Feminists who flaunt it: exploring the enjoyment of sexualization among young feminist women

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Abstract

The phenomenon of women enjoying sexualized male attention has recently been operationalized and found to be related to primarily traditional and sexist beliefs, but some argue that enjoying sexiness can be a feminist act. This study assessed the extent to which 326 self-identified heterosexual feminist women reported that they enjoyed sexualization and how this related to beliefs about the need for social change. Results indicated that enjoying sexualization was related to a mix of feminist and traditional beliefs. Paradoxically, feminists who enjoyed sexualization felt empowered but were less likely to notice personal social injustice or continued gender inequity. Whether embracing empowered sexuality is related to a more general gender empowerment is discussed.

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