Pathways to Feminist Identification

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Life experiences that expose individuals to feminism lead to greater subsequent self-identification as feminist (e.g., D. H. Henderson-King & A. J. Stewart, 1999). The goal of this research was to identify mediators of this exposure–identification relationship. Ninety-six women completed measures of prior exposure to feminism, feminist self-identification, and a set of potential mediating variables. Results suggest that the exposure–identification relationship is at least partially (if not fully) mediated by common fate with women and negative evaluations of feminists; women with more prior exposure to feminism reported greater common fate with women and less negative evaluations of feminists, each of which, in turn, was associated with stronger feminist identification. Limitations of the model and alternative pathways to politicized gender consciousness are discussed.

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