Images of Southern Women

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Images of Southern Women

by John Shelton Reed
Southern Cultures, Vol. 1, No. 1: Fall 1994

"Most studies of regional stereotypes have asked people to describe "southerners" in general, even though everyone knows that there are many different kinds of southerners."

Most studies of regional stereotypes have asked people to describe “southerners” in general, even though everyone knows that there are many different kinds of southerners. In particular, southern women have carried a heavy burden of image, some of it imposed by others, some of it self-inflicted. In September and October 1992, the University of North Carolina’s Southern Focus Poll conducted telephone interviews with 583 residents of southern states (Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Virginia) and 350 residents of non-southern states. The survey covered a variety of questions about the fall 1992 election and such public issues as taxation and pornography, but it also looked at Americans’ perceptions of the differences between southern women and other American women and what the basis of those perceptions might be.

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