Researcher ORCID Identifier

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Date of Submission


Document Type

Campus Only Senior Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts



Reader 1

Gabbrielle Johnson

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@ 2024 Yunqing Han


In this paper, I examine ways to progress towards gender justice and more equitable representations of gender and gender expressions through two case studies: representations of gender in English pronouns and in embodiments of robots. For the pronouns case, I argue that we transition towards using a universal “they” for all modes of communication by adopting the universal “they” in spoken communications and maintaining a variety of pronouns in written communication. “They/them” would serve as a category that does not denote any gender, and 1) weaken the influence and presence of gender in daily conversations and 2) provide the same level of recognition and distinction for people’s gender identities to advance gender justice while we have gender categories. For the robot case, I argue that we should add robots that possess a mix of feminine and masculine features to our current array of robots. This is because we cannot achieve full gender (expression) neutrality in robot appearance like we could for pronouns. We are empirically found to attribute gender to robots even if they are designed to be neutral. So, creating robots that would proliferate the representation of gender (expressions) would be the next best strategy for weakening the role of binary gender norms and for recognizing individuals of nonbinary genders and non-conforming expressions equally with others. I hope these two proposals can serve as a starting point to other facets of gender (expression) representations. We would apply the neutralizing approach for pronouns to cases where undermining gender through the elimination of gender from the conversation is possible. We would apply the mixed-approach for robots to proliferate the representations we have for gender (expression) beyond the binary and weaken the influence of gender in cases where taking gender out altogether is difficult.

This thesis is restricted to the Claremont Colleges current faculty, students, and staff.