We all live in captivity of stereotypes: girls must wear dresses, boys can’t cry, a woman must be commercial, a man must provide for his family – and so on and so forth. At the same time, research shows that negative stereotypes can harm more serious than we all think.
For example, if you tell girls that boys generally better at math, they almost immediately begin to suffer math tests. There is also scientific evidence that stereotypes likewise affect the success of people who identificeret themselves as ethnic minorities.
But here’s the good news: all of us (or at least the women) will help feminism. A new study on the topic showed that women who identificeret themselves as feminists, are more resistant to the effects of negative stereotypes, even if they do not work to ignore them.
According to Jolien van Breen (Jolien van Breen) from Exeter University (Exeter University), despite the fact that in developed countries the harmful stereotypes in the workplace is getting smaller, they do not disappear. What happens is that the stereotypes become more thin and, consequently, less visible. And this, says the expert, can be a very insidious phenomenon, because such stereotypes are harder to resist.
In the course of the study, which was published in Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, women volunteers, roughly half of whom called themselves feminists took part in a number of experiments. The researchers focused on math tests where the more able are traditionally considered to be male.
To subconsciously remind the participants about gender stereotypes before tests women were asked to rate a series of images, which more or less illustrated by gender inequality. In the end, van Breen and her team noted that even feminists are after stereotypical images better cope with the tests and spent less time on them than women who did not identify themselves with feminism.
In another test, participants are faced with the philosophical thought experiment known as the trolley problem – should they sacrifice one person to save the lives of several others? The team found that feminists are more likely to have to sacrifice a person if it was a man. But, importantly, they did it only in cases, when to test, they showed pictures of gender stereotypes.
The study authors note that the results in any case do not say that feminists hate men as a given. “The influence of stereotypes, which can make them more harshly compared to men,” says Jolien van Breen.
“The results show that feminists are more keenly aware of gender stereotypes even when they are presented sublimino (below the limits of perception), and automatically respond to them. These women are more sensitive to gender cues, but that this sensitivity allows them to withstand the harmful effects of stereotypes,” the scientists write.