Sex Roles, Vol. 42, Nos. 11/12, 2000
The Relationship Between Gender Social Identity
and Support for Feminism
Shawn Meghan Burn,
and Carey Moyles
California Polytechnic State University
This study is an application of social identity theory to feminist consciousness
and activism. For women, strong gender identiﬁcations may enhance support
for equality struggles, whereas for men, they may contribute to backlashes
against feminism. University students (N ϭ 276), primarily Euroamerican,
completed a measure of gender self-esteem (GSE, that part of one’s self-
concept derived from one’s gender), and two measures of feminism. High
GSE in women and low GSE in men were related to support for feminism.
Consistent with past research, women were more supportive of feminism
than men, and in both genders, support for feminist ideas was greater than
self-identiﬁcation as a feminist.
For many feminists working as part of the American women’s movement,
feminism is an important group identity. For instance, members of the
National Organization for Women generally identify themselves as femi-
nists. Negative stereotypes of feminism may threaten involvement in the
women’s movement. People may agree with goals of the movement, but
may avoid labeling themselves as feminists for fear of being associated with
this socially stigmatized label. This fear may interfere with the development
of the group identiﬁcation linked to collective action.
Shawn Meghan Burn, Department of Psychology and Human Development; Roger Aboud
and Carey Moyles, senior undergraduate researchers, since graduated.
To whom correspondence should be addressed at the Department of Psychology and Human
Development, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California 93407;
0360-0025/00/0600-1081$18.00/0 2000 Plenum Publishing Corporation