Ethnocentrism and Sexism: How Stereotypes Legitimize Six Types of Power



We review evidence of inequality associated with gender and social categories like ethnicity with respect to six types of power: control of resources, force, legitimacy, obligations, knowledge, and sexuality. Presuming that stereotypes are one means of legitimizing power differentials between groups, we review research on stereotype contents for both ethnicity and gender with respect to the six forms of power. The review reveals a number of rhetorical means by which stereotypes legitimize ethnic dominants and men having particular forms of power, such as disguising the exercise of power by describing it in individualistic rather than relational terms, and also how stereotypes de-legitimize women and ethnic subordinates from obtaining particular forms of power, such as by stating that what they desire and their virtues preclude exercising power. A new research agenda regarding stereotypes and how they legitimize group power differences is outlined.