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THE F WORD: IS FEMINISM INCOMPATIBLE WITH BEAUTY AND ROMANCE?

Authors


  • Laurie A. Rudman and Kimberly Fairchild, Department of Psychology, Rutgers University.

  • This research was partially supported by Grant BCS-0417335 from the National Science Foundation. We thank Gloria Cowan, Peter Glick, Diana Sanchez, and Jayne Stake for their helpful comments.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to: Laurie A. Rudman, Department of Psychology, Tillett Hall, Rutgers University, 53 Avenue E, Piscataway, NJ 08854-8040. E-mail: rudman@rci.rutgers.edu

Abstract

Three studies examined the predictive utility of heterosexual relationship concerns vis-à-vis support for feminism. Study 1 showed that beauty is perceived to be at odds with feminism, for both genders. The stereotype that feminists are unattractive was robust, but fully accounted for by romance-related attributions. Moreover, more attractive female participants (using self-ratings) showed decreased feminist orientations, compared with less attractive counterparts. Study 2 compared romantic conflict with the lesbian feminist stereotype and found more support for romantic conflict as a negative predictor of support for feminism and women's civil rights. Study 3 showed that beliefs about an incompatibility between feminism and sexual harmony negatively predicted support for feminism and women's civil rights. In concert, the findings indicate that a marriage between research on romantic relationships and the factors underlying sexism is overdue for understanding gender inequities.

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