Stereotypes of single and married women and men in Turkish culture

SAKALLI N., Türkoğlu Demirel B., Kuzlak A., Gupta A.

Current Psychology, vol.40, no.1, pp.213-225, 2021 (SSCI) identifier identifier

  • Publication Type: Article / Article
  • Volume: 40 Issue: 1
  • Publication Date: 2021
  • Doi Number: 10.1007/s12144-018-9920-9
  • Journal Name: Current Psychology
  • Journal Indexes: Social Sciences Citation Index (SSCI), Scopus, IBZ Online, BIOSIS, Business Source Elite, Business Source Premier, Psycinfo
  • Page Numbers: pp.213-225
  • Keywords: Gender roles, Stereotypes, Single women, men, Married women, men, Turkish culture
  • TED University Affiliated: No


© 2018, Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature.While it is natural for stereotypes of social groups to change over time and across various social contexts, there has been a lack of research investigating how marriage impacts specifically gender-based stereotypes. In Turkish culture, social status, roles, and stereotypes are highly dependent on marital status, and more so for women, who are labeled as “girls” until marriage. The present research seeks to examine how people picture men and women before and after marriage through free response. Specifically, undergraduates (N = 206) wrote down adjectives for single men, married men, single women, and married women. Adjectives were categorized using thematic analysis into stereotypes of appearance, personality traits, gender roles, and power. Single men were predominantly described with negative personality traits (e.g., womanizer, irresponsible, self-indulgent, and immature) whereas stereotypes of married men aligned more with traditional gender roles (e.g., father, breadwinner, and householder). However, participants stereotyped single and married men within similar power domains (dominant, masculine, and independent). On the other hand, single women were mainly stereotyped by their personality traits (e.g., fragile/pure) while married women were mainly described with their gender roles (e.g., self-sacrificing, mothering/nurturing) and positive personality traits (e.g., warm, mature). Additionally, participants described both single and married women as dominated, dependent, and resistant to power. Results are discussed considering sexism theory, system justification theory, and honor. Findings can be applied to understandings of how marriage may shape gender stereotypes in highly gendered, honor cultures.