Title

“I'm in this for Real”: Revisiting Young Women's Feminist Becoming

Document Type

Article - Merrimack Access Only

Publication Title

Women's Studies International Forum

Publication Date

11-2014

Abstract/ Summary

Feminist identity development theories, advanced by Bartky (1975), Downing and Roush (1985), and others, have been operationalized and studied extensively for the last two decades. In this transnational qualitative study, the authors revisit the process by which young women come to and embrace the mantle of feminism, in order to reveal its contemporary contours. Thirty-four women, current and former university students from the United Kingdom and United States were interviewed, and their narratives analyzed, revealing several common features of their journeys to feminism: That feminism is considered common sense by participants, a realization they come to gradually. University experiences figure prominently in their identity development, locating sources of support to cope with peer diminishment of feminism. Their identities are solidified through a complex interplay of debate, deliberation, and community-building with other feminists. These newly emerging signposts of “feminist becoming” invite further research and possible revision of existing theories.