Belief in sexism shift: Defining a new form of contemporary sexism and introducing the belief in sexism shift scale (BSS scale)

Miriam K. Zehnter, Francesca Manzi, Patrick E. Shrout, Madeline E. Heilman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The belief that the target of sexism has shifted from women to men is gaining popularity. Yet despite its potential theoretical and practical importance, the belief that men are now the primary target of sexism has not been systematically defined nor has it been reliably measured. In this paper, we define the belief in sexism shift (BSS) and introduce a scale to measure it. We contend that BSS constitutes a new form of contemporary sexism characterized by the perception that anti-male discrimination is pervasive, that it now exceeds anti-female discrimination, and that it is caused by women’s societal advancement. In four studies (N = 666), we develop and test a concise, one-dimensional, 15-item measure of BSS: the BSS scale. Our findings demonstrate that BSS is related to, yet distinct from other forms of sexism (traditional, modern, and ambivalent sexism). Moreover, our results show that the BSS scale is a stable and reliable measure of BSS across different samples, time, and participant gender. The BSS scale is also less susceptible to social desirability concerns than other sexism measures. In sum, the BSS scale can be a valuable tool to help understand a new and potentially growing type of sexism that may hinder women in unprecedented ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0248374
JournalPloS one
Volume16
Issue number3 March
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
  • General

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