A new study finds that even when you look at only the top 1 percent of individuals in a large survey, the average American does not identify themselves as male or female.
But if you examine the average of all Americans who identify themselves in the survey, they do.
Researchers at the Southern Career Institute, an academic and research institute, analyzed the enigmas of the top 100,000 individuals in the U.S. to understand how individuals in these top 10 percent identify themselves.
Their research found that the top 10% identified themselves in ways that were at odds with their gender identity, and they also exhibited gender bias.
In fact, the top 5% of individuals who identified themselves as males and female were more likely to have their gender expression displayed as masculine or feminine, while the top 3% of males and females who identified as male and female displayed a more ambiguous gender expression.
This pattern was not found in the top 25% of Americans.
These results show that there is a real gender gap in the United States, and the more the top 20 percent of Americans identify themselves, the more likely they are to exhibit gender-based gender stereotypes.
What this means is that even though individuals in higher levels of the social strata in the country identify as male, they are more likely than those in the lower strata to identify themselves with gender stereotypes, and this is reflected in the gender bias found in our society.
“It is a matter of growing up and accepting that we are a society that does not recognize that individuals can and do change their gender, and it is a very difficult process,” said Dr. John J. Galvin, one of the study’s authors and a professor of sociology at the University of Southern California.
“And this is the first study that has found this in this large and representative sample of individuals.
It’s really important to acknowledge that this is not an issue of people who are male or feminine and being forced to live with it, but rather that we have to do the hard work to acknowledge this and to recognize that there are different ways of being a man or woman.”
Galvin, a co-author of the paper and a sociology professor at Southern California, said that while it is not yet clear how the findings of the survey affect our societal norms, the study should not be seen as a definitive indictment of the idea of gender fluidity.
“I would say that this paper is not a definitive, scientific statement of what the gender-diversity issue is, but it is an interesting study that is suggestive of the kind of issues that might be considered as a topic of public discourse,” Galvin said.
The researchers say that it is important to remember that these findings are based on the very small sample of people surveyed, and that even if the results hold up, it is difficult to say whether the phenomenon of gender-fluidity is a significant phenomenon.
Dr. Christine A. McConkie, a gender and women’s studies professor at the City University of New York, called the study a good first step.
“This research does provide important data that suggest there are issues of gender in our world and that people are not happy with their bodies, and I think that’s very important for a lot of the people who might be thinking about transitioning,” McConnie said.
McConkie added that it may be a matter for each individual to decide whether to transition and to explore the possibility of other avenues.
“I think that is going to be the challenge of the next few years is figuring out what kind of policies and policies are necessary in this country,” McConnkie said.
Galvin agrees that there should be more research on the issue of gender.
“The idea of this is that we all have different ideas about what we want and how we want to be treated and what kind we should be allowed to be in our body and what role we should have in our lives, so that we don’t end up in this very awkward place where we just have to pretend to be something that we’re not,” Galvis said.
But he added that the study does offer an important insight into the way that individuals in certain socioeconomic classes and groups of people are interacting with the way society values their bodies.
“The idea that people have to have this kind of identity in order to be successful, and people don’t have to make a choice about their gender that they think is the right one, is a little bit more complicated than that,” Galvins said.
“What this study shows is that there’s a lot that we can learn from these findings about how to address these issues, because it’s not about the ideal, it’s about the real thing.”
The study, “What does the enigmasy of gender mean to you?” was published in the August edition of the Journal of Social and Clinical Psychology.
Follow Elizabeth Kreiter on Twitter at @ElizabethKreiter.