Sex Roles, Vol. 37, Nos. 9/10, 1997 Context Effects on Self-Perceptions of Feminine and Masculine Qualities Judi Beinstein Miller, ~ Jennifer Lewy, 1 and Emily Peckham I Activation of gender-related experiences in memory was predicted to enhance self-perceptions of stereotypically feminine and masculine qualities. In two experiments with undergraduate students--approximately 6% African American, 12% Asian American, 74% Caucasian, 6% Latino, and 2% of other backgrounds in each--the effects of recalling either expressive or instrumental experiences are evaluated in relation to subjects' self-ratings on related feminine and masculine traits. Results show consistent increases in ratings of feminine traits in expressive conditions and in ratings of masculine traits in instrumental ones, but these tendencies occur primarily among subjects with initially low self-ratings. Results are interpreted as evidence that context can influence gender-related self-evaluation by activating related experience in memory and enhancing its salience for identity. Early gender research measured femininity and masculinity as stable per- sonality traits that differentiated females and males (Morawski, 1985). More recent scholarship has questioned the stability of femininity and mas- culinity in identity and suggested an alternative view, that self-perceptions of gender are somewhat fluid and influenced by context (Deaux & Major, 1987; Lorber, 1994). Social
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: Aug 2, 2008
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