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Men as Cultural Ideals: How Culture Shapes Gender Stereotypes

Published on: September 2010​
Genre: Gender​ Category: Research Report/ Research Paper/ White Paper​
Four studies explore how culture shapes the contents of gender stereotypes, demonstrating that men serve as “cultural ideals,” such that they are perceived as possessing more of whatever traits are culturally valued. In Studies 1 & 2, using different measures, Americans rated men as less interdependent than women; Koreans, however, showed the opposite pattern, rating men as more interdependent than women, deviating from the “universal” gender stereotype of male independence. In Study 3, bi-cultural Korean American participants rated men as less interdependent if they completed a survey in English, but as more interdependent if they completed the survey in Korean, demonstrating how cultural frames influence the contents of gender stereotypes. In Study 4, American college students rated a male student as higher (and a female student as lower) on whichever trait – ambitiousness or sociability – they were told was the most important cultural value at their university, establishing that cultural values causally impact the contents of gender stereotypes.

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