ERIC Number: EJ903596
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2010-Dec
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 76
Associations between Femininity and Women's Political Behavior during Midlife
Cole, Elizabeth R.; Sabik, Natalie J.
Psychology of Women Quarterly, v34 n4 p508-520 Dec 2010
The contention that femininity makes women unsuited for political participation has roots in feminist theory and political science. This study investigated whether the desirable and undesirable dimensions of femininity, corresponding to Feminine Interpersonal Relations (FIR: warmth, nurturance, and interpersonal appeal) and Feminine Self-Doubt (FSD: submissiveness, self-doubt, anxiety, and passivity), have independent and interactive effects on Black and White women's political efficacy and participation. Using questionnaires administered to alumnae of the college classes of 1967-73 in 1992 and 2008, coders assessed femininity variables at Time 1 when participants were in their 40s using items from the California Q-Set. Political variables were assessed at Time 1 and when the participants were in their early 60s. In general, FIR was associated with greater participation and efficacy, both directly and in interaction with low FSD, and FSD was associated with lower efficacy scores. Specifically, at Time 1, women rated high on FIR and low in FSD were highest on political efficacy; those high in both types of femininity scored lowest. At Time 2, among women high in FIR, low FSD was associated with enhanced levels of participation; however, among those low in FIR, FSD was unrelated to participation. Results are discussed in light of women's midlife development and Black women's gender socialization. Recognition of the role of feminine qualities such as warmth, social skill, and compassion in political work could encourage women endorsing feminist beliefs to act politically.
Descriptors: Feminism, Political Science, Altruism, Females, Sexual Identity, Politics, Whites, Interpersonal Competence, Political Attitudes, Adults, Midlife Transitions, Questionnaires, Sex Role, Blacks, Racial Relations, Graduate Surveys, Alumni
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Assessments and Surveys: California Child Q Set