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Article Analysis: The Stereotype Content Of Sexual Orientation

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The Stereotype Content of Sexual Orientation written by Trenton D. Mize and Bianca Manago is a research article which discusses the societal stereotypes targeting social and minority groups in the world today. Through the usage of the stereotype content model and survey experiments, the data gathered portrays the negative effects social groups face daily. As a result of stereotypes viewed as largely held beliefs, the authors of the study focus specifically on warmth and competence which is derived from the stereotype content model. The study conducted ultimately goes on to portray the high rates of social disadvantages different sexual minority groups face.

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The paradigm utilized in the study focuses on the idea of social conflict. Social problems arise as a result of the mistreatment marginalized groups face by dominant groups leading to an imbalance of power between genders. This issue establishes the ideology of unequal distribution of power and wealth amongst men and women. The problem further deepens as sexual minorities begin to face social disadvantages such as “legal, labor market, and health inequalities”. Ultimately, this leads to the creation of future conflicts as members of society are denied access to equal opportunities. The theory in the study used is referred to as the stereotype content model. This model focuses on two specific dimensions being warmth and competence. The dimensions help create and shape the beliefs and judgement towards individuals or distinct groups in society. These dimensions play a crucial role in the creation of prejudice and stereotypical discrimination towards groups of varying sexual orientation. By utilizing the model, the authors are then able to hypothesize how stereotypes towards an individual’s social status, sexuality, or gender conjoin to influence society’s overall notion of differing sexual minorities.

The research methodologies employed by the authors consist of two studies done in a survey-experiment style. Each study individually focuses on a separate goal. The first study tests why heterosexual men and women are perceived differently compared to bisexuals. The second study uses open-response items which assist the authors in determining reasons as to why bisexual men and women are viewed negatively. Nonetheless, the research methodologies allow the authors to evaluate the discrepancies that exist between sexual orientated groups.

The authors are exceptionally self-reflexive while conducting the study. In study one, the authors use a technique known as ‘Most People Projective Questioning’. This technique is used in all forms of stereotype content model research. As the authors state, the main goal of the study is to gain insight on how the participants within the study view how other individuals perceive members of different sexual groups, and not the personal beliefs and opinions they hold. The authors can implement this technique to prevent social desirability bias in the participant’s responses. The authors are aware that social desirability would lead to the bias of the individual’s opinions on differing sexual minorities. To prevent this, the technique is implemented as a precautionary measure to ensure the outcome of the best possible data. However, the authors claim the study does not include groups such as transgender individuals which limits their scope of study. To avoid this issue, the authors make clear that such sexual minorities will be implemented in future studies. This piece of research is an informative account and succeeds aesthetically in significantly understanding the social world.

The research provides the audience with the appropriate knowledge and education of how and why different sexual minorities are perceived negatively. By acknowledging what differentiates sexual minorities from other individuals is a step towards breaking gender and sexual discrimination barriers. This ultimately comes to show how discrimination towards sexual minorities continues to be an obstacle in communities worldwide today.

15 July 2020

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