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How are women and men perceived? Structure of gender stereotypes in contemporary Turkey

Sakallı, Nuray
Türkoğlu Demirel, Beril
Kuzlak, Abdulkadir
Although gender stereotypes is a popular topic in social psychology, research on gender stereotypes in Turkish culture is limited. Therefore the purpose of the study was twofold: (1) to present how people describe women and men, and (2) to generate the underlying themes of the descriptions for each gender in order to present the structure of gender stereotypes in Turkish culture. By using free response method, undergraduates (N = 491) were asked to write down 10 adjectives to describe women and men. Frequencies showed that women were mostly described as emotional, jealous, easily-offended, faithful, delicate, self-sacrificing, warm, intelligent, sensitive, gossipy, ambitious, compassionate, beautiful, considerate, hardworking, attractive, and fragile; whereas men were mostly described as jealous, strong, selfish, emotional, ambitious, angry, rude, childish, rational, hardworking, intelligent, honest, brave, and protective. Further, these stereotypes were combined under four basic themes (appearance, personality, gender roles and power) and their subthemes to present the structure of gender stereotypes. Women’s stereotypes were structured mostly under their personality traits (warmth, selfishness, fragility, agency, and sociability) followed by gender roles (motherhood, and faithfulness), appearance, and power (strength, and weakness) themes, respectively. Men’s stereotypes were structured mostly under their personality traits (selfishness, agency, emotionality, irresponsibility, sociability, emotionlessness, and womanizer), but differently followed by power (manhood, and dominance), gender roles (fatherhood/breadwinner, and faithfulness), and appearance. Findings were discussed in the light of the existing literature on gender stereotypes, sexism, and manhood.