Beautiful, Self-Absorbed, and Shallow: People of Color Perceive White Women as an Ethnically Marked Category


Correspondence concerning this article should be addressed to Terri D. Conley, Department of Psychology, University of Michigan, 1012 East Hall, 530 Church Street, Ann Arbor, MI 48103, USA. E-mail:


Non-Whites' stereotypes of White women were examined, comparing three perspectives: (1) White women are perceived similarly to ethnically “generic” stereotypes of women; (2) stereotypes are opposite of stereotypes of participants' own ethnic group; and (3) stereotypes are derived from media images of White women. In Study 1, participants listed stereotypes of White women in an open-ended fashion. In Study 2, those stereotypes were developed into a close-ended questionnaire, completed by a second set of participants. White women were perceived as attractive, blonde, ditsy, shallow, privileged, sexually available, and appearance focused. We concluded that White women are ethnically marked. Stereotypes of White women are consistent with media images of White women.