Feminism, Feminist, Women's Rights, Self-Labeling, Stereotypes, LFAIS, Activism, Definitions of Feminism


Feminist, Gender, and Sexuality Studies | Human Rights Law


Dr. Leifa Mayers


This project investigates students’ perceptions of feminism, whether or not they identify as feminist, and how closely their ideals align with basic feminist ideals. There is currently no research that investigates self-labeling as a feminist among the current generation of college students in the United States. Despite the immense benefits to holding a feminist identification, it is estimated that only about 21% of the United States population identifies as feminist (Swirsky & Angelone, 2014, p. 230). Understanding the perspectives of current students is important as they have the potential to become activists and impact the future of the feminist movement. To gather information from students a survey with open-ended, Likert Scale Questions, and a modified form of the Liberal Feminist Attitude and Ideology Scale (LFAIS) was sent out. Descriptive statistical analysis was run on quantitative data and qualitative data was coded with thematic analysis. Overall, 78.9% of participants strongly agreed or agreed that they were feminists, and the higher a participant scored on the LFAIS, the more likely they identified as a feminist. Definitions of feminism were extremely variable among participants, suggesting a lack of an agreed upon definition. Of those who strongly disagreed/disagreed with labeling as a feminist did so because they thought feminism had taken a radical shift towards stereotypes promoted by anti-feminist backlash. This suggests that the rates of feminist self-labeling, and alignment with feminist ideals, is high among Generation Z college students. However, they still experience the effect of anti-feminist backlash. Education has been found to help combat common feminist misconceptions, while creating an inclusive environment helps incorporate multiple definitions of feminism. Finding a balance between education and inclusion may help increase feminist self-labeling.