Sex Roles

, Volume 59, Issue 5–6, pp 392–403 | Cite as

“Ain’t I a Woman?”: Towards an Intersectional Approach to Person Perception and Group-based Harms

  • Phillip Atiba Goff
  • Margaret A. Thomas
  • Matthew Christian Jackson
Original Article


Our research examines whether intersecting racial and gender identities affect person perception. Predominantly White undergraduates (292) from a large northeastern U.S. university categorized and rated pictures (Study 1) and videos (Study 2) of Black and White men and women. We supported three hypotheses: 1) intersectionality affects person perception processes, leading to gender categorization errors for Black women; 2) “Blackness” and “maleness” are highly associated for Black male and female targets; and, 3) women are perceived as unattractive proportionally to their perceived masculinity, leading Black women to be rated as less attractive than other women. We suggest that intersectional approaches are required in order to fully understand person perception. Further, the Black/male association may lead to unique harms for Black women.


Race Gender Intersectionality Person perception 



The authors thank Brooke Allison Lewis Di Leone for her assistance with the preparation of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Phillip Atiba Goff
    • 1
    • 3
  • Margaret A. Thomas
    • 2
  • Matthew Christian Jackson
    • 1
  1. 1.University of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.The Pennsylvania State UniversityPhiladelphiaUSA
  3. 3.Department of PsychologyUniversity of California, Los AngelesLos AngelesUSA

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