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Feminism - An exploratory study of associations and attitude based on social identity and personality

Waldera, L. (2021) Feminism - An exploratory study of associations and attitude based on social identity and personality.

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Abstract:Over the last few years, discussions about feminism and the need for gender equality have sparked again. All over the world, women raise questions about the social, political and economic differences based on gender. While striving for gender equality is widely accepted and positively associated, the identification with feminism is rejected in society. Research about the specific associations and attitudes of people is still superficial. Thus, this research deepens the understanding of people’s associations with and attitude toward feminism with a focus on social identity, social perception and personality traits. The data for this research was collected in two parts – a content analysis on YouTube (Study 1) and an online survey (Study 2). Information of strongly pro- or anti-feminist YouTubers (n=20) contributed to an in-depth understanding of existing associations. Inductive coding was used to translate YouTube content into 12 key codes. Questionnaire items were formulated based on these codes and created the new associations with feminism scale. This scale was included in the online survey (n=568). The focus of Study 2 was to test for correlations of demographics, personality traits and social identity with associations, attitude and social perception. Qualitative data on the associations with feminism and feminists was collected through open questions and categorized by inductive coding. The findings of this research were that personality traits and social identity influence the associations with feminism and feminists. As expected, people identifying with feminism and womanism have more positive and men’s right activists more negative associations with feminism and feminists. The same trend was found for the attitude and social perception of feminists. Egalitarianists were found to have a positive attitude toward feminism but negative associations similar to the men’s rights movement. The final 12-item associations with feminism scale showed great reliability and validity and worked as a predictor variable for all four social identities. The African ethnicity was found to be the strongest predictor variable for adopting the feminist identity and rejecting the men’s rights movement. The Afro American ethnicity was the strongest predictor for adopting the womanist identity. Next to that, the dark triad trait Psychopathy correlated negatively with all identities besides Men’s rights activist. Narcissism correlated positively with Attitude and the social identities on the outer extremes of pro- and anti-feminism. Openness to Experience correlated positively with the social identities Feminist, Womanist and Egalitarianist but did not show a correlation with Attitude or the social perception of feminists. Practical implications for this research is the gain of a deeper understanding of the influence of social identity and personality traits on associations with the feminist movement. A potential use is the development of communication strategies to rebrand the terms ‘feminism’ and ‘feminist’.
Item Type:Essay (Master)
Faculty:BMS: Behavioural, Management and Social Sciences
Subject:70 social sciences in general
Programme:Communication Studies MSc (60713)
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