Sex Roles

, Volume 80, Issue 5–6, pp 277–290 | Cite as

Feminist Identity in Men: Masculinity, Gender Roles, and Sexual Approaches in Feminist, Non-Feminist, and Unsure Men

  • Elisabeth R. Silver
  • Sara B. Chadwick
  • Sari M. van AndersEmail author
Original Research


Research on feminist identification in men has often focused on men who identify as feminist or who assert agreement with feminist goals. For some men, however, choices surrounding feminist self-identification may be uncertain in ways that are meaningful indicators of their beliefs and values. We hypothesized that men who were uncertain about their feminist identity held beliefs that fell between their feminist and non-feminist peers, representing a unique ideological position. We tested this possibility by comparing feminist, “unsure”, and non-feminist U. S. college (n = 533) and community (n = 277) men’s masculinity stress and conformity, gender role values, and approaches to sexual relationships. Results showed that unsure men’s gender role values fell between feminist and non-feminist men, but unsure men were more like feminists for some components of masculinity and more like non-feminists for others; on some constructs, feminist, unsure, and non-feminist men were similar. For sexual relationships, all men were equally invested in a sexual partner’s pleasure, but unsure men and feminist men were less concerned with receiving sexual favors in exchange compared to non-feminists. We discuss how acknowledgement of men’s uncertainty about their feminist identity may be useful for how researchers assess men’s relationship to feminism, how instructors teach men about feminism in classroom settings, and how activists involve men in the feminist movement.


Feminism Gender Men Masculinity Gender roles Sexual behavior 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

This research involves human participants, and was approved by the University of Michigan’s Institutional Review Board.

Conflict of Interest

We have no conflicts of interest to disclose.

Informed Consent

All participants provided informed consent.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Elisabeth R. Silver
    • 1
  • Sara B. Chadwick
    • 2
  • Sari M. van Anders
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Psychology & Women’s StudiesUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA
  3. 3.Departments of Psychology & Women’s Studies, Program in Neuroscience, Science, Technology, and Society Program, Reproductive Sciences ProgramUniversity of MichiganAnn ArborUSA

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