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Thinking of Others: Feminist Identification and the Perception of Others’ Beliefs

Abstract

Previous research has shown that most women in the United States support feminist goals but do not label themselves as feminists. Concern over other people’s opinions of feminists may predict rejection of the feminist label. In the present study we predicted that feminists would be more likely than non-feminists to believe that other people view feminists favorably. One hundred seventy-one female participants completed the Berryman-Fink Semantic Differential Scale twice, once to indicate how they view feminists and again to indicate how they believe others view feminists. Contrary to our hypothesis, all women, regardless of feminist identification, believed that others view feminists negatively and as more likely to be homosexual than heterosexual. Relationships between participants’ own views of feminists and their perceptions of others’ views of feminists were explored. Transformative experiences that may lead a feminist to ignore their perception of society’s views are discussed.

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Correspondence to Mindy J. Erchull.

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Ramsey, L.R., Haines, M.E., Hurt, M.M. et al. Thinking of Others: Feminist Identification and the Perception of Others’ Beliefs. Sex Roles 56, 611–616 (2007). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11199-007-9205-5

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Keywords

  • Feminism
  • Identity
  • Public and private regard