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This article presents a four–category framework to characterize the contents of prescriptive gender stereotypes. The framework distinguishes between prescriptions and proscriptions that are intensified by virtue of one’s gender, and those that are relaxed by virtue of one’s gender. Two studies examined the utility of this framework for characterizing prescriptive gender stereotypes in American society (Study 1) and in the highly masculine context of Princeton University (Study 2). The results demonstrated the persistence of traditional gender prescriptions in both contexts, but also revealed distinct areas of societal vigilance and leeway for each gender. In addition, they showed that women are seen more positively, relative to societal standards, than are men. We consider the implications of this framework for research on reactions to gender stereotype deviants and sex discrimination.