Routledge Taylor & Francis Group
International Journal for the Psychology of Religion
Behavioral scientists and feminist theologians have long theorized that religions that primarily conceptualize God (and other divine authority figures) as male can legitimatize the social and political authority of men in society, as well as legitimatize and rationalize gender inequality. In the current study, we examined the relationship between gendered God concepts, Gender Specific System Justification and Ambivalent Sexism. In Studies 1 and 2 we found that individuals with male God concepts were higher in Gender Specific System Justification, hostile sexism (Study 1 and 2) and benevolent sexism (Study 2). In Study 3 we explored the causal relationship between gendered God concepts, Gender Specific System Justification and Ambivalent Sexism using a priming manipulation. Results revealed that individuals primed to think about God as male (vs female) were more likely to support the gender status quo. The effects found across all three studies did not differ across participant gender. Both men and women who conceptualized God as male or were primed with a male image of God were higher in Gender Specific System Justification than other gendered conceptualizations of God. Taken together these results suggest that male God concepts may reinforce the gender status quo. Implications, limitations and future research directions are discussed.
Howard, Simon; Oswald, Debra L.; and Kirkman, Mackenzie S., "The Relationship between God’s Gender, Gender System Justification and Sexism" (2020). Psychology Faculty Research and Publications. 523.
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