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Introduction

Sexism can often be hard to detect. The bullying act of sexism can often be perceived as a moral crusade instead of a persecution (Manne, 2016). Sexist attitudes flourish in patriarchal societies given the gendered hierarchy. Though sexism often includes overt attacks that direct hostility and hatred towards women, it also possesses a more discrete form that portrays itself as a distrust of women (i.e. putting women down) (Manne, 2016). Benevolent sexism, a more curbed form of misogyny, views women as a wonderful but weak species. According to benevolent sexists, women need to be protected by men due to fragility (Hideg & Ferris, 2016). Huang, Davies, Sibley, and Osborne (2016) state that benevolent sexism even affects roles, such as motherhood, referring to it as a woman's "highest calling" and claiming that this role "completes" her as a woman. Due to the confining restraints of benevolent sexism, women are restricted to mere conventional roles (Anderson, Kanner, & Elsayegh, 2009). Women are often subject to psychological barriers of motherhood myths that discourage them from seeking power in the workplace and have difficulty being hired or promoted (Verniers & Vala, 2018; Stamarski & Son Hing, 2015). Though these attitudes may seem like a common and tolerable perception of women, these beliefs are misogynistic nonetheless. Benevolent sexism is harder to detect compared to hostile sexism (e.g. sexism that consists of aggressive attitudes towards women), as benevolent sexism uses a superficially positive tone to disguise its ill intent (Huang, Davies, Sibley, & Osborne, 2016). Overall, the negative impact of exposure to sexism is ample: psychological distress, lower levels of mental health, physical health, and poor health behavior (e.g. excessive smoking or drinking) are among the detriments associated with sexism (Szymanski, Gupta, Carr, & Stewart, 2009; Fischer & Holz, 2007; Zucker & Landry, 2007; Salomon, Burgess, & Bosson, 2015).

Although sexism has a detrimental impact on women, the underlying causes of sexism are not clearly established. The possible attributes that contribute to misogynistic attitudes and behavior have not been thoroughly researched. Most studies, instead, focus on how to change existing sexist attitudes instead of identifying the preliminary causes and correlates of sexism (Becker & Wagner, 2008; Ford, Woodzicka, Triplett, & Kochersberger, 2013).

In this study, by contrast, I assessed benevolent and hostile sexism. The terms benevolent sexism and hostile sexism were coined by Glick and Fiske in 1996, who introduced the "Ambivalent Sexism Theory." Benevolence is a more controlled form of sexism that views women as complementary companions to men, stating that women are pure creatures who must be protected by men (Glick & Fiske, 2001). Glick and Fiske (2001) divide benevolent sexism into three subcategories: protective paternalism (the desire to protect and cherish women), heterosexual intimacy (intense desires for women), and complementary gender differentiation (the differences between men and women). Benevolent sexism is seen as chivalrous rather than misogynistic (Chisango, Mayekiso, & Thomae, 2015). Overall, benevolent sexism can be difficult to detect considering its seemingly harmless guise and evasive patterns of good intentions (Garaigordobil, 2014).

Contrarily, hostile sexism is the perception that women seek control over men through feminist ideology or sexuality. Researchers Glick and Fiske (2001) further divide hostile sexism into three subcategories: dominative paternalism (desire to dominate women), hostile heterosexuality (backlash towards women), and competitive gender differentiation (favoring men over women in terms of differences).

Religiousness and degree of spirituality can directly relate to how women are perceived and the treatment of women (Glick, Lamerias, & Rodriguez Castro, 2002). Many religions dictate that women should be considered secondary to men (Daly, 1985). Religion's influence can thus promote misogynistic attitudes (Haggard, Kaelen, Saroglou, Klein, & Rowatt, 2018). Often, religion is associated with patriarchal control over women and control over the sexuality of women (Burn & Busso, 2005; Haggard et al., 2018; Tasdemir & Sakalli-Ugurlu, 2009). Traditionally, religion creates cohesive groups of likeminded people who share similar beliefs (Haidt, 2012). Religiosity is a very significant factor that shapes beliefs and attitudes towards gender and gender issues (Cunningham, Miner, & Benavides-Espinoza, 2012; Mikołajczak & Pietrzak, 2014). Some research has indicated that Christian, Jewish, and Muslim religions are positively related to benevolent sexism (Gaunt, 2012; Mikołajczak & Pietrzak, 2014; Husnu, 2016). In addition to the sexism related to Abrahamic religions, other religions, such as Buddhism and Hinduism, foster male dominance and patriarchal traditions (Gross, 2014; Tombs, 1991; Franiuk & Shain, 2011). Previous research has indicated that non-religious people are more likely to support gender equality than religious people, regardless of religious affiliation (Schnabel, 2016). The degree of religiousness was expected to be correlated with hostile sexism and benevolent sexism.

Big Five personality traits may also dictate misogynistic beliefs (Christopher, Zabel, & Miller, 2013). In various literature, the Big Five factor traits of openness and agreeableness have been strongly correlated to prejudice (Ekehammar & Akrami, 2007; Ekehammar & Akrami, 2003; Flynn, 2005). The Big Five personality traits (openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness, and neuroticism) are a group of major aspects of the personality and are considered an extremely robust model. Compared to other personality inventories (e.g. Cattell, Guilford, and the Interpersonal Circle), the Big Five model prevails due to its high reliability, great validity, and its wide array of dimensions that characterize individual differences (Digman, 1990). Although, a possible weakness of the Big Five personality inventory is its difficulty for respondents of lower educations (Hendriks, Hofstee, & De Raad, 1999), this weakness did not pose as a major risk to this study, as all participants had at least some college education. Research by Akrami, Ekehammar, Bergh, Dahlstrand, & Malmsten (2009) indicates that prejudice can originate from a combination of personality and situational variables. Within their study, prejudice scores increase or decrease depending on the situational manipulation (computerized social threat scenario) and on personality variables (Big Five factors openness and agreeableness, social dominance scale, and right wing authoritarianism scale) (Akrami, Ekehammar, Bergh, Dahlstrand, & Malmsten, 2009). This result suggests that personality traits influencing sexism should be further researched.

The moral foundations theory (MFT), a pluralist approach to the study of morality, proposes that several innate and universally available psychological systems are the foundations of "intuitive ethics" and gives an indication of how other people should be treated (Graham et al., 2013). This theory assesses an individual's belief on individuals harming/unfairly treating other individuals and is comprised of five foundations (Graham, et al., 2011). Specifically, the respective dimensions of MFT are as follows: (1) care/harm, (2) fairness, (3) ingroup, (4) authority, and (5) purity (Graham et al., 2013). The care/harm dimension assesses the degree to which someone cherishes or protects others. The extent to which someone may value the trait of caring versus valuing the trait of harm often varies by culture (Graham et al., 2013). Next, the fairness dimension assesses beliefs on justice. Third, ingroup dimension assesses the feeling of belonging within a group, family, or nation and helps individuals facilitate group cohesion. Fourth, the authority dimension assesses the degree to which someone submits to tradition and legitimate authority. This dimension also regulates hierarchies within social groups and social order, which could make the dimension extremely indicative of sexism and gender roles. Social inequality and hierarchies allow for the perpetuation of sexist behavior, making the MFT authority dimension naturally predictive of sexism (Vecina & Piñuela, 2017). Lastly, the purity dimension assesses the degree to which someone detests physical or spiritual contamination (Graham et al., 2013). Specifically, in this study, the purity dimension was assumed to be important because of its assessment of abhorrence of disgusting actions, which could encompass sexism attitudes (Vecina, 2017). In a study by Vecina and Piñuela (2017), benevolent and hostile sexism were positively correlated with moral foundations. Due to the sample population of their study (domestic violence convicts), they suggested that further research should be conducted using a more diverse population. Their correlations indicate that sexism is deeply rooted in moral foundations.

I also assessed traits such as compassion and altruism. Altruism and compassion strongly reflect personal beliefs on how other people should be treated. Altruism occurs when an individual benefits from helping another individual through self-sacrificial actions (Fultz & Schafer, 2013). Similar to altruism, compassion occurs when an individual strives to relieve the pain or misery of another individual out of empathy and is considered a strong, desirable virtue (Rohland, 2015). There has been little research on the relationship between sexism and empathic traits (Garaigordobil, 2014). Some research indicates that compassion can be a predictor of benevolent sexism, as compassion can elicit a response to help women who are seen as vulnerable and in need (Hideg & Ferris, 2016). A high score on the compassion scale could indicate a higher susceptibility to sexist attitudes, as benevolent sexists believe that they should treat women differently based on women's weaker abilities. On the other hand, it can be argued that a low score on the compassion scale can also be a predictor of hostile sexism (Hideg & Ferris, 2016). For example, research by Garaigordobil (2014) has indicated that there is a contradictory difference in the relationship between global capacity for empathy and hostile sexism and global capacity for empathy and benevolent sexism. Their findings indicate that participants who scored high in hostile sexism scored low on global capacity for empathy, while participants who scored high on benevolent sexism also scored high on global capacity for empathy. These results show an interesting contrast between two forms of sexism and a need for further research of different forms of empathy, such as compassion and altruism. Further research on traits, such as compassion and altruism, and their connection to sexism is necessary.

Sexism is a familiar concept in the workplace, politics, classroom, and even at home (Verniers & Vala, 2018; Romaniuk, 2015; Stevens and Martell, 2016; Eek & Axmon, 2015). The prevalence of sexism is still at an alarming level despite the modernity of today's culture (Ibraeva & Kalizhanova, 2016; Rodino-Colocino, 2018). The primary purpose of this study was to determine a relationship between sexism and religiosity, select personality traits (i.e., openness to experience and agreeableness), moral foundations theory, and forms of sexism. Several hypotheses will be tested in this study. The following hypotheses were evaluated:

H1: Agreeableness will be negatively related to hostile sexism.
H2: Openness will be negatively related to hostile sexism.
H3: Altruism will be negatively related to hostile sexism.
H4: Compassion will be negatively related to hostile sexism.
H5a: High levels of benevolent sexism will be positively related to ingroup.
H5b: High levels of benevolent sexism will be positively related to purity
H5c: High levels of benevolent sexism will be positively related to authority.
H6: Hostile sexism will not be related to moral foundations theory dimensions.

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