THE GENDER STEREOTYPING OF EMOTIONS

Authors


  • We would like to thank Kelly Howard, Alison Popper, Dava Schub, and Marla Verson for their help conducting these studies. We thank David H. Ebenbach, Kathryn S. Lemery, and Randall C. Young for posing for the photographs and Pam Schmutte-Alberts and Andrew Schmutte-Alberts for creating and performing in the videotape.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: E. Ashby Plant, Department of Psychology, University of Wisconsin, 1202 W. Johnson St., Madison, WI 53706. E-mail: eaplant@students. wisc.edu.

Abstract

Three studies documented the gender stereotypes of emotions and the relationship between gender stereotypes and the interpretation of emotionally expressive behavior. Participants believed women experienced and expressed the majority of the 19 emotions studied (e.g., sadness, fear, sympathy) more often than men. Exceptions included anger and pride, which were thought to be experienced and expressed more often by men. In Study 2, participants interpreted photographs of adults’ambiguous anger/sadness facial expressions in a stereotype-consistent manner, such that women were rated as sadder and less angry than men. Even unambiguous anger poses by women were rated as a mixture of anger and sadness. Study 3 revealed that when expectant parents interpreted an infant's ambiguous anger/sadness expression presented on videotape only high-stereotyped men interpreted the expression in a stereotype-consistent manner. Discussion focuses on the role of gender stereotypes in adults’interpretations of emotional expressions and the implications for social relations and the socialization of emotion.

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