Men and women who hold sexist views are less responsive as parents: new research

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Thinking women and men are different can do a lot of harm. Nowhere is this more obvious than in how some people view the roles of parents. In this traditionalist worldview, men should be physically strong, seek resources and status, and provide for their family. On the flip side, women should serve their partners and nurture their children.

People who break with these gendered norms can face criticism from those who hold these views – also known as “hostile sexism”.

The term refers to overtly negative or misogynistic attitudes toward women. People inclined to hostile sexism more strongly agree with statements such as:

  • most women fail to appreciate fully all that men do for them
  • women seek to gain power by getting control over men
  • women exaggerate problems they have at work
  • once a woman gets a man to commit to her she usually tries to put him on a tight leash
  • women are too easily offended.

But how do parents with these hostile attitudes fare in the job of parenting? A new study has found that hostile sexism can harm parenting. And it’s not just dads with more sexist attitudes. Mothers with sexist attitudes can cause problems as well.

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