Intersecting Cultural Beliefs in Social Relations: Gender, Race, and Class Binds and Freedoms

Cecilia L. Ridgeway, Tamar Kricheli-Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


We develop an evidence-based theoretical account of how widely shared cultural beliefs about gender, race, and class intersect in interpersonal and other social relational contexts in the United States to create characteristic cultural "binds" and freedoms for actors in those contexts. We treat gender, race, and class as systems of inequality that are culturally constructed as distinct but implicitly overlap through their defining beliefs, which reflect the perspectives of dominant groups in society. We cite evidence for the contextually contingent interactional "binds" and freedoms this creates for people such as Asian men, Black women, and poor whites who are not prototypical of images embedded in cultural gender, race, and class beliefs. All forms of unprototypicality create "binds," but freedoms result from being unprototypical of disadvantaging rather than advantaging statuses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)294-318
Number of pages25
JournalGender and Society
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2013


  • class
  • gender
  • race
  • social psychology
  • theory

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Gender Studies
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science


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