A Latent Semantic Analysis of Gender Stereotype-Consistency and Narrowness in American English
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Using latent semantic analysis, we examined gender stereotypes in American English by submitting over 100 masculine, neutral, and feminine role-words and trait-words to pair-wise semantic similarity comparisons with masculine (man, he, him) and feminine (woman, she, her) referents separately. We expected to find: (a) Stereotyping—roles and traits would be more semantically similar to the ostensible ‘matching’ than ‘mismatching’ gender category referent; (b) Categorical narrowness—both categories would be less semantically similar to counterstereotypical than to neutral or stereotypical characteristics; but this would be especially so for the male category, indicating its relatively greater narrowness. Results supported these hypotheses, but only among role-words. American English reflects and reinforces gender stereotypes regarding gender roles at a level beyond that recognized previously.
KeywordsGender stereotypes Stereotype content Stereotype breadth Latent semantic analysis
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