Ambivalent sexism and perceptions of men and women who violate gendered family roles

Ruth Gaunt

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations


This study draws on ambivalent sexism theory to explore the role of benevolent and hostile gender attitudes in determining perceptions of individuals who comply with traditional gender roles or violate them. Three hundred and eleven participants were presented with a description of a male or a female target who was either a primary breadwinner or a primary caregiver. As hypothesized, hostile sexism (HS) predicted more negative perceptions of a female breadwinner, whereas benevolent sexism (BS) predicted more positive perceptions of a female caregiver. Moreover, participants who endorsed hostile attitudes toward men reacted more positively to a nontraditional male caregiver, whereas those who endorsed benevolent attitudes toward men reacted more negatively to a male caregiver. Implications regarding the nature of ambivalent gender attitudes are discussed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)401-416
Number of pages16
JournalCommunity, Work and Family
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2013
Externally publishedYes


  • ambivalence toward men
  • ambivalent sexism
  • family roles
  • gender norms


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