Taking and Developing Pictures in the Head: Assessing the Physical Stereotypes of Eight Gender Types1


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    The collection of the data reported herein was supported by National Institute of Mental Health Grant MH40871-01/02. We thank the Institute for its support. In addition, we express our gratitude to the many people who have assisted with the data gathering and analysis. In particular, we thank Janet Weingrad, Laura Longo, Scott Bilder, Greta Pennell, Lourdes Cocuzzi, Lance Brown, and Kristine Tait.

Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Raymond Green, who is now at Department of Psychology, Indiana University of Pennsylvania, Clark Hall, Indiana, PA 15705


This paper examines college students' mental images, or pictures in the head, of 4 female types (housewife, whore, career woman, feminist) and 4 male types (business executive, ladies' man, homosexual, nerd). Consensual stereotypes of the gender types were extracted from the reported images through a content analysis. There was considerable agreement in the descriptions of the images, suggesting that American college students have shared pictures in the head of these 8 consensual gender types. As predicted, the physical stereotypes of each type followed from the gender-role variant each represents (e. g., the whore, whose “sub-role” and goals require catching males' attention and interest, was imaged as wearing sexually alluring clothing). We suggest that these physical stereotypes may serve a critical role in gender categorization and stereotyping processes.