Advertisement

Sex Roles

, Volume 60, Issue 11–12, pp 832–842 | Cite as

The Feminist Identity Development Model: Relevant for Young Women Today?

  • Mindy J. ErchullEmail author
  • Miriam Liss
  • Katherine A. Wilson
  • Lindsey Bateman
  • Ashleigh Peterson
  • Clare E. Sanchez
Original Article

Abstract

We explored whether the Downing and Roush model of feminist identity development is relevant for young women today. Two-hundred seventeen older and younger feminists and non-feminists were recruited on a college campus and online in the United States. They completed, online, the Feminist Identity Composite and reported whether they would have endorsed items for each stage more strongly in the past. Qualitative data was collected about prior stage experience. Older feminists scored higher in active commitment, and younger feminists scored higher in revelation. Feminist self-identification did not relate to synthesis scores, and young women high in synthesis did not report much prior stage experience. We postulate that synthesis is a starting point for young women, rather than an ending point.

Keywords

Feminist self-identification Feminist identity development Feminist identity composite (FIC) Second wave feminism Synthesis 

Notes

Acknowledgements

The authors wish to thank their undergraduate research assistants, Jaime Pimsler and Filla Baliwag, who worked extensively on the coding of the qualitative data included in this paper.

References

  1. Bargad, A., & Hyde, J. (1991). Women’s studies: A study of feminist identity development in women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 15, 181–121.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Crawford, M. (2006). Transformations: Women, gender, and psychology. New York: McGraw Hill.Google Scholar
  3. Cross, W. E. (1971). Negro-to-black conversion experience: Toward a psychology of black liberation. Black World, 5, 13–31.Google Scholar
  4. Downing, N. E., & Roush, K. L. (1985). From passive acceptance to active commitment: A model of feminist identity development for women. The Counseling Psychologist, 13, 695–709.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Edley, N., & Wetherell, M. (2001). Jekyll and Hyde: Men’s constructions of feminism and feminists. Feminism & Psychology, 11, 439–457.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Erchull, M. J., & Rubin, L. (2004). Is feminism dead? Contemporary perceptions of feminism and women’s issues. In C. Nemeroff (Chair), Feminist attitudes, beliefs, and identity: Theory and practice. Symposium presented at the annual meeting of the Western Psychological Association, Phoenix, AZ. April.Google Scholar
  7. Faludi, S. (1991). Backlash: The undeclared war against American women. New York: Doubleday.Google Scholar
  8. Fisher, A. R., Tokar, D. M., Mergl, M. M., Good, G. E., Hill, M. S., & Blum, S. A. (2000). Assessing women’s feminist identity development: Studies of convergent, discriminant, and structural validity. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 24, 15–30.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Gertsmann, E. A., & Kramer, D. A. (1997). Feminist identity development: Analysis of two feminist identity scales. Sex Roles, 36, 327–348.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 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
  11. Glick, P., & Fiske, S. T. (2001). An ambivalent alliance: Hostile and benevolent sexism as complimentary justifications for gender inequality. The American Psychologist, 56, 109–118.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Gutek, B. A. (2001). Women and paid work. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 25, 379–393.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Haines, M. E., Erchull, M. J., Liss, M., Turner, D. L., Nelson, J. A., Ramsey, L. R., et al. (2008). Predictors and effects of self-objectification in lesbians. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 32, 181–187.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Horne, S., Matthews, S., & Detrie, P. (2001). Look it up under ‘F’: Dialogues of emerging and experienced feminists. Women & Therapy, 23, 5–18.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Huddy, L., Neely, F. K., & Lafay, M. R. (2000). The polls—trends: Support for the women’s movement. Public Opinion Quarterly, 64, 309–350.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Juntunen, C. L., Atkinson, D. R., Reyes, C., & Gutierrez, M. (1994). Feminist identity and feminist therapy behaviors of women psychotherapists. Psychotherapy (Chicago, Ill.), 31, 327–333.Google Scholar
  17. Liss, M., Crawford, M., & Popp, D. (2004). Predictors and correlates of collective action. Sex Roles, 50, 771–779.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Liss, M., O’Connor, C., Morosky, E., & Crawford, M. (2001). What makes a feminist? Predictors and correlates of feminist social identity in college women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 25, 124–133.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Moradi, B., & Subich, L. M. (2002). Feminist identity development measures: Comparing the psychometrics of three instruments. The Counseling Psychologist, 30, 66–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Moradi, B., Subich, L. M., & Phillips, J. C. (2002). Revisiting feminist identity development theory, research, and practice. The Counseling Psychologist, 30, 6–43.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Rickard, K. M. (1989). The relationship of self-monitored dating behaviors to level of feminist identity on the feminist identity scale. Sex Roles, 20, 213–226.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Rickard, K. M. (1990). The effect of feminist identity level on gender prejudice toward artists’ illustrations. Journal of Research in Personality, 24, 145–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Saunders, K. J., & Kashubeck-West, S. (2006). The relations among feminist identity development, gender-role orientation, and psychological well-being in women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 30, 199–211.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Snyder, R., & Hasbrouck, L. (1996). Feminist identity, gender traits, and symptoms of disturbed eating among college women. Psychology of Women Quarterly, 20, 593–598.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Swim, J. K., Aikin, K. J., Hall, W. S., & Hunter, B. A. (1995). Sexism and racism: Old-fashioned and modern prejudices. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 68, 199–214.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Szymanski, D. M. (2004). Relations among dimensions of feminism and internalized heterosexism in lesbians and bisexual women. Sex Roles, 51, 145–159.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Unger, R. K. (1998). Resisting gender: Twenty-five years of feminist psychology. London: Sage.Google Scholar
  28. Vaughn, L. M., Lansky, L. M., & Rawlings, E. I. (1996). Women’s sexual arousal and affect. The effect of feminist identification and male dominant versus female dominant sexual scenarios. The Canadian Journal of Human Sexuality, 5, 169–183.Google Scholar
  29. 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 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mindy J. Erchull
    • 1
    Email author
  • Miriam Liss
    • 1
  • Katherine A. Wilson
    • 1
  • Lindsey Bateman
    • 1
  • Ashleigh Peterson
    • 1
  • Clare E. Sanchez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Mary WashingtonFredericksburgUSA

Personalised recommendations