Ambivalence Toward Men: Comparing Sexism Among Polish,
South African and British University Students
Magdalena Zawisza & Russell Luyt &
Anna Maria Zawadzka
Published online: 11 January 2012
# Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2012
Abstract This study extends the literature on attitudes toward
gender roles by exploring whether the nature of sexism (i.e.,
benevolence and hostility directed at men) differs among
university students from two under-researched countries,
Poland (n0190) and South Africa (n0188), in a comparison
with students in the United Kingdom (n0166). Based on
empirical literature applying Ambivalent Sexism Theory,
and in the light of the socio-political context, it was hypothesized
that: (1) both hostile and benevolent attitudes toward
men in Poland would be more liberal than in South Africa and
more conservative than in the United Kingdom, and (2),
women would exhibit more hostile but less benevolent attitudes
than men in relatively more conservative South Africa.
The Ambivalence to Men Inventory was used to measure the
two types of sexist attitudes about men. Findings supported
the first hypothesis for hostile attitudes and partially for benevolent
attitudes. South African and Polish students were
more benevolent and hostile to men than British students, and
students from South Africa were more hostile than those from
Poland. Moreover, as predicted, a significant country-bygender
interaction revealed that South African women had
more hostile and less benevolent attitudes to men than South
African men. No such gender gap was present in the case of
hostile attitudes in Poland and benevolent attitudes in the
United Kingdom. Findings are discussed in terms of Ambivalent
Sexism Theory and the countries’ socio-cultural context.
Keywords Ambivalent sexism . Gender attitudes . Poland .
United Kingdom . South Africa
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