6 types of sexism, examples, and their impact

Sexism is prejudice or discrimination based mostly on an individual’s intercourse or gender. It can result in a variety of dangerous behaviors, from acts of violence to delicate feedback that reinforce stereotypes.

All manifestations of sexism are dangerous and have a damaging affect on society. Women are most severely affected, however sexism additionally impacts folks of different marginalized genders. Less straight, it additionally harms males.

In this text, we describe the various kinds of sexism and provides some examples that individuals could generally encounter.

Sexism is prejudice or discrimination in opposition to an individual or group based mostly on their intercourse or gender. It primarily impacts ladies and ladies, and it’s the root cause of gender inequity worldwide.

Sexist acts embody any that body one intercourse or gender as inferior. Sexism could be conveyed in:

  • conduct
  • speech
  • writing
  • photos
  • gestures
  • legal guidelines and insurance policies
  • practices and traditions

Learn the difference between sex and gender.

People categorize sexism in a number of methods. Sexism could be:

  • hostile
  • benevolent
  • ambivalent

These phrases come from the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, a framework that researchers use to know and measure the consequences of this prejudice.

Sexism can function on totally different ranges in society. It could be:

  • institutional
  • interpersonal
  • internalized

The following sections describe all these sexism in additional element.

This refers to beliefs and behaviors which are brazenly hostile towards a gaggle of individuals based mostly on their intercourse or gender. Misogyny, or the hatred of girls, is an instance of hostile sexism.

People who maintain views which are hostile and sexist could view ladies as:

  • manipulative
  • deceitful
  • able to utilizing seduction to regulate males
  • needing to be saved of their place

These views may additionally apply to anybody with female traits and anybody who expresses their gender in a method that’s related to femininity.

People who perpetuate hostile sexism wish to protect males’s dominance over ladies and other people of different marginalized genders. They usually oppose gender equality and may additionally oppose LGBTQIA+ rights, seeing this stuff as a menace to males and the programs that profit them.


Hostile sexism is harmful. According to 2019 research, it’s a threat issue for sexual harassment and gender-based violence.

A 2015 study discovered that males who endorsed hostile sexism have been extra more likely to be bodily abusive towards their companions, with alcohol use — one other widespread threat issue — having much less of an impact on charges of intimate companion violence amongst this group. This means that hostile sexism is a robust driver of abuse in relationships.

A 2019 study in Indonesia additionally discovered a optimistic hyperlink between hostile sexism and sexual assault. People who endorsed hostile sexism have been extra more likely to consider in “rape myths” that place the blame for sexual assault on the sufferer, not the perpetrator.


Examples of hostile sexism embody:

  • utilizing sexist language or insults
  • making threatening or aggressive feedback based mostly on an individual’s gender or intercourse
  • harassing or threatening somebody for defying gender norms, on-line or offline
  • treating folks as subordinates based mostly on their intercourse or gender and punishing them once they “step out of line”
  • believing that some victims of sexual assault “ask for it” because of their conduct or clothes
  • participating in bodily or sexual assault

Benevolent sexism contains views and behaviors that body ladies as:

  • harmless
  • pure
  • caring and nurturing
  • fragile and in want of safety
  • lovely

A 2020 study involving members within the United States and United Kingdom discovered that individuals who believed in humanity’s dominance over nature and who noticed ladies as being extra intently linked with nature than males have been extra more likely to exhibit benevolent sexism.


In comparability to hostile sexism, benevolent sexism could be much less apparent. It is a more socially accepted type and is more likely to be endorsed by women and men. However, regardless of its identify, such a sexism just isn’t actually benevolent.

While benevolent sexism applies some optimistic traits to ladies and femininity, it nonetheless frames one intercourse or gender as weaker than one other. These concepts can result in insurance policies and behaviors that restrict an individual’s company, or the flexibility of somebody to make their very own selections.

For instance, the 2020 study discovered that males who endorsed benevolent sexism have been extra more likely to help insurance policies that restrict the freedoms of pregnant ladies. Benevolent sexism additionally undermines girls’ confidence in themselves and their talents.


Some examples of benevolent sexism embody:

  • basing a girl’s worth on her function as a mom, spouse, or girlfriend
  • focusing consideration and reward on somebody’s look moderately than their different attributes
  • believing that individuals shouldn’t do issues for themselves, equivalent to handle cash or drive a automotive, due to their gender
  • assuming that an individual is a nurse, assistant, or secretary — not a physician, govt, or supervisor — based mostly on their gender
  • supporting insurance policies that make it tough for girls to work, have independence, or deviate from conventional gender roles

This is a mix of benevolent and hostile sexism. People who interact in ambivalent sexism could differ between seeing ladies pretty much as good, pure, and harmless and seeing them as manipulative or deceitful, relying on the state of affairs.

Some researchers argue that hostile and benevolent sexism help each other as a part of a system.

Benevolent sexism presents ladies safety in alternate for them adopting a extra subordinate function, whereas hostile sexism targets those that deviate from this. For this purpose, some discuss with the previous as “Plan A” and the latter as “Plan B.”

Some examples of ambivalent sexism embody:

  • glorifying historically female conduct and demonizing “unladylike” conduct, in media protection, for instance
  • hiring somebody as a result of they’re engaging, then firing them if they don’t reply to sexual advances
  • differentiating between “good” ladies and “dangerous” ladies based mostly on how they costume

This refers to sexism that’s entrenched in organizations and establishments, such as:

  • the federal government
  • the authorized system
  • the schooling system
  • the healthcare system
  • monetary establishments
  • the media
  • different workplaces

When insurance policies, procedures, attitudes, or legal guidelines create or reinforce sexism, that is institutional sexism.

Institutional sexism is widespread. It could be hostile, benevolent, or ambivalent. One of the clearest indicators is the shortage of gender range amongst political leaders and enterprise executives.

Another indicator is a gender pay hole. This refers to a distinction within the common pay that ladies and men obtain for comparable work. In the U.S., based on the Bureau of Labor Statistics, a girl earns 82 cents for each greenback {that a} man earns. Overall, ladies earn lower than males in nearly each occupation.

This hole is wider for girls with kids and for Black, Latina, Indigenous, Asian, and Pacific Islander ladies.

This manifests throughout interactions with others. It can happen within the office, inside relationships, amongst members of the family, and in interactions with strangers.

Examples of interpersonal sexism embody:

  • telling somebody to be extra ladylike
  • judging somebody for not becoming into stereotypes of femininity, equivalent to by being caring or submissive
  • making inappropriate feedback about somebody’s look
  • speaking all the way down to somebody based mostly on assumptions about their gender
  • participating in undesirable sexual consideration or touching
  • justifying sexist conduct by saying “boys will likely be boys”

Internalized sexism refers to sexist beliefs that an individual has about themselves. Usually, an individual adopts these beliefs involuntarily because of publicity to sexist conduct or the opinions of others.

Internalized sexism could trigger emotions of:

  • incompetence
  • self-doubt
  • powerlessness
  • disgrace

It additionally causes folks to unintentionally collude with sexism.

Research means that the lower rate of girls working in science, expertise, engineering, and arithmetic could also be because of internalized sexism. Studies have proven that sexist stereotypes have an effect on educational efficiency. As many consider that boys are higher than ladies at math and science, this might trigger a insecurity.

Some different examples of internalized sexism embody:

  • making self-deprecating jokes about one’s gender, equivalent to “blonde jokes”
  • somebody basing their self-worth on how fascinating they’re within the eyes of males
  • feeling ashamed of facets of being feminine, equivalent to having intervals or feminine genitalia
  • feeling that it’s important to adapt to gender beliefs, even when this implies harming oneself, by way of restrictive weight-reduction plan, for instance

There are many varieties of sexism. This prejudice and discrimination could be hostile and overt or seemingly benevolent and extra subtly dangerous.

Many countries that think about themselves to be tolerant as an alternative perpetuate a mix of sorts, forming a system of ambivalent sexism.

All varieties of sexism are dangerous to the well being of society. To cease sexism, it’s essential to know the way it manifests after which to problem sexist attitudes and practices in any respect ranges — from the inner to the institutional.

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