Determining Gender Stereotype based on Physical Appearance Expectations in Interpersonal Communication Process: An Intercultural Comparison between Turkey and Portugal

Unlu D. G.



While making inferences about the physical appearance of other persons, the individual makes use of various stereotypes, and according to these stereotypes, categorizes the new individual based on his/her physical appearance. This affects the interpersonal communication process established, and the individual starts and maintains the communication process according to the stereotypes about other persons categorised in the mind. In this regard, it can be suggested that gender stereotypes, which are based on the physical appearance of the individual, are determinant on the content and quality of interpersonal communication. In this context, determining these stereotype-based expectations is of great importance also for reducing communication barriers encountered in interpersonal communication. Based on this focus, the research aims to reveal the physical appearance features of the other person, which the individual pays attention to most, at the start of and during the interpersonal communication process, and whether this attitude differs according to the gender of the evaluating or evaluated individual. Conducted in accordance with this aim, the study is a descriptive method-based field research implemented by means of open-ended question form. The study also aims to present an intercultural perspective; within this scope, findings obtained from the statements of Turkish and Portugese respondents are provided in a comparative manner. The primary result of the study is the fact that both physical appearance features, which the individual first evaluates in the moment of first meeting and during the interpersonal communication process, differ according to the gender and cultural background of the evaluating individual.