The 2016 election sexism studies used the Modern Sexism Scale. The Modern Sexism Scale (MSS) attempts to test for resentment toward women through questions about feminism and women in the workplace. Here are the five statements from the MSS that the Blair Center Poll asked its sample to assess:
- Many women are actually seeking special favors, such as hiring policies that favor them over men, under the guise of asking for “equality.”
- Most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist.
- Feminists are seeking for women to have more power than men.
- When women lose to men in a fair competition, they typically complain about being discriminated against.
- Discrimination against women is no longer a problem in the United States.
The respondents to the poll ranked their responses to these statements on a scale from “strongly disagree” to “strongly agree.” The researchers classified respondents as “sexist,” “neutral,” or “nonsexist,” based on their overall scores.
The bad news: We’re all pretty sexist, men, women, whites, blacks, hispanics, you name it. A total of 36.2 percent of the entire sample—male, female, Democrat, Republican, black, white, Latino—answered in such a way as to be classified as “sexist.” Meanwhile, 16.7 percent were “neutral.” (And if you look at those statements, it becomes clear that anybody who gives a “neutral” response to them is actually probably fairly sexist.)
However, It’s important to note that the numbers don’t break down cleanly along gender lines. Only 41.2 percent of the male sample responded in a nonsexist way while 52.5 percent of women did. That means almost half of the female respondents in the sample appear to hold negative views of feminism and working women. (Don’t forget: 53 percent of white female voters went for Trump in 2016. Anti-feminism—which, as historian Marjorie Spruill points out, grew in tandem with feminism in the 1970s—is strong.)