The Gender of Status: The Laypersons' Perception of Status Groups Is Gender-Typed
Studies addressed the hypothesis that people perceive lower status individuals as more feminine- than masculine-typed, and higher status individuals as more masculine- than feminine-typed, even when the feminine and masculine descriptors are equated in terms of their potency, evaluation, or activity; the latter are underlying dimensions of meaning (Osgood, Suci, & Tannenbaum, 1957), and potency and activity are linked to status. Participants were presented the minimal status instantiation of Conway, Pizzamiglio, and Mount (1996) and rated low- and high-status individuals in terms of Adjective Check List (Gough & Heilbrun, 1980) descriptors. The expected status × gender-typing interactions emerged in Study 1 for the negative low-potency indices for male and female participants, and for the positive low-potency indices for female participants alone. Similarly, the status × gender-typing interactions emerged in Study 2 for the low-potency indices, for both low and high activity. Contrary to expectation, high-potency terms were generally attributed to high-status individuals. The findings indicated that status seems to be gendered beyond the correspondence observed in prior research between status and gender for the dimensions of potency and activity.