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Self-silencing in Response to
Sexist Behavior: Exploring Women's
Willingness to Confront Sexism

By Marie Sabbagh, Tess Hare, Erika Wheelhouse, and Holly McFarland | Mentor: Dr. Erin Murdoch


Despite these limitations, this study is a critical step in identifying the confusion surrounding confrontation of sexism. In all of its forms, sexism has an undeniable psychological impact upon recipients. Increased anger, anxiety, and discomfort are often reported by those who have experienced prejudicial behavior, and those who confront sexist remarks report higher satisfaction about how they coped with the incident. A majority of women claim they would not remain silent when faced with derogatory remarks, but our study joins others in demonstrating that this is not factual and that women themselves do not understand why they confront, how they confront, or even if they confronted sexist behavior. Just under half of women (46%) report confronting sexism at some point in their past (Ayers et al. 2009). Finding ways to identify and increase confronting behavior will not only initiate a shift in social norms but will also improve the psychological welfare of women in general.

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