You Shoot Like a Girl: Stereotype Threat and Marksmanship Performance

By Emerald Archer.

Published by The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: November 11, 2014 $US5.00

The 2013 Pentagon announcement to lift the combat exclusion rule for American servicewomen ushered in much debate about women’s performance in the domain of war. Gender role stereotypes were launched by critics of the announcement, implying that women’s military performance is limited by virtue of their being female. Women’s underperformance is likely not based on their inferior skill set, but by societal expectations regarding gender roles. The impact of stereotype threat (ST), or the concern that an individual may be at risk of confirming a negative stereotype about one’s own group, is examined in the United States Marine Corps (USMC) domain. Female Marines may be at risk of underperforming in demanding examinations. An on-site experiment reveals the extent to which ST affects the performance of female Marines in marksmanship qualifications on the M16 service rifle. Results indicate that the most competent female marksmen (expert shooters) are vulnerable to ST.

Keywords: Gender, Military, Stereotype Threat, Political Psychology

The International Journal of Interdisciplinary Civic and Political Studies, Volume 8, Issue 1, November 2014, pp.9-22. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: November 11, 2014 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 430.086KB)).

Emerald Archer

Assistant Professor, Politics and History Department, Woodbury University, Burbank, CA, USA