Of the many systems of social organization which members of US society use to categorize other members, gender is one of the most important. The gender system operates to place members of US society into categories, and then allocate labor and resources to those members on the basis of their category membership. In order to better understand the gender system, this study examines the methods by which members of US society use the gender system to place other members into a gender category. First, full facial photographs were taken of a group of participants of varying gender, race, ethnicity, and age. Then, parts of each participant's face were isolated digitally and shown to a second group of participants. This second group was asked to identify the sex and/or gender of the individual in the image, indicate how confident they were in this identification, and then write a brief explanation for why they identified the individual in the image as they did. The analysis conducted by this study supports three findings. First, though the gender categories "male" and "female" are still widely predominant, other categories such as "genderqueer" are seeing use as well. Second, the mouth and lips tend to be seen as more important indicators of gender than other facial features. Finally, while the race and gender category membership of the member doing the categorizing has little or no interaction with the gender categorization process, the race and gender category membership of the member being categorized does have a significant interaction.
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Bachelor of Arts (B.A.)
College of Sciences
Dissertations, Academic -- Sciences;Sciences -- Dissertations, Academic
Length of Campus-only Access
Honors in the Major Thesis
Simpkins, Joshua J., "The role of facial appearance in gender categorization" (2011). HIM 1990-2015. 1184.