Toronto Metropolitan University
erentzen-et-al-2022-the-gendered-nature-of-muslim-and-christian-stereotypes-in-the-united-states.pdf (491.21 kB)

The gendered nature of Muslim and Christian stereotypes in the United States

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journal contribution
posted on 2023-10-11, 14:44 authored by Caroline ErentzenCaroline Erentzen, Veronica N. Z. Bergstrom, Norman Zeng, Alison L. Chasteen

Despite the increasing diversity of religious affiliations in the United States, little research has explored the nature and structure of religious stereotypes of Muslims in America. The present research explores the gendered dimensions of stereotypes of both Muslims and Christians, using a multimethod approach. In Study 1, participants engaged in visual representations of intersectional and superordinate identities using Venn diagrams and slider tasks. Study 2 elicited open trait listings for religious, gender, and intersectional groups, with the most common traits reported for each group. In a conceptual replication, Study 3 asked participants to rate each group for the applicability of the most common traits identified in Study 2. Across the three studies, we found clear and consistent support for intersectionality effects. Unique stereotypic traits were identified for each intersectional group that were not present in either religious or gender superordinate identity. Stereotypes of Christians as a superordinate group contained a balanced representation of Christian men and Christian women traits. In contrast, Muslim stereotypes were strongly influenced by androcentric assumptions, with approximately 80% of the traits ascribed to Muslims overlapping with those of Muslim men. In addition, Muslim women were rated as significantly different from both Muslims and Muslim men on all trait evaluations. This was not observed with Christians, who showed little differentiation by gender. This research provides a rare systematic analysis of the gendered nature of religious stereotypes of Christians and Muslims and contributes to the developing literature on intersectionality and prototypicality.