What is gender and how do black youth perceive and experience it? This paper reviews recent empirical research on gender roles in black communities, paying special attention to young people. I begin this paper with a discussion of what the word “ gender” means. I then discuss existing measures of gender role attitudes and their applicability to black youth. From there, I review major empirical studies that help us to understand how gender plays out in everyday life for black youth, focusing on the following areas: gender roles, perceived gender discrimination and stratification, the influence of race and gender on political opinion and behavior, single parenting, and body image. This review of the literature concludes that there is little work focusing solely on black gender roles, and that which does usually confines its sample to the adult population. There is important work to be done on the gender role attitudes of black youth.
Marissa Guerrero is a political science PhD student at the University of Chicago, specializing in the field of American Politics. Her general interests include race, feminist political theory, media analysis, and historical approaches to political questions. Specifically, she is interested in interrogating the assumptions about women’s reproduction that shape policies concerning sex (such as abstinence-only education) and those that are seemingly unrelated (mainly, social welfare policy).