Dating gender stereotypes
Over the weekend, I got into a debate with some folks about gender roles in dating and relationships. The discussion had all of us analyzing our stances on various things, including who pays for dates, who should be the breadwinner in the relationship, and whether or not it is OK for a woman to propose marriage to her male partner. I will admit that I am a traditionalist on this one. In casual dating, I generally expect that if I am going out with a man, he is going to pay for the date. I always have my own money when I go out, as a rule, but when the check comes, I sit still and allow him to take it. How he handles the check situation will likely play a big role in determining whether or not I will go out with him again.
Yes, Girls Can — And Should — Ask Guys Out
Gender stereotypes have descriptive components, or beliefs about how males and females typically act, as well as prescriptive components, or beliefs about how males and females should act. For example, women are supposed to be nurturing and avoid dominance, and men are supposed to be agentic and avoid weakness. However, it is not clear whether people hold prescriptive gender stereotypes about children of different age groups. In addition, research has not addressed prescriptive gender stereotypes for the elderly.
The current research measured prescriptive gender stereotypes for children, adults, and elderly men and women in 3 studies to a compare how prescriptive gender stereotypes change across age groups and b address whether stereotypes of males are more restrictive than stereotypes of females. Students Studies 1 and 2 and community members Study 3 , which were all U.
The target age groups included toddlers, elementary-aged, adolescent, young adult, adult, and elderly males and females. The list of 21 characteristics was created to encompass traits and behaviors relevant across a wide age range. Results replicated previous research on prescriptive stereotypes for adults: Women should be communal and avoid being dominant.
Men should be agentic, independent, masculine in appearance, and interested in science and technology, but avoid being weak, emotional, shy, and feminine in appearance. Stereotypes of boys and girls from elementary-aged to young adults still included these components, but stereotypes of toddlers involved mainly physical appearance and play behaviors.
Prescriptive stereotypes of elderly men and women were weaker. Overall, boys and men had more restrictive prescriptive stereotypes than girls and women in terms of strength and number. These findings demonstrate the applicability of prescriptive stereotypes to different age groups. Gender stereotypes are both descriptive and prescriptive in nature. That is gender stereotypes have descriptive components, which are beliefs about what men and women typically do.
They also contain strong prescriptive components, or beliefs about what men and women should do Fiske and Stevens, ; Cialdini and Trost, This prescriptive nature is assumed to stem from the high level of contact and interdependence between men and women e. Prescriptive stereotypes can have positive and negative components: These proscriptive stereotypes often involve characteristics that are undesirable in either sex, but are permitted in one sex, while being proscribed for the other.
For example, according to past research Prentice and Carranza, ; Rudman et al. Yet dominance and weakness, which are undesirable, negative traits, are tolerated in men or women, respectively. The current research measures both prescriptive and descriptive gender stereotypes to answer several questions about their content and magnitude. One first basic question is whether gender stereotypes have prescriptive components not only for adult men and women, but for males and females across different age groups, from toddlers to the elderly.
Assuming prescriptive stereotypes exist across these age groups, the current research addresses how both the content and magnitude of prescriptive gender stereotypes changes across age groups. The fact that gender stereotypes are prescriptive is important to our perceptions of men and women because prescriptive stereotypes indicate approved or disapproved behavior. Violations of these prescriptions create strong reactions in perceivers.
Whereas violations of descriptive stereotypes often cause surprise, given the person is not acting how the perceiver thought most men or women act, violations of prescriptive stereotypes create reactions of anger and moral outrage, because the person is not acting as they are supposed to act Rudman and Glick, Thus, descriptive gender stereotypes can lead to prejudice and discrimination based on a perceived incongruency between gender stereotypes and role requirements, and prescriptive stereotypes can also produce prejudice if individuals violate gender norms e.
Specifically, the angry, moral outrage created by the violation of prescriptive stereotypes can lead to backlash, or social or economic penalties for the stereotype violator e. Rudman et al. For example, women who violate prescriptive stereotypes by acting dominant are disliked and therefore less likely to be hired even though they are seen as competent Rudman et al. Men can also be the recipients of backlash when they violate prescriptive stereotypes by lacking agency and showing weakness Moss-Racusin et al.
Because of this backlash effect, prescriptive stereotypes can predict prejudice, even when descriptive stereotypes do not. For example, when male and female targets had equivalent resumes participants' descriptive stereotypes did not predict evaluations of the targets, but prescriptive stereotypes did predict prejudice toward women pursuing masculine roles Gill, Prescriptive stereotypes also create pressures on women and men to act in certain ways, and thus men and women avoid violating stereotypes or hide their non-conforming behavior to avoid penalties, which increases the rate of stereotypical behavior and perpetuates perceivers' stereotypes Prentice and Carranza, ; Rudman and Glick, ; Rudman et al.
Thus, prescriptive stereotypes have important ramifications for behavior. Whether these prescriptive stereotypes are more restrictive for adult men or women is unclear. Much research has investigated backlash toward women, perhaps because women are often held back from high status positions, which is seen as an important discriminatory outcome in society. However, there are several forms of evidence that suggest men's behaviors may be more restricted than women's in adulthood.
For example, although they did not have a direct measure of prescriptive stereotypes, Hort et al. Other evidence for a restrictive male stereotype stems from looking at the outcomes of stereotype violation. According to the status incongruity hypothesis, there are two prescriptive stereotypes that could create backlash for men lacking agency and displaying weakness and only one for women displaying dominance; Rudman et al.
This argument suggests that men are viewed more negatively than women for violating gender norms because men loose status while women gain status with the violation Feinman, ; Sirin et al. In addition, theories about precarious manhood also suggest that men have to publically and repeatedly prove their strength to be called men because manhood is an uncertain, tenuous social status Vandello and Bosson, Even a single feminine or unmanly act could discount a man's status as a man, resulting in avoidance of feminine behaviors.
According to this logic, these pressures may create strong prescriptive stereotypes for men to act agentically and avoid weakness to be considered a man—a pressure that is not as strong for women. Lastly, a sexual orientation perspective also indicates that men would be judged more harshly for feminine behavior than women are for masculine behavior because a men who display feminine behaviors are more likely to be perceived as gay than women who display masculine behavior e.
Given all of these ideas, prescriptive stereotypes may be stronger for men as a way to avoid these negative outcomes of a loss of status, manhood, and perceptions of homosexuality. The current research quantifies prescriptive stereotypes for males and females to assess their content and magnitude and attempts to make comparisons across the stereotypes for males and females. Penalties for stereotype violations also occur for children who act in counterstereotypical ways.
Several studies show that reactions from both child e. This negative reaction toward boys is often stronger in men than women e. Boys also elicit negative reactions for shy behavior, presumably because this behavior violates the male gender role Doey et al. As with adults, boys' behavior may be more restricted because of links between feminine behavior and homosexuality e. These penalties, similar to backlash in the adult literature, suggest that violations of prescriptive stereotypes are at play.
However, the research on children's norm violations does not frame the negative outcomes for counterstereotypical behavior in terms of violations of prescriptive stereotypes. In fact, it is not clear whether people even hold strong prescriptive gender stereotypes about children. In one study that did address prescriptive stereotypes in children, Martin measured both descriptive and prescriptive gender stereotypes by asking adults how typical measuring descriptive stereotypes and how desirable measuring prescriptive stereotypes a list of 25 traits were for 4—7 year old boys or girls.
As Martin predicted, the typicality ratings differed more often than the desirability ratings: The descriptive stereotypes indicated that boys and girls differed on 24 of 25 of the traits, which were selected to contain some masculine, feminine, and neutral items. Yet only 16 of the 25 traits showed sex differences in desirability: Although there were fewer prescriptive than descriptive stereotypes about children in this research, these findings also show that prescriptive gender stereotypes exist for children of elementary-school age in ways that are consistent with adult prescriptive stereotypes.
Although prescriptive stereotypes may exist for younger ages, one could argue that younger people may not be held to as high of a standard for their behavior because they are considered to be more malleable than older targets see Neel and Lassetter, To the extent that children are seen as still learning their gender roles and associated appropriate behaviors, people may be more lenient and prescriptive stereotypes might be weaker. On the other hand, adults' descriptive gender stereotypes of children were stronger than their descriptive stereotypes of adults Powlishta, , and the same effect may apply to prescriptive stereotypes resulting in stronger stereotypes of children.
Thus, the magnitude of prescriptive gender stereotypes for children of different ages and how they compare to adult prescriptive gender stereotypes is unclear. Once males and females are old enough to understand their gender roles, perceivers may be less lax about what is desirable behavior. Not only may older teens be seen as more in charge of their own behavior, but adolescence and young adulthood highlights differences between males and females in ways that were not relevant to children given the advent of puberty and the initiation of dating scripts.
Thus, stereotypical self-perceptions and peer pressure for conformity to gender roles may intensify during adolescence for both males and females Massad, ; Hill and Lynch, ; Galambos et al. However, it is unclear if these self-beliefs would transfer to adults' stereotypes of male and female teens. Based on these ideas, one could predict that prescriptive stereotypes adults hold are stronger for adolescents. Whether males' behaviors would still be more restricted is unclear. Some researchers argue that gender role pressures intensify at this age mostly for boys Massad, ; Galambos et al.
However, other researchers suggest a confluence of factors increase pressures on girls' behavior in adolescence compared to childhood, with the leniency given to girls to be tomboys replaced with stricter gender norms and a pressure to exhibit feminine behaviors and interests within a heterosexual dating environment Hill and Lynch, Thus, it is unclear whether boys would still be more restricted in their behavior than girls and generally how prescriptive stereotypes may change or emerge for adolescents and young adults.
On the other side of the age range, research has not focused on prescriptive gender stereotypes in the elderly. There is some evidence that descriptive gender stereotypes become more similar for elderly targets, in part because men's attributes become less masculine Kite et al. Conversely, other evidence shows that when compared to old women, older men are still seen as more competent, higher in autonomy, and less dependent Canetto et al.
However, most of the research on aging stereotypes measures the negativity of the stereotypes e. Thus, researchers have not addressed prescriptive stereotypes in the elderly or compared these to stereotypes of young adult or middle-aged men and women. Perhaps elderly men have less pressure to demonstrate their manhood and provide for a family, and thus their restrictions lessen, making violations of gender roles less severe than for younger individuals.
In 3 studies, the current research measured prescriptive and descriptive gender stereotypes for various age groups, including children, adults, and the elderly. In all studies, participants rated how desirable and typical it was for different target groups to possess a list of characteristics. The list of characteristics included a variety of traits and behaviors, many of which have not been used in past research on adult stereotypes, to cover the types of behaviors that may be more relevant to childhood.
For example, research on the parental treatment of boys vs. Through this method, the current research attempts to measure prescriptive gender stereotypes of toddlers, elementary-aged children, adolescents, young adults, adults, and the elderly to compare the content and strength of these stereotypes and answer several questions. In particular, assuming that gender stereotypes toward children and the elderly are also prescriptive in nature, current research addresses how both the content and magnitude of prescriptive gender stereotypes changes across age groups.
Specifically, based on the emphasis on policing boys' behavior in childhood, one might expect that prescriptive stereotypes would be stronger for boys than adult men. Alternatively, these stereotypes may remain strong across age groups. Conversely, however, prescriptive feminine stereotypes may start weaker for girls and increase with age.
Because descriptive stereotypes were also measured, prescriptive stereotypes can be compared to the typicality of each characteristics in males and females. Secondly, the research compares the number and magnitude of PPS and NPS for males and females within each age group to answer the question of whether males are more restricted than females in their behavior.
Participants also answered a direct question comparing the desirability of stereotype violating behavior in males vs. Research suggests greater restrictions for males are likely for children, but the difference in strength and magnitude of prescriptive gender stereotypes has not been directly tested for specific age groups of children or for adult or elderly stereotypes. Student participants in Studies 1 and 2 took part in a laboratory setting for course credit.
Participants were Participants in Studies 1 and 2 gave written informed consent, but participants in Study 3 indicated their informed consent online as a waiver of written consent was obtained from the IRB.
Not only do gender norms push outdated dating rules that are almost only applied to heterosexual relationships but Gender Stereotypes and behavior learn 2. Over the weekend, I got into a debate with some folks about gender roles in dating and relationships. The discussion had all of us analyzing our.
For example, online dating site eHarmony provides tips for users when creating their dating profile. A subtle but revealing distinction is made between the tips for men and those for women that reinforces traditional gender roles. The eHarmony staff recommend both genders to post multiple photos, however men are told to so others can "get a sense of who [they] are," whereas women should post multiple photos because men want to "check [them] out.
Gender stereotypes are messing with your kid. Concepts like:
Gender stereotypes have descriptive components, or beliefs about how males and females typically act, as well as prescriptive components, or beliefs about how males and females should act. For example, women are supposed to be nurturing and avoid dominance, and men are supposed to be agentic and avoid weakness.
Gender role identity and dating behavior: What is the relationship?
In recent years, designers like Thom Browne and Vivienne Westwood have premiered gender fluid designs that push the envelope and reflect our evolving ideas about gender and self-identity. Much like the styles we see on the runway, gender norms have undergone a major shift in the last decade. Celebs like Jaden Smith and Miley Cyrus have ditched conventional style and embraced gender fluid clothing that allows them to express themselves just as they are. Seeing celebs embrace gender fluid style choices suggests that society has progressed past outdated gender stereotypes. Or, has it?
Comparing Prescriptive and Descriptive Gender Stereotypes About Children, Adults, and the Elderly
We all know the advent of online dating has revolutionized romantic courtships — but how much so? Ideally, not having to rely on friends or family to discover eligible partners should push people out of their comfort zones, but studies indicate that traditional gender roles have persisted with regard to dating despite its digitization. Researchers from the Oxford Internet Institute examined extensive data from studies on online courtship and analyzed data from , eHarmony users to investigate mate preferences and communication patterns of heterosexual male and female users. Researchers then studied how users have changed their attitudes and behaviors over 10 years. The study shows that men are still 30 percent more likely to initiate contact than women. And when women do make the first move, mens' response rates drop 15 percent. Learned gender roles —the man does the calling and the woman waits by the phone—seem to have transcended the technology transition. Factors that determine whether or not women received messages and responses were physical traits such as youth and athleticism.
Gender, our cultural and personal notions of how people should act based on their biological sex, influences too many aspects of our behavior to be completely neutralized. But in a day and age where equality is the expectation, why stick to a rigid outline based on your genitalia?
Skip navigation! Story from Dating Advice. And hey, that makes sense — those gender roles have been in place for hundreds of years, after all. But keep in mind that just because something is traditional , that doesn't mean it has to continue.
Gender Stereotypes Plaguing Online Dating, Study Says
Women, if you think it serves you well to write the first message after matching with a guy, you're wrong. Men, if you think that financial success is irrelevant in dating, you, too, are mistaken. At least if we are to believe the numbers. Online dating may have practically revolutionised how we date in modern society, but apparently traditional gender roles still dictate how men and women engage in online courtship. Swiping sucks and even the dating industry knows it. In a major new study from the Oxford Internet Institute OII , researchers have looked at data from , — exclusively cisgendered, heterosexual — users on the dating site eHarmony over a 10 year period in the UK. Their findings show that both men and women still exhibit gender stereotypical behaviour when dating online. The study concludes that online dating has not just perpetuated male dominated initiation, but exacerbated it, since men are 30 percent more likely to write the first message. When women do initiate contact, it doesn't do them much good. The study shows that women's response rate goes down 15 percent when they are the ones to write first. It puts the inequality in the who-writes-first game down to "learned norms".
A Guy’s Guide to the Gender-Minimized First Date
The way tertiary education organisations package, promote and deliver their courses can help challenge long-held societal perceptions about certain vocations. Tertiary education organisations have an important role to play in shrugging off the gender stereotype hangover. The way organisations package, promote and deliver their courses has the potential to change perceptions of vocations and rebalance the gender mix. Take nursing for example. While up to 50 per cent of those enrolling to become doctors are now reportedly women, only 10 per cent or less of nursing students are male. The health sector is crying out for more male nurses, but has struggled to attract men into what has traditionally been a female domain. However, research into a new graduate nursing programme that attracted more male students revealed that tertiary institutions have the potential to play a key role in challenging gender stereotypes, by thinking about the pathways into certain careers, and the courses on offer.
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“That’s women’s work”: Challenging gender stereotypes through tertiary education
The past decade has seen the rise of dating apps and the breakdown of any stigma surrounding looking for love online. But despite this - and progress being made towards gender equality - the researchers found that the number of men initiating conversations online has actually increased, from six per cent in to 30 per cent in The researchers also looked into what would make someone more likely to receive a message. They found men were more successful when they had more photos on their profiles, as well as if they were perceived to be athletic, agreeable and altruistic. Similarly, women who appear athletic, romantic and altruistic are more likely to be messaged on dating apps. Designed to make women feel more secure when using dating apps, it also essentially gives females the option of using Tinder like Bumble. The Independent's Millennial Love group is the best place to discuss to the highs and lows of modern dating and relationships.
How Gender Stereotypes Impact Behavior
Negative stereotypes are intertwined with bias in organisations. In addition to the usual pressure to succeed, these employees are sometimes acutely aware of being judged on the basis of stereotypes. Bias gets stacked upon bias. For women, the issue is complicated by documented gender differences. How accurate they are and whether those differences are due more to nature or nurture is another matter. For example, some evidence shows that women are more risk-averse than men.Gender Roles and the Rules of Dating