, as the name already suspects, means less well when deliberately hurtful.

An example of hostile sexism is & # 39; women are more upset than men about little things & # 39 ;.

& # 39; It may seem like a boy serving in chivalrous ways against girls, or if a girl pretends to be a princess who & # 39; does not wait for a prince to save her, & # 39; said study author Dr Andrei Cimpian of & # 39; e New York University.

& # 39; Many times this is just play, with no deeper meaning.

& # 39; But other times, these behaviors – although they may seem unsafe – may signal that children see women in a negative light, as weak, incompetent and unable to survive or prosper without the help of a man. & # 39; 39;

Earlier studies have shown that adults who have hostile sexist views also possess goodwill.

But psychologists weren't sure if kids would love these perceptions too – and whether or not they would change through childhood.

To find out more, researchers examined the attitudes of more than 200 children ages five to 11 in New York City and Urbana-Champaign in Illinois, USA.

The children were asked if a series of statements – classified as indicators of benevolent or hostile sexist views – were right or wrong.

Researchers recorded the attitudes of more than 200 children, ages 5 to 11, in New York City and Urbana-Champaign, Illinois

For example, & # 39; men need to protect women from danger & # 39; was a goodwill statement and & # 39; women are more upset than men about little things & # 39; was defined as a hostile statement.

The results showed that if a child agreed to a hostile statement, they were more likely to agree with a goodwill.

& # 39; This is something we did not previously know about the sexual attitude of young children, & # 39; said Dr Cimpian.

The findings also showed that hostile child sexism decreased with age for both boys and girls, but benevolent sexism only decreased for girls.

This may come from being surrounded by these social norms through early childhood, Dr Cimpian said.

Benevolent sexism is often overlooked. In men, it can directly or indirectly generalize women as weak, incompetent or unable to survive or thrive without the help of a man

& # 39; Boys may be less likely to recognize that their benevolent attitude toward women is, in fact, patronage, & # 39; he said.

& # 39; For example, they may hold on to the belief that men should protect women, in order that this view is in line with social norms and can be reinforced in their parenting. & # 39;

To remedy this, the authors suggest that the current view of coronavirus may be a good opportunity to describe the potentially deleterious effects of benevolent sexism.

& # 39; Parents and children spend a lot of time together these days, so there are plenty of opportunities for conversation, & # 39; said the first author of & # 39; study Dr. Matthew Hammond to & # 39; e Victoria University, Wellington, New Zealand.

& # 39; It could be worth a few minutes to discuss what they think men and women should be. & # 39;

The study was published in the journal Sex Roles.

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