Wanting it both ways: Do women approve of benevolent sexism?

Stephen E. Kilianski, Laurie A. Rudman

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

150 Scopus citations


An oft-expressed criticism of feminism is that women "want it both ways," opposing what Glick and Fiske (1996) have called "hostile sexism," but accepting or approving of "benevolent sexism." To examine this issue, an ethnically and socioeconomically diverse group of one hundred female undergraduate volunteers rated profiles of a hostile sexist, a benevolent sexist and a non-sexist. For the benevolent sexist, ratings were mildly favorable, while for the hostile sexist, ratings were highly unfavorable. Forty-four participants (a category referred to as equivocal egalitarians) approved of the benevolent sexist while disapproving of the hostile sexist. Equivocal egalitarianism was positively related to participants' Attitudes About Reality (Unger, Draper, & Pendergrass, 1986) and negatively related to their belief that hostile and benevolent sexism could coexist. Overall, participants considered it unlikely that the hostile and benevolent sexist profiles described the same person. Given previous findings, these data suggest that women may underestimate the coexistence of hostile and benevolent sexism in men (Glick & Fiske, 1996).

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)333-352
Number of pages20
JournalSex Roles
Issue number5-6
StatePublished - Sep 1998

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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