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Benevolent Sexism and Mate Preferences: Why Do Women Prefer Benevolent Men Despite Recognizing That They Can Be Undermining?

Gul, Pelin, Kupfer, Tom R. (2019) Benevolent Sexism and Mate Preferences: Why Do Women Prefer Benevolent Men Despite Recognizing That They Can Be Undermining? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 45 (1). pp. 146-161. ISSN 0146-1672. (doi:10.1177/0146167218781000)

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https://doi.org/10.1177/0146167218781000

Abstract

Benevolent sexism (BS) has detrimental effects on women, yet women prefer men with BS attitudes over those without. The predominant explanation for this paradox is that women respond to the superficially positive appearance of BS without being aware of its subtly harmful effects. We propose an alternative explanation drawn from evolutionary and sociocultural theories on mate preferences: women find BS men attractive because BS attitudes and behaviors signal that a man is willing to invest. Five studies showed that women prefer men with BS attitudes (Studies 1a, 1b & 3) and behaviors (Studies 2a & 2b), especially in mating contexts, because BS mates are perceived as willing to invest (protect, provide, and commit). Women preferred BS men despite also perceiving them as patronizing and undermining. These findings extend understanding of women’s motives for endorsing BS and suggest that women prefer BS men despite having awareness of the harmful consequences.

Item Type: Article
DOI/Identification number: 10.1177/0146167218781000
Uncontrolled keywords: benevolent sexism; mate preferences; romantic relationships; social role theory; parental investment theory
Divisions: Faculties > Social Sciences > School of Psychology
Depositing User: Matthias Werner
Date Deposited: 26 Feb 2019 16:58 UTC
Last Modified: 03 Jun 2019 09:29 UTC
Resource URI: https://kar.kent.ac.uk/id/eprint/72765 (The current URI for this page, for reference purposes)
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