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Of Christians, Jews, and Muslims: When Gender Is Unspecified, the Default Is Men


Discrimination against members of nonmajority religious groups is widespread, often due to negative stereotypes and emotions toward them. To understand the impact of gender on religious stereotypes and emotions, across two studies, we analyzed stereotypes and emotions toward the men and women of three religious groups: Christians, Jews, and Muslims, to determine the presence of prototypicality biases using intersectional invisibility as the guiding framework. In Study 1 (preregistered, n = 893), participants rated religious groups on four stereotype dimensions: Competence, Warmth, Beliefs, and Americanness, with religion as a within-subject variable and gender as a between-subject variable. In Study 2 (preregistered, n = 915), participants rated religious groups on six emotional dimensions. There was evidence of androcentric biases, as (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) men were perceived as more similar to their respective broader religious groups than (Christian, Jewish, and Muslim) women. Additionally, Muslim women, in particular, experienced a double distancing from their identities: They were strongly differentiated from their broader religious category, that is, Muslim, and from their broader gender category, that is, women. While much is known regarding religious groups as a whole, there is relatively little work disaggregating religious groups by gender. This article highlights the importance of intersectionality and incorporating gender when assessing stereotypes and emotions toward religious groups, thereby advancing our theoretical and practical understanding of intergroup conflict and designing interventions applicable to both men and women within religious groups

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