Masculine = Competent? Physical Appearance and Sex as Sources of Gender-Stereotypic Attributions


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Abstract

In two experiments, the influence of physical appearance and sex on the attribution of leadership competence was analyzed. Participants (male/female) reacted to stimulus persons from one of four groups varying in terms of sex (male/female) and physical appearance (feminine/masculine). The stimulus persons were introduced via photographs. Dependent measures referred to the attribution of leadership characteristics and were measured either directly via ratings or indirectly via a recognition test. In both experiments, participants attributed higher degrees of leadership competence to persons with typically masculine appearance than to persons with typically feminine appearance, regardless of the person's sex. Only in the experiment with indirect measurement were male persons attributed a higher degree of leadership competence than female persons.

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