Who are feminists and what do they believe? The role of generations

Jason Schnittker*, Jeremy Freese, Brian Powell

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Using the 1996 General Social Survey, the antecedents of feminist self-identification and their link to gender-related social attitudes are explored. Although most socio-demographic variables show either no relationship or a weak relationship with feminist self-identification, there are strong differences across cohorts. Males and females who were young adults during the "second wave" of feminism (birth years 1936 to 1955) are more likely to identify as feminists than are those younger or older. In addition, the link between feminist self-identification and some social attitudes is cohort specific: Seemingly profeminist positions distinguish self-identified feminists from nonfeminists only among members of the "second-wave" generation. These results reinforce the importance of political generation and suggest increasing heterogeneity in public conceptions of feminism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)607-622
Number of pages16
JournalAmerican Sociological Review
Issue number4
StatePublished - Aug 2003

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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