Still stereotyping after all these years

Women who work in traditionally male professions aren’t seen as being as warm but the effect is neutralised when people find they are mothers or their behaviour is seen as feminine.

In 3 experimental studies, the authors tested the idea that penalties women incur for success in traditionally male areas arise from a perceived deficit in nurturing and socially sensitive communal attributes that is implied by their success . . . . Results indicated that the negativity directed at successful female managers-in ratings of likability, interpersonal hostility, and boss desirability-was mitigated when there was indication that they were communal . . . these penalties were averted when communality was conveyed by role information (motherhood status) or by behaviour (Study 3). These findings support the idea that penalties for women’s success in male domains result from the perceived violation of gender-stereotypic prescriptions.

I wonder how men in these professions are regarded when it comes to warmth?

Do misconceptions based on gender work both ways so men in traditionally female occupations are regarded as weaker in what might be regarded as masculine traits?

If so why we are still gender stereotyping after all these years?

The idea that women in positions of authority are less feminine and men in nurturing roles less masculine is antediluvian.

When men were hunters and women stayed back in the cave to look after the children there were good reasons for differences in masculine and feminine traits.

But now we’re in the 21st century isn’t it time we got over penalising people for perceptions about gender-based character traits and behaviour?


7 Responses to Still stereotyping after all these years

  1. Andrei says:

    Do misconceptions based on gender work both ways so men in traditionally female occupations are regarded as weaker in what might be regarded as masculine traits?

    You know as well as I do that a male kindergarten teacher would be considered with suspicion by both males and females

    Men and women think differently, their brains are wired differently.

    I don’t here any feminist winging about the fact that every single on of the Pike River dead were male – to the last man.

    And despite nonsensical blather from that stupid Human Rights Commissioner (female) that it is unfair that women don’t make it as infantry officers I’ll guarantee you that there wasn’t a woman in New Zealand in December 1943 who felt they were being excluded by not having to slug it up the spine of Italy in the mud rain and snow, getting their arms, legs and heads blown off in the process.

    Let’s get real here all this is about is getting bossy britches women in to positions of authority so they can pass bossy britches laws about what we are allowed to eat, smoke and drink..

    Life in 21st century NZ is like living in a perpetual kindergarten, run by kindergarten teachers, which it is.



  2. homepaddock says:

    Andrei – you come across on your blog and in comments as a loving, caring father. That doesn’t make you less masculine yet some see those as soft or feminine traits.

    Men and women are different but classifying and judging them by stereotype does a disservice to both.


  3. Andrei says:

    Everybody gender stereotypes Ele – that is why crusher Collins (a female) wants to crush BOY racers cars


  4. homepaddock says:

    Everybody doing it doesn’t make it right.


  5. Andrei says:

    Is compassion necessarily a feminine trait?

    A loving Father yes but when it came down to a grazed knee or a bloody nose can guess who the preferred parent was? On the other hand a bicycle with a flat tyre …..

    Nobody wrote those rules it just fell out that way.

    The “gender is a social construct” post modern idea is a designed to favour middle class women who want a career. It actually disadvantages poorer women and men.

    That’s ok though NZ universities are churning out female law graduates who either spend their entire life in the rat race, succeeding or failing (in which case it is antediluvian sexism to blame ) or bail to raise a child or two if they can find a man.

    Mind you professional middle class women who want a child are increasingly turning to “reproductive technology” to achieve it because they have left the run too late and have long since repelled potential life partners with their entitlement mentality.


  6. homepaddock says:

    I don’t think compassion is a uniquely feminine trait, Andrei.


  7. ZenTiger says:

    Why limit this to just gender stereo-typing?

    There’s stereotyping going on based on age, religion, job (try lawyers, salespeople and priests), dress, mental disability, physical disability, facial expression, height, hair colour, body shape, ethnicity, race, political stance and so on.

    It’s the other side of our innate instinct to evaluate and assess people and the environment and form opinions on what others may do, or how they may react to us.

    This is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Stereo-typing is based on some sort of perceived pattern – some level of experience, although that doesn’t mean it’s correct.

    Experience (wisdom) will hopefully tell us that stereotyping generally falls down in terms of applying it to a specific situation or person, because things most often don’t fit the stereotype when in an individual context.

    And like many things in life, it seems to me one needs to think just as hard about what action is suggested to end stereotyping to ensure the cure isn’t as bad as the problem.

    The study above is kind of saying “the more people learned about a person’s life the more they might change their initial impressions about them.” Well, no surprises there. Because whilst we discover career women may not have sacrificed the family life after all to get to the top, we may also discover the male boss who lives for his work happens to be a week-end rotarian or community volunteer. In most cases, stereotyping cuts both ways.


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