Excuse Me - What Did You Just Say?! Women's Public and Private Responses to Sexist Remarks

Janet K. Swim, Lauri L. Hyers

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

227 Scopus citations


Two studies illustrate women's struggle between their desire to challenge sexism and the social pressures and costs that lead to not publicly responding. In Study 1, 45% of the women confronted a man who made a sexist remark and only 15% did so directly. Confronting was most likely to be chosen by women actively committed to fighting sexism in their daily lives. Private responses illustrate that a lack of responding was not necessarily indicative of complacency about the remarks or a lack of thoughts about confronting. The results from Studies 1 and 2 reveal that diffusion of responsibility, normative pressures to not respond, social pressures to be polite, and concern about retaliation likely suppressed responding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-88
Number of pages21
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1999


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science

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