Erin A. Brady, Christina A. Indriolo, Caitlin M. Lenze, Bridget K. O'Mera, Carrie R. Underwood



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This current research explores whether benevolent sexism can serve as an evolutionarily advantageous strategy for females to attract mates. Benevolent sexism refers to a type of sexism (i.e. gender-based discrimination) that is considered to be positive in nature due to its focus on protecting and placing women 'on a pedestal.' However, benevolent sexism is damaging to women on a societal level because it reiterates masculine dominance. Research shows that men endorse benevolent sexism because it confirms existing social hierarchies. While women do not support hostile or aggressive forms of sexism that are overtly disparaging, women do endorse benevolent sexism because they believe it provides interpersonal benefits, although it is indeed marginalizing. The present study seeks to examine whether women endorse benevolent sexism during times of peak ovulation as a way to attract a potential mate. Past research has shown that when women are ovulating, they alter their behavior to conform and appeal to men's expectations. Research has also shown that, when ovulating, women spend more time altering their appearance to ostensibly attract a potential mate. In the present study, ovulation and endorsement of benevolent sexism will be measured to determine if benevolent sexism is a behavioral modification women adopt to attract a mate. The amount of time spent on appearance will be measured to determine if appearance mediates the relation between ovulation and benevolent sexism. The anticipated results predict that, in an effort to attract a mate, women will spend more time altering their appearance to look more pleasing to a mate when they are most fertile, and this will lead to an increase in endorsement of benevolent sexism.

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Project Designation

Graduate Research

Primary Advisor

Erin O'Mara

Primary Advisor's Department



Stander Symposium project

Is Chivalry Really Dead? It Depends on When You Ask: Women's Reception of Benevolent Sexism Changes Across the Menstrual Cycle