ERIC Number: ED223940
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1982-Aug
Gender and Social Roles: A Distributional Theory of Gender Stereotypes.
Eagly, Alice H.; And Others
In applying a social structural analysis of stereotyping to people's beliefs about gender, two issues must be confronted: (1) What is the content of stereotypes about men and women? and (2) What are the major differences in the ways that men and women are distributed into social roles? In part, the distribution of females and males into social roles in society explains why women are oriented to expressive (social-emotional) goals and men are oriented to instrumental (task-oriented) goals. To account for the expressive and instrumental aspects of gender stereotypes in terms of sex differences in status, it was hypothesized that those who are higher in hierarchies of status and authority are perceived to be less expressive and more instrumental than those who have lower status positions. It was also hypothesized that the differences people perceive between homemakers and employees parallel the stereotypic differences between men and women. Several experiments, similar in design, were carried out to test these hypotheses. In each experiment subjects read a description of a female or male stimulus person and rated her/him on 18 gender-stereotypic personality attributes. Results of all experiments provided strong support for the social structural analysis of gender stereotypes: the stereotype of male instrumentality and female expressiveness reflected the belief that women and men were differently distributed into homemaker and employee roles. Findings of this research suggest that those sex differences most salient in stereotypes about gender stem from the differing roles women and men play in daily life. (PAS)
Publication Type: Reports - Research; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Convention of the American Psychological Association (90th, Washington, DC, August 23-27, 1982).