Sexism is the subordination of one sex, usually female, based on the assumed superiority of the other sex. Sexism directed at omen has three components: (J) negative attitudes toward women; (2) stereotypical beliefs that reinforce, complement, or justify he prejudice; and (3) discrimination-acts that exclude, distance. or keep women separate (Lott, 1994). Can men be victims of sexism? Although women are
more often the target of sexist remarks and practices, men can be victims of sexist assumptions. According to the social psychologist Hilary M. Lips (2001), an example of sexism directed against men is the mistaken idea that it is more harmful for female soldiers to be killed in battle than male soldiers.
Like racism, sexism is used to justify discriminatory treatment. When women participate in what is considered gender- appropriate endeavors in the workplace, at home, or in leisure activities. they often find that they are the targets of prejudice nd discrimination. Obvious manifestations of sexism are found in he undervaluing of women’s work and in hiring and promotion practices that effectively exclude women from an organization or confine them to the bottom of the organizational hierarchy. Even today, some women who enter nontraditional occupations (such as firefighting and welding) or professions (such as dentistry and architecture) encounter hurdles that men do not face (see “Sociology Works!”). Sexism is interwoven with patriarchy-a hierarchical
system of social organization in which cultural, political, and economic structures are controlled by men. By Contrast. matriarchy s a hierarchical system of social organization in which cultural, political, and economic structures are controlled by women; wever, few (if any) societies have been organized in this manner. Patriarchy is reflected in the way that men may think of heir position as men as a given whereas women may deliberate all what their position in society should be (see Box J 1.2 for an ample). As the sociologist Virginia Cyrus (1993: 6) explains. “Under patriarch)’, men are seen as ‘natural’ heads of households, Presidential candidates, corporate executives, college presidents, etc. Women, on the other hand, are men’s subordinates. playing such supportive roles as housewife, mother, nurse, and secretary:’ Gender inequality