Legalizing Ambivalent Sexism: A Content Analysis of People v. Turner Court Letters
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Gender roles and sexism are two problems that are still being combatted in our society today. This is largely due to a lack of awareness of the many ways that sexism can be presented. These issues have recently been gaining some attention through nationally recognized social movements such as #MeToo and Time’s Up. This thesis is a content analysis of the letters submitted during the People v. Turner sentencing hearing. These letters are analyzed for patterns of ambivalent sexism. Ambivalent sexism is the combination of hostile sexism and benevolent sexism. In order to investigate the prevalence of ambivalent sexism within this legal setting, I reviewed each of the 45 letters submitted to the court using both an inductive and deductive approach. From the analysis of the letters, two themes came to light. This study emphasizes the importance of language. The words that are chosen, either in conversation or in a legal context, play a part in allowing sexism to become normalized and accepted. This is an important study because ambivalent sexism runs rampant throughout society. This issue must be fully understood before we can make strides towards a long-lasting solution. More research should be encouraged in order to raise awareness in the general public and get closer to reaching gender equality in all areas of society.