The connection between holding gender-traditional attitudes and the reluctance to identify as a feminist is well established, yet little is known about factors that might underlie this association. One factor that may serve this function is the tendency to hold negative stereotypes about feminists. Indeed, the constructs of ambivalent sexism (Glick and Fiske 1996) and ambivalence toward men (Glick and Fiske 1999) provide a strong theoretical basis for the prediction that traditional attitudes toward women and men are related to the derogation of women who do not conform to the feminine-stereotyped gender role. Therefore, the present study utilized path analysis to test a mediational model in which traditional attitudes toward women and men predict the tendency to stereotype feminists, which in turn predicts feminist identity. The present study also examined whether the relations between the variables in the model differed for African American, European American, and Latina women. Participants consisted of 544 women from the southern United States who, despite being undergraduates, were in their mid-to-late twenties on average. As expected, participant ethnicity moderated the paths in the model. Among African American and Latina women, hostility toward men and hostile sexism predicted the tendency to stereotype feminists, which then predicted feminist identity. Support for the mediational model was not obtained among European American women; instead, the model for European American women was characterized by direct paths from traditional attitudes toward women and men to feminist identity. Discussion focuses on the importance of considering participants’ ethnic background when assessing predictors of feminist identity.
Sex Roles – Springer Journals
Published: May 19, 2012
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