Sabrina Lu Humanities and Social Science
Gender and Perceptions of Criminality
Empirical studies have revealed a wide range of racial and gender disparities in the American criminal justice system. People of color, specifically Black males, make up the majority of our prison population, but incarceration is vastly influenced by historical and societal ills that negatively impact minority groups. Through racial profiling and other forms of explicit and implicit biases, society creates and perpetuates stereotypes of people of color as deviant, dangerous, and criminal.
Gender stereotypes also impact perceptions of criminality. Aggression in males aligns with masculinity and is consistent with the male gender stereotype. However, aggression in females suggests deviation from femininity, which breaks from the female gender stereotype. Implications and effects of these gender differences should be studied through an intersectionality approach, which my project aims to take.
My experiment will manipulate gender (male or female) and type of crime (aggravated or non-aggravated robbery) to study the effects of gender stereotypes on participants perceptions of criminality. I will pursue the following questions: Would a male offender be perceived as more or less criminal than a female offender who committed the same crime under identical circumstances? Would the crimes severity or offenders gender impact perceptions of criminality?