Effects of occupational choice and sex-role preferences on the attractiveness of competent men and women


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    Requests for reprints should be addressed to David R. Shaffer, Department of Psychology, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602.


The present experiment assessed the impact of a person's sex role and occupational preferences on his/her social attractiveness, attractiveness as a coworker, and attractiveness to a prospective employer. Male and female subjects were provided information describing a competent male or a competent female stimulus person. Stimulus persons (SPs) were portrayed as favoring either traditionally masculine or traditionally feminine occupations, and as masculine or feminine in their sex-role preferences. As expected, both male and female SPs were seen as most socially attractive when their sex-role preferences were “gender consistent.” In contrast, subjects favored SPs who expressed masculine sex-role preferences when assessing the individual's attractiveness as a prospective employee. These findings were compared and contrasted with the results of earlier research, and the implications of sex-role deviance for males and for females were discussed.