The relationship between gender social identity and support for feminism

the relationship between gender social identity and support for feminism

Measures of social identification, sex-role ideology, and the on the relationships between aspects of identity and gender-related For example, the extent to which women's social identity predicts support for feminist causes. Women showed less support for social competition and social creativity beliefs .. Table Correlations between Gender Identification Scales and Ingroup Social reported how they have become involved with feminist issues as a result of. whether or not there are relationships among gender role identity, support for measures concerned gender social identity (group), rather than gender role.

An important aspect of the reasoning we present here is that an individual is not entirely free to construct the meaning of group membership as they please. Instead, the meaning of group membership is constructed at the societal level and to a large extent socially shared Moscovici, ; Crocker, We are interested in how people respond to the social construction of a group to which they belong.

We believe that considering identification with women and identification with feminists as separable components of gender identity can offer interesting new perspectives on attitudes toward gender group membership. The idea that gender identity is multidimensional is reflected in many different models Condor, ; Cameron and Lalonde, ; Egan and Perry, ; Becker and Wagner,and an important question arising from such approaches is how the dimensions combine and interact.

Many models Condor, ; Henderson-King and Stewart, ; Cameron and Lalonde, discuss evidence that high identification with women can be combined with different gender ideologies e. However, if the gender dimensions are seen as independent, then this means that it should also be possible for the same feminist ideology to be combined with both high and low identification with women.

Yet, few models discuss this option. One influential model that has explicitly conceptualized gender identity as composed of two independent dimensions is the Gender Identity Model GIM, Becker and Wagner, The GIM aims to explain endorsement of sexism and support for collective action, and distinguishes between 1 identity content, a preference for traditional vs.

That is, though the GIM postulates two independent dimensions, only one of these dimensions is a content dimension traditional vs. In the current studies we propose that identification with women not only reflects identity strength but also has implications for the content of gender identity. That is, our approach incorporates content for both dimensions.

Specifically, we suggest that the content associated with identification with women centers on group characteristics and attributes: For instance, key group attributes may include being warm and caring Fiske et al. Although identity content is likely to be socially shared to some degree, individuals can differ in the extent to which they accept or internalize society's view of the group, which is reflected in their degree of identification Ellemers et al.

There is evidence that those who identify strongly with their group are more likely to self-stereotype, and consider themselves more typical of the group Turner et al. However, those who were strongly identified with women were more likely to say that positive traits that defined the group also defined themselves Chen et al.

Based on these previous findings, we suggest that the content associated with identification with women is socially constructed around group characteristics. Those who are highly identified with women place high importance on traits and characteristics that society considers gender-typical, which we expect to translate to increased tendencies to self-stereotype, and increased perceptions of femininity, compared to those who are less strongly identified with women.

Alongside the characteristics associated with the group, the meaning of group membership also includes the place of the group within the larger social system Livingstone et al.

What does it mean to be a woman in terms of relative status, social in equality, and disadvantage? We argue that attitudes toward such politicized identity content are reflected in identification with feminists. In line with this notion, previous research has shown that identification with feminists is related to increased perceptions of sexism in society Henderson-King and Stewart,discontent with current power distributions and the status quo Reid and Purcell,and increased involvement in collective action Liss et al.

Based on these previous findings, we argue that the content of feminist identification is socially constructed around disapproval of the disadvantaged social position of women as a group.

An individual's degree of identification with feminists reflects the importance they place on these issues. Those who are strongly identified with feminists have internalized the values of feminism, reject the gender status quo, and consider women to be disadvantaged in comparison to men.

In sum, we propose that identification with women and identification with feminists reflect attitudes toward different components of the social construction of gender. If we think of identification with women as relating to what the group is, then we can think of identification with feminists as relating to how the group is doing in relation to other groups.

The level of identification with each of these identities reflects the extent to which a person has accepted and internalized the content associated with that identity. This indicates that high identification with women does not automatically translate to increased support for collective action, and when collective action seems to contradict social definitions of femininity radicalhigher identification with women is associated with somewhat reduced support for such actions.

In addition to these additive effects we also considered the possibility of an interaction between identification with women and identification with feminists, but there was no evidence for this. In sum, Study 2 shows that support for moderate collective action increases with identification with feminists, but is not related to identification with women. Support for radical collective action is highest amongst those women who identify strongly with feminists but not women, due to additive effects of identification with women and identification with feminists.

Study 3 Study 3 examines another domain expected to relate to both identification with women and identification with feminists: Study 1 showed that identification with feminists is related to concern for the societal position of women. As stereotypes are often used to legitimize the gender hierarchy Jost and Kay, ; Rudman and Glick, they can be seen as unfair and disadvantageous for women.

Therefore, it is likely that those who are strongly identified with feminists find gender stereotypes more problematic than those who are less strongly identified with feminists. At the same time, gender stereotypes provide information about which behaviors are considered typical and appropriate for the group Prentice and Carranza,and provide a basis for differentiation from out-groups Spears et al.

Given that Study 1 showed that identification with women is related to attitudes toward group characteristics, it is likely that those who are strongly identified with women find gender stereotypes less problematic than those for whom identification with women is lower.

Thus, we might expect additive effects of identification with women and identification with feminists on perceptions of gender stereotypes. However, we might also expect identification with women and identification with feminists to interact.

the relationship between gender social identity and support for feminism

Specifically, we argue that the effect of identification with feminists on critical attitudes toward gender stereotypes will be stronger amongst those for whom group characteristics are less important to their identity lower identification with women. In other words, because those who are less strongly identified with women attach less importance to typical group characteristics and attributes, identification with feminists more easily leads to criticism of gender stereotypes, because there is no conflict between the two motivations.

This line of reasoning suggests that identification with feminists leads to critical attitudes toward stereotypes, particularly for lower levels of identification with women. This study uses an experimental design to examine the hypothesis that attitudes toward gender stereotypes are predicted by identification with women, identification with feminists, and their interaction.

Identification with women and feminists are measured continuously, as in Studies 1 and 2. Attitudes toward gender stereotypes are assessed with a direct self-report measure, as well as an indirect measure. The indirect measure of attitudes toward gender stereotypes exposes participants to a within-participants manipulation in which two women express different views of gender stereotypes: The dimension of interest is differences in participants' agreement with one speaker over the other.

Method Participants A community sample of female participants was recruited through ProlificAcademic. Age ranged from 16 years old to 68 years old, with a mean age of Eight participants were excluded because their completion times exceeded the mean completion time by more than 3 SD, indicating that they had not completed the study in one sitting.

Six participants were excluded because they failed the attention check. Three further participants indicated that they had trouble understanding the questions, and were also excluded. The final sample included participants. Manipulation We created a within-participants manipulation that presented participants with a conversation between two women. The manipulated factor is the attitudes expressed by each of these women: Each speaker made 2 arguments.

The anti-stereotype speaker argues that stereotypes are problematic because they legitimize and exacerbate disadvantage faced by women. The pro-stereotype speaker argues that stereotypes in themselves are not always negative. Thus, we created a within-participants manipulation with 2 levels anti-stereotype vs pro-stereotype.

As a dependent variable we then measured the extent to which our participants agreed with each of the speakers see details below. In sum, this measure was designed as an indirect measure of participants' views of gender stereotypes.

Dependent Variables Ratings of speakers After reading the manipulation, participants rated the speakers on how much they agreed with them, how considerate, friendly and intelligent they found them, and how much they liked them. We expected that ratings of the speakers would be affected by the interaction between identification with women and identification with feminists, such that higher identification with feminists leads to a preference for the anti-stereotype speaker over the pro-stereotype speaker, and that this relationship becomes stronger for lower levels of identification with women.

Threats to Feminist Identity and Reactions to Gender Discrimination

This measure was analyzed with multiple regression analysis. As Graff put it: Several large feminist organizations exist in Poland, including eFKa www. Despite its unique history, Polish feminism bears some similarities to the movements in countries with a longer feminist tradition Graff First, it uses third wave tactics such as irony and pop cultural references; Graff although it is focused on issues and goals associated with second wave feminism.

A major concern of Polish feminists has traditionally centered on abortion rights, but domestic violence, employment equality, and issues of political representation have made their way to the agenda Graff Second, despite being a relatively young movement in the Polish society, it is experiencing anti-feminist backlash Bystydzienski ; Graff Moreover, it has the potential to provide information about feminism in the understudied post-Communist region notable exceptions of studies from Sex Roles include Henderson-King and Zhermeron Russia, and Mathews et al.

Feminist Identity and Gender Discrimination The embattled state of both the historical and contemporary term across the world notwithstanding, feminist attitudes are generally defined as beliefs in the goal of gender equality in the social system Williams and Wittig ; Zucker Feminist identity, on the other hand, is typically defined as a collective or social identity Burn et al.

Feminist identification among women reflects identity of a woman and a feminist. Indeed, feminist self-identification is not only a predictor of feminist attitudes but has also been shown to be a predictor of collective action on behalf of women in the U. Breinlinger and Kelly ; Cowan et al. For example, Zucker found that U. Feminist identity, then, constitutes a special case of female identity organized around endorsement of equal rights for women e.

At the same time, feminist identity has classically been defined in opposition to some specific worldviews, such as conservative ideology see Liss et al. Because of their self-definition against traditionalism and political conservatism, feminists might be likely to engage in differentiation Jetten et al. Thus, feminists may see conservative women as out-group members.

Previous studies demonstrate that members of in-groups and out-groups who experience discrimination are responded to differently.

the relationship between gender social identity and support for feminism

Several studies conducted in the U. This is most likely when the situation is unambiguous Dodd et al. We hypothesize that feminists will show more support to discrimination victim when they believe she holds feminist views but their response will be less positive when the victim is believed to hold conservative views on gender relations.

Threats to Feminist Identity Similar to other movements that represent disadvantaged groups, feminism is a frequent target of backlash criticism in the U.

This is reflected in negative stereotypes about feminists that are similar in content to those prevalent in the U. The contentious position of the term is one reason that some women, despite favoring feminist goals, might be hesitant to call themselves feminists a phenomenon noted e.

Backlash criticism reflects a threat to the value of feminist group membership see Branscombe et al. In this paper we examine the consequences of such value threat to feminist identity for reactions of feminists to gender discrimination against women who do or do not share feminist views. Prior research conducted in the U. Moreover, value threats to group identity may cause group members especially the high identifiers to stress group homogeneity, cohesiveness, and loyalty as shown in the Netherlands, Doosje et al.

It is possible that threat to feminist identity has the potential to strengthen the organizing value of the group: In cases of gender discrimination, therefore, the experience of a threat to feminist identity may cause feminists to become even more sensitive to situations of gender discrimination and more supportive to its victims. However, an alternative perspective is that threat to group value may lead to an increase in intergroup differentiation and in-group enhancement demonstrated in the U.

Hence, threats to feminist identity may increase the salience of feminist identity over the female identity and, thus, strengthen the distinction between feminist in-group and conservative out-group. Therefore, when feminist identity is threatened, feminists might be motivated to emphasize the differences between those who do and do not share their worldview. If this is the case, especially under conditions of threat, reactions to gender-based discrimination may depend on the perceived social identity of the victim.

If the victim shares a feminist worldview i.

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However, if the victim holds conservative beliefs on gender roles and relations, identity threat may lead feminists to interpret the gender discrimination situation as less unfair and, thus, express less compassion for the victim. Overview of the Study The aim of the present study is to investigate the conditions that could moderate reactions of Polish self-identified feminists to gender discrimination.

Threats to Feminist Identity and Reactions to Gender Discrimination

Our first set of hypotheses predicts a main effect for threat to feminist identity. We predicted that, compared to a no threat condition, under threat feminists will be more sensitive to discrimination, manifested by perceiving the situation as more unfair Hypothesis 1a and showing more compassion to the discrimination victim Hypothesis 1b.

We also predicted a main effect for feminist identity of the victim.