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Why Do Women Endorse Honor Beliefs? Ambivalent Sexism and Religiosity as Predictors

2016-12-01
Glick, Peter
Sakallı, Nuray
Akbas, Gulcin
Orta, Irem Metin
Ceylan, Suzan
Cultures of honor, such as Turkey, prioritize defending individual and family reputations, but in gender-specific ways (Nisbett and Cohen 1996). Men maintain honor via reputations for toughness, aggression, control over women, and avenging insults. Women maintain honor through obedience to men, sexual modesty, and religious piety. Honor beliefs support women's subordination, justifying violence against them (Sev'er and Yurdakul, Violence against Women, 7, 964-998, 2001) and therefore should be challenged. Understanding honor beliefs' ideological correlates may inform such efforts. We hypothesized that benevolent sexism, a subjectively favorable system-justifying ideology, would more strongly, positively predict Turkish women's (versus men's) honor beliefs; whereas hostile sexism, which is openly antagonistic toward women, would more strongly, positively predict Turkish men's (versus women's) honor beliefs. Additionally, due to justifications for gender inequality embedded in Islamic religious teachings, we expected Islamic religiosity to positively predict honor beliefs for both genders. A convenience sample of Turkish undergraduates (313 women and 122 men) in Ankara completed the Ambivalent Sexism Inventory, Religious Orientation Scale, and Honor Endorsement Index. Regression analyses revealed that benevolent (but not hostile) sexism positively predicted women's honor beliefs, whereas hostile (but not benevolent) sexism positively predicted men's honor beliefs. Islamic religiosity positively predicted honor beliefs for both genders, but (unexpectedly) did so more strongly for men than women. We suggest that combating benevolent sexism and promoting feminist interpretations of Islamic religiosity may help to empower Turkish women to challenge honor beliefs.