Self-Silencing to Sexism

Janet K. Swim, Kristen M. Eyssell, Erin Quinlivan Murdoch, Melissa J. Ferguson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

47 Scopus citations


Women's endorsement of beliefs that prioritize others' voices over their own (i.e., self-silencing beliefs) predicted behaviorally self-silenced to everyday, interpersonal forms of sexism. Self-silencing beliefs, which are consistent with prescriptive gender roles for women, indicate that one should avoid conflict in relationships, put others needs over one's own, accept a discrepancy between one's personal and public self, and judge one's behaviors by external standards. Results from a diary study indicate that the more U.S. college women endorsed self-silencing beliefs the less likely they wanted to respond to sexist incidents and, if they wanted to respond to incidents, the more they verbally restrained their responses to everyday sexism and other stressful incidents. The results suggest that, when addressing women's tendency to self-silence to incidents, one should address women's gender-role consistent beliefs about how they should behave in interpersonal interactions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)493-507
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Social Issues
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Social Sciences


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