Gender Stereotyping affects everyone in society, both male, and female, young and old and is one of the most researched topics amongst social psychologists. This study aims to discover if gender stereotypes still exist in today's modern society and, if they do, why they are perpetuated. Is it always for a negative reason? The study adopted a focus group methodology with fifteen groups of 7-9 participants, all university students (n=133). There were 21 males and 111 females in the study. The data was analysed using the Miles and Huberman Framework (1994) which yielded four main themes: formation/role, maintenance, effects and challenging gender stereotypes. These resultant themes correlate with the popular psychological concepts of Implicit Attitudes, Benevolent Sexism, Social Identity Theory, Sex Role Theory and the Theory of Lay Epistemology. .
A stereotype is defined as a 'cognitive representation or impression of a social group that people form by associating particular characteristics and emotions with the group' (Smith & Mackie, 2007, p. 142). For this study into gender stereotypes, the groups examined will be those of males and females.
'Gender stereotypes, like other social stereotypes, reflect perceivers' observations of what people do in daily life. If perceivers often observe a particular group of people engaging in a particular activity, they are likely to believe that the abilities and personality attribute required to carry out that activity are typical of that group of people. For example, if perceivers consistently observe women caring for children, they are likely to believe that characteristics thought to be necessary for child care, such as nurturance and warmth, are typical of women' (Eagly & Steffen, 1984, p. 1).
For many years, there has been considerable interest in gender stereotypes and the extent to which they are perpetuated by society as well as how they have affected, negatively or positively, gender groupings.