Miriam Liss and Mindy J. Erchull, Department of Psychology, University of Mary Washington.
EVERYONE FEELS EMPOWERED: UNDERSTANDING FEMINIST SELF-LABELING
Article first published online: 8 FEB 2010
© 2010 Division 35, American Psychological Association
Psychology of Women Quarterly
Volume 34, Issue 1, pages 85–96, March 2010
How to Cite
Liss, M. and Erchull, M. J. (2010), EVERYONE FEELS EMPOWERED: UNDERSTANDING FEMINIST SELF-LABELING. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 34: 85–96. doi: 10.1111/j.1471-6402.2009.01544.x
- Issue published online: 8 FEB 2010
- Article first published online: 8 FEB 2010
- Initial submission: January 21, 2009Initial acceptance: July 31, 2009Final acceptance: September 28, 2009
Research findings raise questions about whether the feminist identity development model provides information about women's social identification as a feminist. Specifically, the penultimate stage, Synthesis, has been theorized to capture when feminist identity formation coalesces and women take on the feminist label. However, available data have suggested this stage may not be related to feminist self-labeling, calling for a better understanding of the variables associated with identifying oneself as a feminist. An online questionnaire was administered to 653 female self-identified feminists and nonfeminists in order to investigate the association between feminist self-labeling and Synthesis scores and to better understand what it means to take on the social identity of a feminist. Feminist self-labeling was not associated with Synthesis; however, women who self-labeled as feminists were more likely to acknowledge the existence of sexism, view the current gender system as unjust, and believe that women should work together in order to enact change. Synthesis was related to a combination of feminism- and conservatism-related constructs. Women high in Synthesis viewed the current gender system as just yet also believed that women should work together to enact change. We discuss the paradox represented by this combination of beliefs as well as their implications for the feminist identity development model and the women's movement in general.