Know someone with a robust sense of entitlement? Chances are they’re nursing some unhealthy sexist tendencies—whether they’re men or women.
A study published in Sex Roles has found that psychological entitlement predicts sexism in both men and women—however, men tend towards hostile sexism, and women tend towards benevolent sexism.
So what’s “psychological entitlement”? Well, it’s related to narcissism. Someone with pronounced psychological entitlement might inconvenience others without thinking by constantly bailing on plans, expect people to be more interested in you than you are in them, or happily cut in line because you need to be somewhere more quickly (see more examples here, along with ways to solve the problem). Psychologists can measure levels of psychological entitlement with simple surveys (here’s a half-assed one), which is exactly what these researchers did, surveying both a group of undergraduates (333 of them) and a group of adults from across the US (437 in that one). A sense of entitlement ended up being a “robust predictor” of sexist attitudes (also measured by survey), with one key difference between men and women.
Men are far more likely to exhibit hostile sexism—thinking of women as manipulative or untrustworthy. Know a guy who “gets friend-zoned” by “virtually every woman he knows”, because “women only date jerks anyway”? And then he whines in our comments section? There’s your hostile sexism.
Women with a sense of entitlement, on the other hand, are more likely to exhibit benevolent sexism—that is, demanding that men take care of them because they think of themselves as weak or frail. Ever met a women who refers to her husband’s income as “our money” but her income as “her money”, or the chronically-single thirty-something with a laundry list of personal flaws insisting that she’s “waiting for Prince Charming”? There’s your benevolent sexism.
So, entitlement cuts negatively both ways—and according to one of the study’s authors, Joshua Grubbs, things might be getting worse: “When you consider that entitlement has been shown to be rising across recent generations, linking it to sexist attitudes is particularly alarming. Recent events certainly highlight how dangerous entitlement and hostile sexism can be in men. Furthermore, given that benevolent sexism can also produce gender inequality, these findings for women are also concerning.”