Gender Stereotypes:

Gender Stereotypes:
Gender stereotypes consist of beliefs about the gendered nature of:
 Psychological traits
 Characteristics
 Activities
Roles are interpreted in light of stereotypes that direct us to perceive roles that reinforce
Historical/Theological bases for Stereotypes:
 Stereotype Threat—appearing to reflect “negative” attributes of a stereotype
 Grounded in “Cult of True Womanhood”
 Piety
 Purity
 Submissiveness
 Domesticity
 Masculinities
 Coarse
 Strong
 Wise
 Forceful
 Active
 Independent
Doctrine of two spheres
 Males and females were not only different as individuals but were expected to
occupy different spaces in society; men’s, women’s roles, interests, activities, and
attributes are divergent.
 Pg. 155
 No sissy stuff—no fear (2000 study of basal reading series indicates that boys are
still portrayed this way)
 The big wheel
 Sturdy oak
 Give ‘em hell
Pleck—Gender Role Strain—
 the tension between traditional male roles and the role “he” wants can create
stress given a highly stereotyped society (feminine male)
e.g. close/intimate vs. no sissy stuff and sturdy oak
Connell—hegemonic masculinity—
 culturally sanctioned masculine roles become the standard for goodness and
Development of Gender Stereotypes
 First step—undifferentiated (infancy but others differentiate—pink/blue)
Gender Labeling (>6years)—this allows children to begin to differentiate genders
based on a set of expectations
 Second (>6years)—children begin to make gender assignments to children whose
interests were like their own….Martin, Wood, & Little (1990)—they likely come
to understand their own gender roles before they understand others’ roles
 Finally (<6 years)Development progresses from labeling, to understanding selfstereotype, to understanding other-stereotype, to being able to make gender
Illusory correlations (Meehan & Junik, 1990)—
 when we see something that conforms to a stereotype we make attributions for all
in the class; exceptions are not retained
Durkin & Nugent (1998)
 as children age and experience stereotypes, they have less of an impact on broad
samples of individuals. However, men’s roles are much more stereotypical than
females; It is o.k. for a woman to act out men’s roles but not for men to act out
women’s roles
Powlishta (2000)—
 Children and adults attribute stereotypic characteristics to women and men,
children and adults
 Overall, there is a reluctance to attribute feminine attributes to men;
 There is a tendency to associate being feminine with being childlike
Hall & Carter (1999)
 Those who are most likely to stereotype:
o Cognitively rigid
o Need structure
o Likely to ascribe to extreme traits
 Those who are least likely to stereotype
o Cognitively flexible
o Seeks discrepant information
o Seeks knowledge of individuals, not groups
o Develops first-hand knowledge in lieu of hearsay
o Tends to monitor and “see” one’s environment—social cues
 Therefore: Sensitivity to one’s environment and being cognitively receptive
leads to more accurate information regarding individuals
Hoffman & Hurst (1990)
o Given information about group occupations, individuals tend to attribute
personality/gender traits…circumstances/environmental conditions less
impact than stereotypes
Other factors: Power/Control-- Fiske (1993) & Fiske and colleagues—
o Powerless attend to powerful to understand motives and behaviors and
predict “next step”—this reflects environmental sensitivity ala Hall and
o Powerful need not attend to powerless because predicting their behaviors
is less important so, stereotyping is more likely and adaptive
o Tendency is to use group norms to make inferences about individuals
without attending to individual differences
o The stereotype in itself is an assertion of power
o Prejudice—negative evaluation of group
o Discrimination—behavior that separates one group from another and
typically from reward systems
o Sexism
 Hostile sexism—views that create negative responses (exclusion;
 Benevolent sexism—views that tend to create patronage
Deaux & Lewis Contents of Gender Stereotypes—
o Traits
o Behaviors
o Physical Characteristics
o Occupations
o Given gender labels, people tend to construct a representation about an individual
that conforms to traits, behaviors, physical charac., and occupations
o Physical appearance led to attributions about traits, behav’s, and occupations
o Given information in one domain, inferences about other domains are made
o Differences and attributions are NOT discrete but probabilistic. So, we might say
that men are less likely (.46) than women (.67) to be nurturing…..not that they
can’t be nurturing…
Over the past 40+ years, women’s rated favoritism has increased (Feingold, 1998)
Spence & Hahn (1997) voer 25-30 years, attitude toward women has become more
BUT: men still stereotype more rigidly
Heilman & Chen (2005)
 Hypothesis 1: engaging in altruistic citizenship behavior will enhance men’s
performance evaluations and reward recommendations but will not affect those of
 Hypothesis 2: withholding altruistic citizenship behavior will be detrimental to
women’s performance evaluations and reward recommendations but will not
affect those of men.
 Independent variables:
o Sex of “target” employee—male/female
o Altruistic citizenship behavior—report on episode in which the employee
either performed or did not perform altruistic behavior: need to make
copies and a male or female target either helped or did not help. A control
condition of no information was also presented
Dependent variables:
o Performance evaluation—rating of employee performance over the last
year and prospective assessment of likelihood of success.
o Reward recommendation—salary increase, promotion, bonus pay, etc)
o Attribute rating—competence and interpersonal civility
o Performance rating: Target sex X Altruism interaction
 No difference in males’ performance rating across help/not help
levels of altruism
 Men rated higher than women in helping condition
 Women’s ratings no difference in helping and no information
 Across helping and withholding help, males rated higher than
o Reward recommendations: Target sex X altruism interaction
 In no help condition, there was no difference in recommendations
for males but in the no help condition, women were rated
significantly lower than in the helping condition
 In help condition males significantly higher than females
Interpretations: males are less likely to be penalized for withholding help and
women are more likely to be penalized.
Men stereotyped more negatively by women but those judgements are typically based on
individual experiences—ala Hall & Carter—sensitivity to one’s environment
Bidirectional on a singular dimension (M------------F)
Unidimensional for two genders (Masc: hi---------lo; Fem hi--------lo)
MMPI—male heterosexual vs. male homosexual as standard for
Bem—Sex Role Inventory—Culturally identified attributes
Masculine, feminine, androgynous, undifferentiated
Problem: based on culturally defined, not theory
More recent—based on instrumentality vs. expressiveness or agentic/communal
Lewin (1984) Tests measure socially accepted stereotypic attributes and behaviors
not theoretically driven constructs…….
Cross culturally—boys typically have more freedom than girls….
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