Wimpy and undeserving of respect: Penalties for men's gender-inconsistent success

Madeline E. Heilman, Aaron S. Wallen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Results of an experimental study varying the sex of the employee and the gender-type of the job demonstrated that men, as well as women, are penalized when they are successful in areas that imply that they have violated gender norms. But the nature of these penalties differed. When depicted as being successful at a female gender-typed job, men were characterized as more ineffectual and afforded less respect than women successful at the same job or than men successful in a gender-consistent position. Women, in contrast, were more interpersonally derogated and disliked when said to be successful at a male gender-typed job. Regardless of these differing characterizations, both men and women successful in gender-inconsistent jobs were reported to be less preferable as bosses than their more normatively consistent counterparts. These results suggest that success, when it violates gender norms, can be disadvantageous for both men and women, but in different ways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)664-667
Number of pages4
JournalJournal of Experimental Social Psychology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Gender norms
  • Gender stereotypes
  • Impression formation
  • Norm violation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


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