Sex Roles

, Volume 57, Issue 11–12, pp 787–799 | Cite as

The Interpersonal Power of Feminism: Is Feminism Good for Romantic Relationships?

Original Article

Abstract

Past research suggests that women and men alike perceive feminism and romance to be in conflict (Rudman and Fairchild, Psychol Women Q, 31:125–136, 2007). A survey of US undergraduates (N = 242) and an online survey of older US adults (N = 289) examined the accuracy of this perception. Using self-reported feminism and perceived partners’ feminism as predictors of relationship health, results revealed that having a feminist partner was linked to healthier relationships for women. Additionally, men with feminist partners reported greater relationship stability and sexual satisfaction in the online survey. Finally, there was no support for negative feminist stereotypes (i.e., that feminists are single, lesbians, or unattractive). In concert, the findings reveal that beliefs regarding the incompatibility of feminism and romance are inaccurate.

Keywords

Feminism Close relationships Feminist stereotypes Intergroup relations Gender attitudes 

References

  1. Aronson, P. (2003). Feminists or “postfeminists”? Young women’s attitudes toward feminism and gender relations. Gender & Society, 17, 903–922.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Attridge, M., Berscheid, E., & Simpson, J. A. (1995). Predicting relationship stability from both partners versus one. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 69, 254–268.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bell, D., & Klein, R. (1996). Radically speaking: Feminism reclaimed. Victoria, Australia: Spinifex.Google Scholar
  4. Buschman, J. K., & Lenart, S. (1996). “I am not a feminist, but…”: College women, feminism, and negative experiences. Political Psychology, 17, 59–75.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Byrne, D. (1971). The attraction paradigm. NY: Academic.Google Scholar
  6. Cohen, J. (1988). Statistical power for the behavioral sciences. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  7. Darlington, R. B. (1968). Multiple regression in psychological research and practice. Psychological Bulletin, 69, 161–182.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. De Beauvoir, S. (1952). The second sex. NY: Alfred A. Knopf.Google Scholar
  9. Eagly, A. H. (1987). Sex differences in social behavior: A social role interpretation. Hillsdale, NJ: Erlbaum.Google Scholar
  10. Faludi, S. (1991). The undeclared war against American women. New York: Crown.Google Scholar
  11. Firestone, S. (1970). The dialectic of sex: The case for a feminist revolution. NY: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux.Google Scholar
  12. Fiske, S. T., & Stevens, L. E. (1993). What’s so special about sex? Gender stereotyping and discrimination. In S. Oskamp, & M. Costanzo (Eds.) Gender issues in contemporary society (pp. 173–196). Newbury Park, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  13. Frieze, I. H., Sales, E., & Smith, C. (1991). Considering the social context in gender research: The impact of college students’ life stage. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15, 371–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (1996). The ambivalent sexism inventory: Differentiating hostile and benevolent sexism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 70, 491–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Goldberg, P. A., Gottesdiener, M., & Abramson, P. R. (1975). Another put-down of women? Perceived attractiveness as a function of support for the feminist movement. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 32, 113–115.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Haddock, G., & Zanna, M. P. (1994). Preferring housewives to feminists: Categorization and the favorability of attitudes toward women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 18, 25–52.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Henik, A., & Tzelgov, J. (1985). Control of halo error: A multiple regression approach. Journal of Applied Psychology, 70, 577–580.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Holland, D. C. (1992). How cultural systems become desire: A case study of American romance. In R. G. D’Andrade, & C. Strauss (Eds.) Human motives and cultural models (pp. 61–89). New York: Cambridge University Press.Google Scholar
  19. Holland, D. C., & Eisenhart, M. A. (1990). Educated in romance: Women, achievement, and college culture. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  20. Impett, E. A., & Peplau, L. A. (2003). Sexual compliance: Gender, motivational, and relationship perspectives. Journal of Sex Research, 40, 87–100.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  21. Johnson, P. (1976). Women and power: Toward a theory of effectiveness. Journal of Social Issues, 32, 99–110.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Levy, A. (2005). Female chauvinist pigs: Women and the rise of raunch culture. New York: Free Press.Google Scholar
  23. McNulty, J. K., & Karney, B. R. (2004). Positive expectations in the early years of marriage: Should couples expect the best or brace for the worst? Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 86, 729–743.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Millet, K. (1970). Sexual politics. NY: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  25. Misciagno, P. S. (1997). Rethinking feminist identification: The case for de facto feminism. Westport, CT: Praeger.Google Scholar
  26. Pedhazur, E. J. (1982). Multiple regression in behavioral research: Explanation and prediction (2nd ed.). Fort Worth, TX: Holt, Rhinhart, & Winston.Google Scholar
  27. Renzetti, C. M. (1987). New wave or second stage? Attitudes of college women toward feminism. Sex Roles, 16, 265–277.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Rich, E. (2005). Young women, feminist identities and neo-liberalism. Women’s Studies International Forum, 28, 495–508.Google Scholar
  29. Riger, S. (1993). What’s wrong with empowerment? American Journal of Community Psychology, 21, 279–292.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Rudman, L. A., & Fairchild, K. (2007). The F word: Is feminism incompatible with beauty and romance? Psychology of Women Quarterly, 31, 125–136.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Rudman, L. A., & Heppen, J. (2003). Implicit romantic fantasies and women’s interest in personal power: A glass slipper effect? Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 29, 1357–1370.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Sanchez, D., Crocker, J., & Boike, K. R. (2005). Doing gender in the bedroom: Investing in gender norms and the sexual experience. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 31, 1445–1455.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Schneider, B. (1988). Political generations and the contemporary women’s movement. Sociological Inquiry, 58, 4–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sedikides, C., Oliver, M. B., & Campbell, W. K. (1994). Perceived benefits and costs of romantic relationships for women and men: Implications for exchange theory. Personal Relationships, 1, 5–21.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sigel, R. (1996). Ambition and accommodation: How women view gender relations. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  36. Smith, E. R., Becker, M. A., Byrne, D., & Przybyla, D. P. (1993). Sexual attitudes of males and females as predictors of interpersonal attraction and marital compatibility. Journal of Applied Social Psychology, 23, 1011–1034.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Smith, E. R., Byrne, D., & Fielding, P. J. (1995). Interpersonal attraction as a function of extreme gender role adherence. Personal Relationships, 2, 161–172.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Swim, J. K., Ferguson, M. J., & Hyers, L. L. (1999). Avoiding stigma by association: Subtle prejudice against lesbians in the form of social distancing. Basic and Applied Social Psychology, 21, 61–68.Google Scholar
  39. Taylor, J. K. (1992). Reclaiming the mainstream: Individualist feminism rediscovered. Amherst, NY: Prometheus Books.Google Scholar
  40. Unger, R. K., Hilderbrand, M., & Madar, T. (1982). Physical attractiveness and assumptions about social deviance: Some sex-by-sex comparisons. Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, 8, 293–301.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Valian, V. (1999). Why so slow? The advancement of women. Cambridge, MA: The MIT Press.Google Scholar
  42. Vangelisti, A. L., & Daly, J. A. (1997). Gender differences in standards for romantic relationships. Personal Relationships, 4, 203–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Williams, R., & Wittig, M. A. (1997). “I’m not a feminist, but…”: Factors contributing to the discrepancy between pro-feminist orientation and feminist social identity. Sex Roles, 37, 885–904.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Zucker, A. N. (2004). Disavowing social identities: What it means when women say, “I’m not a feminist but…”. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 28, 423–435.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyRutgers UniversityPiscatawayUSA

Personalised recommendations