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Gender Presentation and Membership
Bias in Greek Organizations

By: Jason L. Metzger, Patrick Williams, Mailyn Chen, and Genie Chartier
Mentor: Dr. James Wright

Abstract

The study objective was to explore the possibility of discrimination and bias based on perceived gender presentation. In this study, subjects were female and male undergraduate students of both Greek and non-Greek affiliations at a University in the Southeastern United States. Subjects were asked to rate the probability of extending group membership to others based on perceived visual gender appearance. In the pilot study, 150 University of Central Florida students were polled to assess three categories of visual gender presentation in pictures: average gender presentation (typical female or male), extreme gender presentation (extremely feminine or extremely masculine) and non-traditional gender presentation (masculine females or effeminate males). Three pictures of each gender presentation category were then chosen for the final study. In both studies, The Crowne-Marlowe (1964) Social Desirability Scale (CMDS) was administered. Results indicated no difference in the ratings between Greek and non-Greek participants. However, the results did show a statistically significant bias against individuals of average and non-traditional gender presentation versus individuals who represented extreme gender presentation. Hence, subjects were more likely to extend membership to individuals who appeared to be extremely feminine or extremely masculine. There was also a statistically significant bias favoring average over non-traditional gender presentation individuals. Additionally, social desirability bias played a significant role in how subjects made their selection. The study not only shows significant relationships between gender presentation and discrimination, but also provides evidence that male students prefer hyper-masculine males and female students prefer hyper-feminine females.

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