Document Type

Honors Project


Many young women are reluctant to claim a feminist identity although they hold feminist beliefs. Why and how do some women begin to identify as feminist while other young women reject a feminist label? Knowing the way people identify with political and social movements contributes to an understanding of what makes a movement successful. I use interviews with nine young women who are college students at a small, urban, Midwestern liberal arts college, to determine the events and influences of feminist identification and the processes of developing these identites. While I find that feminist identification is situational, contextual, and changing over time, I conclude that positive opinions of feminism and feminists in social networks, such as families or peer groups, encouraged feminist identification. Women who rejected a feminist identity attributed this rejection to a lack of knowledge and activism. While historical negative connotations to the feminist label remain prevalent today, their effect on identification was minimal.



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