Chivalry and the moderating effect of ambivalent sexism: Individual differences in crime seriousness judgments

Sergio Herzog*, Shaul Oreg

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

63 Scopus citations

Abstract

Previous studies have shown that female offenders frequently receive more lenient judgments than equivalent males. Chivalry theories argue that such leniency is the result of paternalistic, benevolent attitudes toward women, in particular toward those who fulfill stereotypical female roles. Yet to date, studies have not examined whether such leniency is indeed associated with paternalistic societal attitudes toward women. The present study goes beyond the investigation of demographics and employs Glick and Fiske's (1996) concepts of hostile and benevolent sexism. We use these concepts to highlight the role of individual differences in attitudes toward women as a key to our understanding of lenient attitudes toward female offenders. Eight hundred forty respondents from a national sample of Israeli residents evaluated the seriousness of hypothetical crime scenarios with (traditional and nontraditional) female and male offenders. As hypothesized, hostile and benevolent sexism moderate the effect of women's "traditionality" on respondents' crime seriousness judgments and on the severity of sentences assigned.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)45-74
Number of pages30
JournalLaw and Society Review
Volume42
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Mar 2008
Externally publishedYes

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