Trigger words referencing sexuality: A gender gap?
Undergraduate participants read 10 words associated with sexuality and gender issues, and likely to elicit strong emotional responses, then evaluated them on 1-5 scales measuring negative-positive emotional response, and comfort in hearing them in a virtual class, in a face-to-face class, and comfort in using them in private conversation.Independent sample t tests comparing the responses of self-identified women and men showed that for emotional response, women rated feminist, gender-inclusive, and equality more positively than did men, while men rated fag and sexist less negatively than did women. Women reported feeling significantly more comfortable using feminist and gender-inclusive in private conversation than men did, while men reported feeling less uncomfortable using homo, fag, and butch than women did. Correlated-groups t tests with genders combined showed little difference in comfort depending on where the word was heard, Finally, a factor analysis of the 10 words for emotional response yielded one main factor—related to sexism--with seven items with values higher than .45 or lower than -.45. Items weighted negatively included feminist, gender-inclusive, ally and equality; items weighted positively included fag, sexist, and rape.Future research could include possible covariates with gender, such political views, and the use of a larger set of trigger words, for example, those related to birth control and abortion.
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