Stereotypes were moderated by skin color, with darker candidate complexions conveying a stronger racial cue, thus more strongly activating these stereotypes. Research on agentic trait inferences also offers insight into the intersectional stereotyping of political candidates and its consequences. Women leaders are discounted when they have agentic deficiencies i. Thus, generally, female candidates must simultaneously avoid displaying too much or too little agency. Race-gender intersections complicate this pattern. As a result, Asian American women are stereotyped with high leadership potential and often need to provide less evidence of competence than white women to be recognized in the workplace Williams, Their agentic advantage is context dependent—the stereotypes that might advantage Asian woman leaders in professional positions in the STEM fields science, technology, engineering, mathematics or related professions Sy et al.
Collectively, this work highlights how much race matters when trying to understand stereotypes associated with women leaders for a review, see Rosette et al. Much of this work focuses on strategic intersectionality—or how Latinas can leverage their more positive stereotypes to their electoral advantage. Much of the scholarship reviewed in this section is motivated by observations that women candidates of color are often more successful than their male co-ethnics when pursuing higher office e.
Thus, a key insight from this work is that theories of double jeopardy and double disadvantage are not an inevitable obstacle for intersectionally situated candidates. There is no neat hierarchy of advantage or disadvantage. Understanding how intersectional stereotypes can be leveraged to achieve political goals is an important step in gaining a more rounded perspective on both voter biases and candidate viability based on candidate characteristics.
Intersectional stereotyping research has also explored the intersection of candidate gender and sexual orientation. This same pattern is true of political candidates: lesbian candidates are rated more favorably in terms of their ability to handle stereotypically masculine issues, consistent with the idea that lesbians are viewed as more masculine than heterosexual women.
This suggests stereotypes linked to sexual orientation are inherently intersectional; they depend on sexual orientation and gender simultaneously. Golebiowska finds that the prototypicality of gay candidates also influences how they are viewed by voters. Using reactions to actors delivering a campaign speech, she finds that stereotypic gay male candidates face a greater penalty among voters than stereotypic lesbian candidates in terms of viability and leadership capacity, which seems to reflect a generalized preference for masculinity.
However, the picture is more complicated when comparing evaluations of male and female survey participants. Men discounted candidates who violated gender role expectations, meaning both stereotypic gay and lesbian candidates. Women preferred the non-stereotypic i.
This study raises an interesting question about how group stereotypes might resonate differently with different types of voters—one that applies broadly to scholarship on intersectional stereotyping. Research on gay candidates suggests that stereotypes are not just natural inferential processes, but are invoked intentionally in negative campaigning. For instance, in a series of interviews with gay male political candidates and officeholders, Golebiowska finds that political opponents play on stereotypes of gay men in both subtle and explicit ways in negative campaigning.
This suggests that group-based stereotypes can be sources of vulnerability for candidates who are purposively targeted by their opponents. Future work topic must attend to the conditions and contexts under which stereotypes are more and less salient, and thus more or less likely to influence voter decision-making.
It is worth noting that scholars are divided as to how much stereotypes influence candidate evaluations and vote choice. This disagreement is often attributed to methodological differences between studies. However, there are examples of both observational and experimental work on both sides of the debate over whether stereotypes matter. Alternatively, work by Nichole Bauer uses both experimental and observational data to show that gender stereotypes can be activated under certain conditions, and work to disadvantage female candidates.
Thus, disagreement in this literature does not stem from a particular methodological orientation per se, but instead from divergent expectations about the application of stereotypes: Are stereotypes consistently applied to women candidates, or is their application more contextualized, depending on their salience or activation in particular campaigns or broader political contexts? Work on stereotyping in social psychology takes a more contingent perspective on stereotyping, in line with the idea that stereotypes must be activated by contextual factors in order to influence candidate evaluations.
Instead, both contextual and individual level factors influence the activation and application of stereotypes. These contextual factors might include the use of stereotypes by the media and in campaigning e. Ultimately, a richer understanding of stereotype processes informed by intersectionality research may afford greater insights into issues surrounding descriptive representation—the idea that citizens desire representation from an elected official that shares one or more of their politically relevant attributes Pitkin, Many Americans lack descriptive representation, and work on intersectional stereotyping may afford new insights into obstacles facing intersectionally situated candidates and raise different strategic considerations for candidates based on their race, gender, and sexual orientation.
Intersectional stereotyping is a fledgling interdisciplinary subfield that has offered significant advances into our understanding of political cognition. Extant work in this area shows the utility of applying an intersectional lens to an established field of inquiry. Much of the work on stereotypes in the political science and social psychology literatures has explored one group stereotype in isolation, ignoring the other category inferences made implicitly and automatically by survey respondents in this highly artificial circumstance.
Some work has explored stereotypes associated with composite categories e. Work on intersectional stereotyping is rectifying this oversight and offering new insights into the stereotype profiles of intersectionally situated groups.
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One key insight here is that stereotype profiles are not simply additive e. This is consistent with intersectional scholarship—that what occurs at intersections follows an interactive, multiplicative, or synergistic mechanism rather than an additive one, in which individual category memberships can be separated and later reconstituted Dhamoon, ; Weldon, This finding highlights the importance of thinking about privilege and disadvantage simultaneously, and how group members navigate the more and less privileged aspects of their category memberships e.
This insight is helpful in thinking though the contingent and contextualized nature of stereotypes and their political consequences. Although this article focused on intersectional stereotyping in a single domain, this work has a wide range of applications for the study of voter behavior, public opinion, and policy debates. For example, stereotypes of voters are often intersectional. These stereotypes may not be accurate e. Intersectional stereotypes also have implications for how the public views protestors and condition popular support for social movements and their political objectives McConnaughy, Given that work on intersectional stereotyping is in its early stages, there is still much to be done and many new insights to be gained.
Future work should take care to engage directly with the intersectionality literature and consciously theorize around category intersections. Part of this theorizing should acknowledge that intersectionality is more than just exploring manifestations of identity politics, and also involves using these social categories as analytic concepts for interrogating structural power dynamics associated with category membership. Stereotypes are inherently tied up in hierarchical thinking, and people make power and status evaluations relatively automatically.
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As a result, it is important to attend to the broader issues underlying these intersectional stereotypes—both in terms of their origins in cultural representations of groups and the social hierarchies they bolster. Alexander, M. Images and affect: A functional analysis of out-group stereotypes.
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The mobilizing effect of majority—minority districts on Latino turnout. American Political Science Review , 98 1 , 65— Bauer, N. Emotional, sensitive, and unfit for office? Gender stereotype activation and support female candidates.
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