DOI: 10.1177/1532673x231220648 ISSN: 1532-673X

An Intersectional Exploration of Psychological Violence, Threats, and Physical Violence of Mayors in 2021

Rebekah Herrick, Sue Thomas
  • Sociology and Political Science

Using an original dataset, we offer an intersectional exploration of psychological violence, threats, and physical violence against U.S. mayors in 2021 in cities of 10,000+ in population. We also explore violence that is gendered and raced. Overall, we find significant and meaningful differences among gender/race groups. Women of color and non-Hispanic white women faced higher rates of threats, gendered, and sexualized violence than men, and women of color were the only mayors to report heightened levels of gendered and raced violence. Non-Hispanic white women mayors were distinctive in that they reported higher levels of psychological violence, including being criticized for their appearance and perceptions that they were too emotional, but were least likely to be called sexist. These findings suggest that there are race- and gender-based costs of holding office. If so, the effects on democratic representation and the benefits from representational diversity will be forfeited.