Stereotypes about children with traditional and nontraditional gender roles

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73 Scopus citations


Two studies were done to assess different aspects of gender stereotypes about traditional and nontraditional girls and boys. In Study 1, 81 undergraduates (57 females, 24 males; 88% Caucasian, 12% Asian) rated the typicality and desirability of 25 personality traits and behaviors for boys and girls. Analyses showed that this sample believed that typical girls and boys differ on 24 out of the 25 behaviors and traits. There were fewer differences when they rated the desirability of the characteristics for each sex. In Study 2, 154 undergraduates (97 females, 57 males, 82% Caucasian, 18% Asian) estimated the percentage of occurrence of 26 traits and behaviors in traditional and nontraditional girls and boys (i.e., tomboys and sissies). These estimates were used to determine two aspects of stereotypes: the characteristics that are perceived to occur most often in a group and the characteristics that are particularly distinctive for a group. Again, stereotypes of girls and boys were found to be extensive. Percentage estimates, however, illustrated that stereotypes are probabilistic in that many boys and girls are believed to have both masculine and feminine characteristics. Stereotypes of nontraditional children were compared to stereotypes of traditional children. Analyses showed that tomboys were stereotyped similarly to traditional boys but sissies were not stereotyped similarly to traditional girls. Instead, the sissy stereotype was found to be very narrow. The advantage of using a variety of assessments methods is discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)727-751
Number of pages25
JournalSex Roles
Issue number11-12
StatePublished - Dec 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gender Studies
  • Social Psychology
  • Developmental and Educational Psychology


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