Sex Roles

, Volume 48, Issue 11–12, pp 471–482

The Animal = Male Hypothesis: Children's and Adults' Beliefs About the Sex of Non–Sex-Specific Stuffed Animals

  • Jennifer R. Lambdin
  • Kristen M. Greer
  • Kari Selby Jibotian
  • Kelly Rice Wood
  • Mykol C. Hamilton
Article

Abstract

The Animal = Male Hypothesis, a variation of Silveira's People = Male Hypothesis (Silveira, 1980), was examined. In Study 1, children ages 3–10 years and adults told stories about a gender-neutral stuffed animal, in Study 2 children ages 5–6 years told stories about 3 neutral and 3 feminine animals, and in Study 3 children ages 5–7 years told stories about 2 neutral animals, observed an adult model use feminine pronouns to refer to an animal, then told stories about 2 more animals. Dependent variables were the pronouns participants used to refer to the animals and what sex they believed the animals were. Results showed strong evidence for an animal = male bias in all 3 studies among children and adults of both sexes on both dependent measures. There were few sex-related differences. The modeling intervention was not successful in reducing the bias.

language and gender sex bias in language sexist language people = male hypothesis animal = male hypothesis 

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. American Psychological Association. (1992). Ethical principles of psychologists and code of conduct. American Psychologist, 47, 1597-1611.Google Scholar
  2. Barnard, R. (1983). A case of the missing Bronte: An Inspector Perry Trethowan mystery. Riverside, NJ: Scribner.Google Scholar
  3. Beal, C. R., & Garrod, A. (1997). Children's moral orientation: Does the gender of dilemma character make a difference? Journal of Moral Education, 26, 45-58.Google Scholar
  4. Bem, S. L., & Bem, D. J. (1973). Does sex-biased job advertising aid and abet sex discrimination? Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 3, 6-18.Google Scholar
  5. Cole, C. M., Hill, F. A., & Dayley, L. F. (1983). Do masculine pronouns used generically lead to thoughts of men? Sex Roles, 19, 785-798.Google Scholar
  6. DeLoache, J. S., Cassidy, D. J., & Carpenter, C. J. (1987). The three bears are all boys: Mothers' gender labeling of neutral picture book characters. Sex Roles, 17, 163-173.Google Scholar
  7. Gastil, J. (1990). Generic pronouns and sexist language: The oxymoronic character of masculine generics. Sex Roles, 23, 629-643.Google Scholar
  8. Hamilton, M. C. (1988). Using masculine generics: Does generic he increase male bias in the user's imagery? Sex Roles, 19, 785-799.Google Scholar
  9. Hamilton, M. C. (1989, March). Does male-biased language in a state constitution really hurt? Paper presented at the meeting of the Association for Women in Psychology, Newport, RI.Google Scholar
  10. Hamilton, M. C. (1991). Masculine bias in the attribution of personhood: People = male, male = people. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15, 393-402.Google Scholar
  11. Hamilton, M. C., & Henley, N. M. (1982, April). Detrimental consequences of generic masculine usage. Paper presented at the meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Sacramento, CA.Google Scholar
  12. Hamilton, M. C., Hunter, B., & Stuart-Smith, S. (1994). Jury instructions worded in the masculine generic: Can a woman claim self-defense when "he" is threatened? In C. Roman, S. Juhasz, & C. Miller (Eds.), The woman and language debate: A sourcebook (pp. 340-347). New Brunswick, NJ: Rutgers University Press.Google Scholar
  13. Hyde, J. S. (1984). Children's understanding of sexist language. Developmental Psychology, 20, 697-706.Google Scholar
  14. MacKay, D. G., & Fulkerson, D. C. (1979). On the comprehension and production of pronouns. Journal of Verbal Learning and Verbal Behavior, 18, 661-673.Google Scholar
  15. Martyna, W. (1978). Using and understanding the generic masculine: A social psychological approach to language and the sexes. Dissertation Abstracts International, 39, 3050B.Google Scholar
  16. Merritt, R. D., & Kok, C. J. (1995). Attribution of gender to a gender-unspecified individual: An evaluation of the people = male hypothesis. Sex Roles, 33, 145-157.Google Scholar
  17. Moulton, J., Robinson, G. M., & Elias, C. (1978). Sex bias in language use: Neutral pronouns that aren't. American Psychologist, 33, 1032-1036.Google Scholar
  18. Rubin, D. L., & Greene, K. L. (1991). Effects of biological and psychological gender, age cohort, and interviewer gender on attitudes toward gender-inclusive/exclusive language. Sex Roles, 24, 391-411.Google Scholar
  19. Shepelak, N., Ogden, D., & Tobin-Bennett, D. (1984). The influence of gender labels on the sex typing of imaginary occupations. Sex Roles, 11, 983-996.Google Scholar
  20. Silveira, J. (1980). Generic masculine words and thinking. In C. Kramarae (Ed.), The voices and words of women and men (pp. 165-178). Oxford: Pergamon.Google Scholar
  21. Sniezak, J. A., & Jazwinski, C. H. (1986). Gender bias in English: In search of fair language. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 16, 642-662.Google Scholar
  22. Switzer, J. Y. (1990). The impact of generic word choices: An empirical investigation of age-and sex-related differences. Sex Roles, 22, 69-81.Google Scholar
  23. Wise, E., & Rafferty, J. (1982). Sex bias and language. Sex Roles, 8, 1189-1196.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Publishing Corporation 2003

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jennifer R. Lambdin
    • 1
  • Kristen M. Greer
    • 1
  • Kari Selby Jibotian
    • 1
  • Kelly Rice Wood
    • 1
  • Mykol C. Hamilton
    • 1
  1. 1.Centre CollegeDanville

Personalised recommendations