Existential concerns relating to human physicality influence cultural worldviews and norms regarding women. When people are striving to bolster perceptions of meaning, they respond negatively to the aspects of the female body that serve as reminders that humans are animals. In the present research, we sought to further explore whether attitudes about human animality relate to attitudes about women. Specifically, we examined the association between beliefs about human–animal continuity and sexist attitudes. Since women serve as potent reminders that humans are biological creatures, we predicted that greater desire to perceive humans as distinct from other animals would be associated with higher levels of hostile and benevolent sexism among male participants. Results supported this hypothesis. We also tested and found support for the assumption that the belief that humans are distinct from and superior to other animals is associated with greater perceptions of meaning in life.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Gender Studies
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- animal–human continuity