Navigating Public Prejudices: The Impact of Media and Attitudes on High-Profile Female Political Leaders

Document Type



Behavioral and Organizational Sciences (CGU)

Publication Date



Leadership Studies | Social and Behavioral Sciences


Predictions from the stereotype content model (SCM; Fiske et al. 2002) that suggest high-status career women are perceived as competent but cold were tested with a sample of college students in California (N = 294; 51% female; M age = 21.49). Participants completed measures of sexism and attitude extremity, read a positive or negative article about a female senator, and rated her warmth and competence. Results indicate positive media coverage counteracts the competent but cold prediction of the SCM. In the context of negative media, extreme hostile sexism predicted evaluations of low warmth and competence; however, males with less extreme sexist attitudes had greater warmth and competence evaluations. Results are discussed in relation to the SCM and worldview confirmation hypothesis.

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© 2011 Springer Science+Business Media, LLC