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Different Paths to Different Feminisms?

Bridging Multiracial Feminist Theory and Quantitative Sociological Gender Research Author(s): Catherine E. Harnois Reviewed work(s): Source: Gender and Society, Vol. 19, No. 6 (Dec., 2005), pp. 809-828 Published by: Sage Publications, Inc. Stable URL: . Accessed: 06/03/2013 06:15
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Theory and Quantitative Gender Research Sociological
CATHERINE E. HARNOIS University of Illinois-Chicago

examines the limitations of the sociological research on feminist identities and ideologies that ignores the intersection the of race and gender. Drawing from multiracial feminist theorizing, as feminist a biased indicator of the salience of feminism author asks, Is self-identification in African American women 's lives? Do women 's racial statuses mediate the relationship between particular life events and experiences and the extent to which they embrace feminism ? and To what extent are racial dif This article to be ? To answer these ques important when considering what women understand feminism ferences to analyze data from tions, the author conducted multiple group analyses of structural equation models are consistent with multiracial feminist the 1996 General Social Survey. Her findings theories and sug are no to feminist research so that women's differences gest a need to rethink traditional approaches longer marginalized.







JVlore than twenty years ago, Ransford

survey years: life data to demonstrate intersection experiences what multiracial that "the chances and of race

and Miller

used quantitative
theorists had been



and gender... assume of which

creates patterns

' simply by adding the effects of race to those of gender" (1983,46). While has been much ing widely accepted and corroborated by qualitative
research, quantitative sociological research has failed to incorporate this

arguing the aggregates,... unique that cannot be anticipated

this find feminist

lesson suf




studies of feminist


and ideologies

AUTHOR'S NOTE: An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Ameri can Sociological in San Francisco, in August 2004. The author would like to Association, California, thank Judith Blau, Andrew Perrin, Barbara Risman, Tanya Golash-Boza, and the anonymous at Gender & Society for their extremely helpful comments regarding this article. REPRINT Catherine Harnois, Department REQUESTS: IL 60607-7140; 1007 W. Harrison e-mail: St., Chicago, reviewers

of Sociology, University of Illinois-Chicago,; phone: 919-357-0908.

GENDER & SOCIETY, Vol. 19No. 6, December 2005 809-828 DOI: 10.1177/0891243205280026 ? 2005 Sociologists forWomen in Society 809

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/ December



use methods


assume Leaving

women's aside

race those

has studies

relatively that focus


to do with on one

their racial


to feminism.

solely one

group (e.g., Hunter and Sellers

studies of feminist identification

1998; Ridley Maison

and ideology use

1983), almost all quantitative

race as only of several con

trol variables (e.g., Johnston Conover 1988; Kane and Schippers 1996; Peltola, 1996; Schnittker, Freese, and Powell 2003). Milkie, and Presser 2004; Rhodebeck In so doing, these studies assume that (1) the effect (or lack thereof) of any particu
lar characteristic different be measured racial A groups. close examination of a few recent studies reveals the importance of this meth racial by on women's or ethnic a groups relationship and set of with feminism is the same with do not for women feminism vary of can across (2) a woman's indicators that relationship themselves


odological assumption. Schnittker, Freese, and Powell (2003), Peltola, Milkie, and Presser (2004), and Rhodebeck (1996), for example, investigate how sociodemo
graphic only with ables characteristics as a dummy any other affect variable, feminist and in none identities. of these Each studies of these is race studies allowed among includes race to interact the vari

variable. independent assume in this way, the authors status,

In modeling that the

the relationships variables independent status, for women income)

tion, marital affect) feminist

status, employment parental in exactly the same way identity

(e.g., genera affect (or do not racial and

of different

ethnic groups. For example, that generational differences

Due "either ences

Schnittker, Freese, and Powell (2003, 617) conclude affect women's likelihood of identifying as feminist.
the on racial feminist cancel dummy variable, the authors or out." What suggest that influ do self-identification each other that various these and in different studies

to the nonsignificance of race has little influence operate in ways

not allow riences

for, however, affect

that ultimately is the possibility women of different


that particular characteristics racial and ethnic groups

life expe ways.

In this case,
income and

they do not allow for the possibility

educational levels, family forms, and

that generational


in the paid

force might

shape women's


identities differently, depending

used in these and other studies

on their race
also make the

ethnicity. The methodological


assumption that the meaning of feminist identity and feminism is identical for women of different racial and ethnic groups. Rhodebeck's (1996) study of feminist
identity women movement to assumes that two variables, "how close for example, and opinion, of the women's liberation thermometer and "a feeling rating they feel" are able to measure and or feminists," well Latina, Black, white, equally

Asian American women's feminist identities. Johnston Conover's (1988) study of feminist identity and political beliefs finds that "feminists are distinctive in their
fundamental women might and values" affect but these makes values. no mention of how racial differences among

Given both the history of race and class privilege within

movement fer in their the extent to which women and work of different experiences racial (to family, education,

the American
and name ethnic a few),

dif it seems


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reasonable (including

to white







researchers sociological as our world is hierarchically long

with experiences us believe. would have organized not or

play feminism As Moya

role larger than many (2001, 472)

in women's quantitative argues, of domina "as

along who the



tion, people occupying

in systematically ence react will experience." In this theories quantitative different in the

ways;... same way

social locations will

everyone come to

tend to experience
has same the same kind conclusions

the world
of experi that about


I demonstrate



of centralizing research

multiracial on feminism. I maintain and however,

feminist While that


conducting research and research

quantitative feminism

sociological an uneasy have tool for


quantitative feminist differences. conjunction employed multiracial intersectional nism in women's with allow

remains Quantitative

a useful methods feminist

documenting are most useful, and when In this

understanding when used methods together


multiracial women's

theories, to emerge. structural

differences and

the particular I bring article, to salience to

feminist framework

theories for and


understanding the different

equation modeling and measuring the paths that lead women

propose of femi



Although the analysis here speaks most directly to sociological analyses of femi nism, the implications of this research highlight the importance of multiracial
feminism for feminist scholarship and practice more generally.

Baca Zinn and Thorton Dill ( 1996) have described multiracial feminist theory as a feminist perspective that first and foremost goes beyond an additive model of oppression by theorizing the intersectionality of different systems of oppression and by refusing the temptation to privilege one dimension of oppression or identity over others. Although far from a unified line of inquiry, multiracial feminist theory is held together by theorists' emphasis on the relational aspect of women's differ
a social Brown and the "treatment of race as a basic division, 1997) (Barkley a focus a and fundamental force in of power, of political hence struggle, and men's lives" and Thorton Dill women's 1996, 324). Taken (Baca Zinn shaping as a whole, much feminist offers three that multiracial theory hypotheses challenge ences structure of the existing quantitative and and the research on women's feminist identities and ideologies.

First, multiracial
cation as feminist racial of different that

theory posits that the relationship between

salience groups. of feminism Second, in women's multiracial to embrace groups. feminism may And ethnic

lives differs

for women suggest to differ feminism and ethnic to

feminist feminism third, (i.e., across quantitative

theories are likely

that the particular factors for women of different racial theorizes activist groups that what commitments as well. In what women involved follows,

lead women and ethnic

multiracial the


to be differ

ideological racial and

in feminism) I discuss

the dominant


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/ December


racial feminist


identities and ideologies

pose for these approaches.

and the specific challenges multi


the Salience

of Feminism



feminism feminist (e.g.,

scholarship on feminism
lives Milkie, in one and of Peltola, Presser

typically operationalizes
respondents' Schnittker, 2004; Freese,

the salience of
as Powell and

in women's

two ways:


2003) and respondents' feminist attitudes or beliefs (e.g., Dugger 1988; Ransford and Miller 1983). From the perspective of multiracial feminist theory, however,
both approaches are potentially problematic.

With regard to the first approach, self-identification, multiracial feminist theo rists (e.g., hooks 1984; Jackson 1998; Walker 1983) have suggested that women's
racial status may affect the relationship between women's self-identification as

feminist and their feminist ideology. The history of Black women's marginalization
from Black sider able about the women's women to be indicator gender movement, to self-identify feminist beliefs. of how issues cause some for example, may as feminist, even if they have what as feminist self-identification Thus, Black women are. Many as "womanist" Black hesitance many would among con

"feminist" might instead

not be a reli may women concerned or might


or "humanist"

prefer no label at all. Furthermore,

both and of

Smith (1983) and Collins

([1990] 2000) have

a part of Black is so much women's that because lives, oppression suggested a distinct moment in which become because seldom have conscious they they a to adopt label to take a stand their oppression, they are less compelled political that oppression. or attitudinal variables to measure the salience of feminism in

against Using


women's lives is also problematic. As Collins ([1990] 2000), Smith (1983), and hooks (1984) have repeatedly argued, feminism may mean something different to particular racial and ethnic groups of women. Collins ([1990] 2000, 16, 238) has
that in contrast argued sion to the exclusion includes tion a wide range to white of other feminism, which tends to focus of oppression, systems of behavior "actions including education, and public expand see African taken on oppres gender American feminism discrimina

to eliminate

in housing, and

resentation" many white

employment, to maintain efforts (especially white women) sexuality, feminism

accommodations, the social able-bodied, welfare middle-

and political rep system. Whereas or upper-class, as sepa issues feminist in addition


heterosexual, may

English-speaking, rate from those theories broaden

"feminist" and and

or "women's" ethnicity, antipoverty


race, class, ability, to include antiracism

multiracial work,

to antisexism work
In sum, approaches spective multiracial

(hooks 1984; Lorde

feminism the feminism, as feminist for white and women poses salience we of can the

1984; Roth 2004; Smith


quantitative From the per between lives women. will We

to measuring of multiracial

for traditional challenges in women's lives. feminism that feminism and ethnic

self-identification differ significantly

hypothesize of salience racial

the relationship in women's minority


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would more racial salience and

expect, significant and ethnic of


this perspective, powerful women.


self-identification of white multiracial correspond ethnic

as feminist women's feminism with groups. feminism

would than that


and more minority for women

indicator Second, lives

for the

suggests different While


in women's


attitudes feminism feminism

ideologies white among for racial and

women ethnic

might minority

and racial of particular to nontraditional be related women might mean

gender something

ideologies, different.




To Embrace of (e.g., affect feminism age,

Feminism? how marital a core set of demo and other the

Quantitative graphic family


generally education,

investigate race, income, As

characteristics characteristics)







implicit assumption

inmost empirical

studies of women's
takes however,

paths to feminism
is generally challenged has

is that
the this

race or ethnicity, the path one of one's regardless same. Much feminist of multiracial theorizing,

to feminism

assumption. Multiracial feminist research (e.g., Collins [1990] 2000; hooks 1984; Jones 1984; Porter Gump 1980; Poster 1995; Ridley Maison 1983; Roth 2004; Segura 1994) has found that women of different racial and ethnic groups tend to
have tion that among different qualitatively the three. Given life experiences experiences these with work, family, differences, may affect multiracial women's and religion, theories feminist in different the rela suggest ways



1981; 1981; hooks 1984; Moraga and Anzaldua (Collins [1990] 2000; Davis Maison 1983). Ridley Smith and Smith (1981, 114) have further argued that one of the differences
between women For Black white tend women's to have and gender politics a specific in which moment of color, and other women savvyness, I don't that they however, know what of Black realize women is that white exists. lifelong that oppression is a "oppression to use,




is a political



some difference in attitude I think between Black and white feminists. I think what it is, is like the surprise factor. There is virtually no Black person in this country who
is surprised women white manner." haps exposed lives. (higher feminist While about oppression." are more likely women, many of, She to find sexist Black both feminism status, goes their on to say that in contrast to Black in "an out of for color women, intellectual them," have per been feminist consciousness is often and and may women other "pointed women

For white

in school, to, and

whereas conscious

oppression women racial


women's marital suggest


education, theorists


their throughout oppression to particular life events related multiracial in the paid labor force), sexist feminism may not develop

that for many life

of color,

in response In sum, dominant gies. more This fully

to particular multiracial

experiences. feminist theorists'

approach quantitative demonstrates study incorporate multiracial

on difference the challenges emphasis to understanding identities and ideolo feminist on feminism to for quantitative research the need feminist theories. It begins with the central

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/ December


problem see

of how

to measure

the salience



in women's



to which women
they themselves of what question

see feminism
as factors a part encourage

as important in their lives and the extent to which

of feminism. women Once established, feminism. I then While address previous the to embrace

studies typically associate higher incomes and higher levels of education with fem inist identity and less traditional gender ideology, I investigate how this might
we when change we make fewer racial tionship and ethnic between consider assumptions groups. the a broader about understanding the similarities of women's between feminism women I then of and when different

on the first two Building questions, in women's lives salience of feminism

the rela explore are generally and what

held to be two feminist


issues: gender


and support for gay and lesbian

It is commonly assumed in feminist women less traditional have gender ideologies and Gender role lesbian issues.2 ideology proxy for feminist beliefs and sexism identification, and understand

that feminist and practice scholarship of gay and are generally supportive as a used is, for example, frequently and numerous as feminist inherently scholars interconnected and



(e.g., Collins

2004; Lorde

1984; Rich
these three

1980; Rubin
issues varies

1993). In the third section, I test

for women of different racial

the relationship


I then discuss

some of the implications

of these findings

for feminist

To examine

these hypotheses,

I use data from the 1996 General

Social Survey,

of noninstitutionalized, is a nationally survey representative on a biennial This in conducted adults the basis. United States, ing to it is the well suited because few this very among ularly project ask whether respondents on focuses specifically they gender self-identify and women's as feminist issues.3 and In

English-speak data set is partic to recent surveys a module that Social

it includes 1996,

the General

Survey was administered to 1,619 women, 270 of whom self-identified as Black and 1,272 of whom identified as white. The gender module was administered to a subset of 821 women, of whom 139 self-identified as Black and 645 identified as white. Women who identified as neither white nor Black were excluded from my
While there analysis. women inism among from other racial is tremendous of other racial need and for quantitative ethnic groups, in the General research the small Social fem concerning of women number made this an




I use lives. four These

for this particular study.

indicator indicators variables are (1) to measure the importance (2) improved the the of salience of feminism rights the categories), in women's issue to the the women's extent her life to which (three

respondent believes

(a five-category variable), movement the women's has

respondent (3) the

frequency with which

women (four categories),

the respondent pays attention to issues that especially

and (4) whether the respondent self-identifies


as feminist

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(two categories). consistent with more using than one one's set of Rather,

In each feminism.

case, As

higher argued as attitudes to be of

values above, feminist,


this measure and

self-identification liberal feminist

more relatively to capture is designed it deliberately refrains from measure everyday with relationship of how women lives.

a response

as a measure a more

of women's

feminism. relate

to feminism?the

it is designed salience

inclusive in women's



I use several

the factors that lead Black

sociodemographic variables

and white women

(again from the

to embrace
1996 General

Social Survey), including educational attainment (dummy variables for completed high school, some college, and more than college, where no high school diploma is
status for variables marital income, category), family (dummy logged or separated, or widowed and divorced where married is the refer ence and religiosity where variable, (measured by an eight-category category), more at religious I also values indicate attendance services). frequent higher include the respondent has children variables and dichotomous whether indicating the reference never married her current workforce status.

In the third section of the analysis, I investigate the extent to which feminism itself differs for white and Black women. I test how the salience of feminism in
women's lesbian for gay and support a latent variable respondents' gender ideology by creating women are hurt three observed with variables: whether by the traditional family "women take care of running their homes whether should and leave (dichotomous), lives affects respondents' gender ideology and issues. Imeasure running believe the country that women up to men" (dichotomous), likely task to take (four care and the extent due each to which to their of these are more to this represent respondents "bio being variables, gender using a their

of children For

better-suited" logically lower values numerical attitudes. latent believe I measure variable sexual with relations


respondents' four observed

categories). are thought for gay support variables: the

to be more and extent sex lesbian

traditional issues by

to which are wrong

respondents (four catego





the same

should be allowed in the public ries), whether books favoring homosexuality should be allowed to library (dichotomous), whether an "admitted homosexual"
make ations, a speech in the community the government should her higher or his sexual (dichotomous), have the right and whether to ask (four a person under "detailed For for important situ questions" each observed and lesbian

concerning variable, issues. To keep

orientation represent

categories). support





as many


in the analysis

as possible,


to avoid

the bias

caused by listwise deletion, I impute values for missing data using the multiple imputation procedure in SAS.4 To increase the reliability of my findings, I imputed
eight sets.5 Sch?fer's each separate data sets the NORM and conducted I combined (2000) parameter estimates In the following from this analyses each of on each these data of these sets data using from

data imputed a single to create parameter

program. set for a particular estimate.

model The

the model program, are averaged across of the estimates



sets data imputed are calculated

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/ December




the within-imputation variance estimates) and point except





average variance



com to the

plete-data variance bined of

the complete data estimates from NORM

the between-imputation In what estimates).6 where otherwise

follows, indicated.

(equal I present the com

Measuring The sented the Salience measurement in Figure of of Feminism tool 1, where for the the inWomen's salience of Lives feminism in women's lives lives is repre vari


of feminism

in women's

is a latent

able with four indicator variables,

first dent) results these been variables constrained the factor (the has

as described
of the other

above. The factor loading for the

observed of issues rights variables. imputed of to the respon The combined data sets are

importance to 1 to scale performed

the women's



on each

the eight The

shown in the first model

mates indicate that

of Table 1.The fit indices shown below the parameter esti

fits the data very mean well. averages error the Compara

the model

tive Fit Index and the Tucker-Lewis

and 0.951, respectively), and the

Index across imputed data sets are high (0.947

Root squared of approximation

(RMSEA) is low (0.049), all Because many multiracial 1984; Moraga and Anzaldua among these indicators might

suggesting a good overall model fit. feminist theorists (e.g., Collins [1990] 2000; hooks 1981; Smith 1983) have argued that the relationship differ for women of different racial groups, I conduct

to test for these differences. group group pro analysis Multiple analysis multiple a sophisticated to understanding vides differences cross-group by allow approach on individual to progressively free cross-group constraints ing researchers equality more we fit the of and less constrained indices models, parameters. By comparing can determine across to vary which be allowed model should groups parameters and which The Table salience can results 1. Model of remain from 2 equal. this analysis are

shown and

in the variance

second of

and the

third latent

columns variable, women

of the but

constrains in women's

the means lives,


to be equal

for Black

and white

allows the factor loadings of the observed variables to differ. Model 3 builds on model 2 by allowing the factor loadings of the observed variables, as well as the
mean and variance of the latent variable, to differ across rights groups. In all three models, to be 1 and is the factor used for the importance of women's loading to index variables. the other indicator is constrained

The fit indices at the bottom of Table 1 suggest that each measure of the salience of feminism inwomen's lives fits well with the data; those models thatmake fewer
constraints across RMSEA racial across groups. for groups The each fit significantly Comparative are the models better Fit strong, than Index, but those that assume average of Tucker-Lewis each of these Index, indices equality and sug


gests that model

3 represents

the best fit.7 These fit statistics are supported by the

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Women's Improved

Movement Your Life



1 :



of Feminism



fact dom By we



lowest in model this

value 3.8


the average




the degrees



occurs itself,









how Black and white women

see that when we allow across cation and

relate to feminism. Comparing model

the factor loadings for the observed

1with model
to differ



white differences self-identifi women, emerge. groups, Among important as feminist, movement the women's benefited has you feeling personally, are all to women's to the salience attention issues related paying strongly in women's of feminism lives; while these women's variables lives, are they also are significant significantly in Black predictors weaker

of of

feminism the salience


dictors for Black women. The factor loading for feminist self-identification
than twice as are large for white women indicators The supports is more ences statistically factor different compared across groups. the with Black women, and

all three

confirmatory multiracial


of analysis assertion studies support




in women's with


that women's have suggested.

than complicated in model revealed

previous 3 lend

relationship The cross-group feminist

feminism differ argu

to multiracial


ment concerning
feminist middle-class identify movement. white as feminist

the historical marginalization

Black women's and may women's movement lead many perception

of racial minority women

of feminism about some as largely reluctance

from the
an upper to self

may bring to question the extent

to which

the women's


has benefited

them personally


[1990] 2000; hooks

does we see with not suggest compare

1984). It is
that Black of the

to note, that this marginalization however, important women are less feminist women. than white When salience age, more of feminism salient in women's in Black women's lives in model lives 3, we

the means is, on

that feminism white women's.




Leads 2

Women summarizes to the

To Embrace the salience

Feminism? from my model Consistent of factors the

Table contributing

results of


sociodemographic in women's lives.


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(0.177) (0.275)

(0.179) (0.087) (0.063)

(0.124) (0.100) (0.104) (0.200) Model 3 (white) 0.828*** (white) 0.909*** (white) 1.029*** (Black) 0.875*** (Black) 0.430* (Black) 0.707* (white) 0.404 (Black) (Black) 0a (white) 1a 0.534 0.990 1.498 0.291** 0.021 0.988

(0.119) (0.225) (0.098) (0.097) (0.060) (0.331) (0.70)

Model 2

* (white) * (Black) (white) 0.898*** (white) 0.817*** (Black) (Black) 0.532* 0.921* 1.026 1.009 1a 0.418

(white) 0a 0.951 0.054 3.320 10


(0.120) (0.106) Model 1 0.869*** TABLE Loadings, Factor 1: Salience Confirmatory Feminism, of General 1996 (N= Analysis: Factor Social Survey 1,542) 1a 0.824*** (0.093) (0.061) Each b. data imputed its Fit produced set Comparative Index, Tucker-Lewis and own which squared of root error approximation, then mean were

1.014*** 0.416*** 0a

0.947 0.049 2.942 0.951 13

NOTE: Numbers in parentheses are combined standard errors. Parameter estimates and standard errors were combined using NORM.

.05. .01. **significant .001. at *significant ***significant Root mean squared approximation13 of error Women's helped has movement you Importance of rights women's feminist as Self-identify Variance of "closeness to feminism" Mean of "closeness to feminism" Pays issues to attention women's Fit lndexb Comparative lndexb Tucker-Lewis yfldf Average df

a. averaged. Constrained.

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results variable, observed

from the

the first salience

portion of are



feminism allowed

analysis, in women's

the mean lives, and and each While



of loadings


latent of the

the factor women.

variables group effect

to differ shown here

for white allows women.9

Black of

In addition,


the multiple a unique indices from a

analysis on Black

and white


suggest tive Fit

the confirmatory factor the average analysis, with Across fit data sets, the average the data. the good imputed Compara Index were and 0.943 and 0.923, and Index and Tucker-Lewis respectively,

to the predictor variables as strong as the fit quite fit indices for this model

the average RMSEA

with The Table and many feminism the data. parameter 2, where those of

is 0.033,

all of which


that the model

are column

fits quite well

presented of the in table

estimates the coefficients women

for white

the multiple women

group analysis are in the first second. associate in the paid

for Black

the characteristics among women

are presented in the that many traditionally (e.g., age,10 involvement

Somewhat with labor


surprisingly, levels and




ily income) are not statistically significant predictors of the salience of feminism in white women's lives, other factors being held equal. The frequency with which the
respondent on white women, nism. attends women's white women religious feminism, who have services and is shown to have with compared never married a significant negative or widowed married effect white

more In general, formal feminism in white women's

education lives, with

are more to embrace femi likely is positively the salience associated with of women more who white have than spent

in postsecondary the most. education feminism years embracing Having some attended is also associated with increased feminism college significantly test. None white this is true only if we use a one-tailed of women, among although four the predictors included tors of the salience of in the model, feminism that were those including significant predic are shown to predict women's in white the lives,

salience of feminism in the lives of Black women, although this may in part be due to the relatively small number of Black women included in this analysis (270 Black
women, as compared with 1,272 white women).


Does In addition

It Mean

To Be Feminist? racial have groups suggested may that take differ

ent paths

to theorizing that women of different to feminism, multiracial feminist theorists


itself may differ for women

hypothesis examine by the using a

of different racial and ethnic groups. I investigate

group analysis of a structural equation in women's model lives

to and

the salience of feminism relationship two issues that are frequently included in discussions of a 2 issues. shows of the Figure representation pictorial salience lesbian of feminism as in women's lives, assumed is frequently embrace feminism and are often gender ideology, in much feminist

multiple between

feminism relationship and support

and women's among for gay the and

issues, who

Women der



are generally thought to be more supportive

and practice. thought to have less traditional gen of gay and lesbian

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/ December




Combined Selected

Estimates Independent

of the Salience Variables:

of Feminism 1996 General White Social Women

inWomen's Survey

Lives (N=

on 1,542)



Independent Generation Birth year Education Some More Family

variable (compared 1936-1955 to birth year > 1955) 0.055 0.200

Birth year < 1936

(compared college than college income (log) labor force



to < high school)

(0.086) (0.085)
(0.077) (0.139) (0.050) -0.049*** (0.012) (0.094) (0.090) (0.082)

0.008 0.051
-0.308 0.133 -0.031 -0.038 0.194 -0.034 0.172 0.261

(0.242) (0.213)
(0.204) (0.400) (0.118) (0.034) (0.172) (0.222) (0.219) (0.194)

High school

0.1491" 0.381* -0.096 -0.060 -0.093 to married/widowed) 0.100 0.1711"

Religiosity in paid Currently Has had child Marital status


Divorced/separated Never married Dependent Importance variable


of women's 1a 1a rights as feminist 0.941*** Self-identify Women's movement has helped you to women's issues Pays attention Residual variance Fit of closeness to feminism

(0.131) 0.833*** 0.999*** 0.385*** (0.097) (0.105) (0.062)

0.622 0.711 0.741* 0.540

(2.745) (0.528) (0.298) (0.288)

Fit indices'3 Comparative Tucker-Lewis Root mean Index = 0.943 Index = 0.923 error of approximation = 0.031


in parentheses are standard NOTE: Numbers errors. Parameter estimates and standard errors were combined using NORM. a. Constrained. b. Each its own fit indices, which were then averaged. imputed data set produced at .05 (two-tailed). at .001 (two-tailed). Significant at .05 (one-tailed). *significant ***significant



these feminist





multiracial cepts are

solipsism; something minorities. Table

strongly for racial other

theorizing correlated and ethnic

suggests across all minority traditional

for a number of women, together the assumption that these three con is one potentially in white rooted groups fit that women, gender embracing ideologies feminism and may mean sexual


rejecting of


3 presents

the results for gay of the

and support ideology of the factor loadings and variances of the for loadings dents believe women should

and three

on gender the multiple of feminism group analysis In this model, lesbian I have allowed issues. each latent variables, along with the means, women.11 to which sex intercepts, Factor



to differ

for Black

and white the extent the same running

of the women's importance sexual relations between take care of running their

issue, rights two adults of homes and

respon are wrong, and up to


the country

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Same-Sex Relations or Not?

Allow Homosexual to Speak Publicly? Government Ask re. Sexual Orientation? Allow Homosexual Book in Library?

Are Women Hurt by the Traditional Family? Should Women Be in the Public Sphere? Are Women Biologically Suited forChild-Rearing?



Structural Lesbian

Model Equation on Women's Issues


Gender Feminism




for Gay





all constrained

to be

1 to scale

the other




are not included in this table.While

when compared with the model

the fit indices are slightly weaker

the salience of feminism

in this model
in women's


lives, the indices suggest that themodel fits the data reasonably well. While ideally less than 0.05, Browne and Cudeck (1993) have suggested that RMSEA values less
than 0.08 (0.055) indicate "a reasonable meets Index this and error standard. Tucker-Lewis certainly Fit Comparative that the model now of approximation"; the other On hand, Index are the RMSEA the average than 0.90, in this model values of the


suggesting of


Turning column of Table

a good overall fit. to the parameter estimates presented see that there is a strong 3, we positive

in the midsection effect of the salience



of fem

inism inwhite women's

for gay and more likely nificantly independent significant lesbian to have issues.

lives on both nontraditional

White women who embrace that challenge of traditional for gay and

gender lesbian

ideology and support

are ideology issues. We significantly and are sig also see that there and is a non



more of positive

to express likely support the effect of the salience correlation between

feminism for gay

in women's and lesbian

lives, issues


traditional gender
previous intuitive "Of roles studies of


among white women.

and it means

This finding
as well feminism. likely what

is consistent with
as many Some people's might say,

feminism of what embrace

understanding course women who and

gender ideology to embrace are more

feminism sexual white

support when However, of Black to be

the rights of we compare a very statistically

minorities?that's women's picture

to challenge feminism among these women, the

gender is." issues to

relationship emerges. For


women, no

different significant


there of





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/ December




Results Gay and

from Structural Lesbian Issues

and Support for Model of Gender Equation Ideology on Women's 1996 General Embrace of Feminism:

Social Survey

(N = 1,542)
White Women Black Women 1.260 0.606 1.184 0.778*** 0.761 0.414 0.699* 0.822*** 0.112 0.180 0.244** 0.526** 0.206 0.220 0a 0.271** 0.267 0a 0.347***

Would Should Would Women

homosexual to speak publicly ask about sexual orientation? government in library allow homosexual book allow are biologically better suited to child

1.016*** 0.594*** 1.044*** 0.581***

(0.095) (0.072) (0.090) (0.072) (0.124) (0.137) (0.104) (0.154) (0.117) (0.085) (0.045) (0.064) (0.048) (0.152) 0a

(0.682) (0.436) (0.740) (0.189) (1.502) (0.199) (0.252) (0.210) (0.124) (0.164) (0.089) (0.817) (0.170) (0.120) (0.085) (0.178) (0.100)

rearing All benefit Feminist Women's

from the traditional identity movement


0.370** 0.852*** 0.946*** 1.161*** 0.529*** Issues for 0.350*** 0.358*** 0.454***

has helped you to women's issues Pays attention -> Gender Feminism Ideology -> Support for Gay and Lesbian Feminism Correlation of gender ideology and support issues of support of gender for gay and ideology lesbian

gay and lesbian feminism Variance Residual issues Residual Mean variance of feminism of support variance

lesbian 0.433*** 0.401** issues


of gay and

Intercept of gender ideology Fit indices'3 Fit Index = 0.914 Comparative Index = 0.913 Tucker-Lewis Root mean squared error of approximation = 0.055

are standard in parentheses errors. Parameter and standard NOTE: Numbers estimates were combined using NORM. a. Constrained. b. Each its own fit indices, which were then averaged. imputed data set produced at .05. **significant at .01. ***significant at .001. *significant


feminism ditional have

in women's


and Black

their women

support who,

for gay by



issues embrace

or their feminism that


gender ideology. beliefs gay and concerning from those different significantly there and lesbian

this measure, and

lesbian of Black

issues women

ideologies gender who do not embrace women's

are not

feminism. support to be clear tradi

However, for gay Before that

is a significant between correlation Black positive and nontraditional issues gender ideologies. of these findings, homophobic for are more

on to discuss the implications moving women the data do not indicate that Black


or more

tional in their gender ideologies

observed issues, Black gay variables the means women and lesbian on measuring for Black

compared with white women.

gender ideology women and were support in fact

For the majority

gay and similar. of


lesbian In fact,

and white

some of the particular average support women. issues more than do white What

quite indicators



for support do suggest,

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however, nificantly the ogy,

is that while related same




feminism and

in the lesbian women.

lives issues The

of white and extent their

women gender to which

to their does not

support true hold

for gay

is sig ideol Black

for Black

or their

embrace feminism does not reliably predict either their gender

support for gay and lesbian issues.


I began this study by expressing my concern for what lack of attention paid to multiracial feminist theorizing sociology. More specifically, I asked whether the implicit I perceive to be a general in much of quantitative white solipsism inmuch

that regardless dif of racial of quantitative feminist research the assumption (i.e., women the same from the same direction and that feminism ferences, approach can be measured was of each in the same way) The feminism results problematic. a resounding of this study suggest "yes." portion The in women's factor of the salience of feminism lives confirmatory analysis revealed ship with measure women feminism, their issues lives the importance of for allowing on a single women ethnic a complex indicator measure of women's of women's feminism?even relation if



that indicator is feminist

of (and the extent

to which and embrace

likely to produce a racially biased

feminism. more While many Black embrace generally) of feminism in the salience to women's attention paying women and white embrace for white women compared to femi

racial perhaps self-identification as it does

as feminist for white

women minority does not reflect women. While that Black indicator with

as well

to the extent is significantly related it is a stronger and more feminism, significant women. to Black Future research concerned



nism should bear inmind

two observed variables.

the limitations of measuring

this concept with only one or

Building on the differences revealed in the first section of this article, I then asked if Black and white women followed different paths to feminism. Again, the
answer predicted acteristics was education, "yes." While to which the extent white significantly to significantly feminist to the extent lines, with particular feminism labor force predicted marital women Black status, embraced women's and religiosity with all none feminism, relationship significantly of these char feminism. In

fact, none of the variables

seemed Multiracial case. and First, ethnic

offer family

associated with
of feminism explanations have differed may white or shape women some forms

in Black as to why

identity or beliefs
women's this might across lives. be the

influence theories that

the salience


relationship ment in the paid

experiences While differently. and

historically Black and white may



postponement Black who have women, historically independence, or significant as less significant, view these experiences force out of necessity, may on white events. of The different and Black but nonliberating impact religiosity


involve experience as an act of of marriage in the paid labor participated

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/ December







supports for women




American authority, women, defined.

on Dodson
churches to explore

and Townsend Gilkes

have issues served as a space

(1987), Collins maintains

to exercise strong to to build relationship seems

that African
leadership and among broadly with more

of oppression, and all of which women's foster help For white in contrast, women, religiosity

relationships feminism,

to be associated

traditional gender roles (Brinkerhoff and MacKie 1985; Oppenheim Mason and Kuhlthau 1989). The lack of significant predictors of the salience of feminism inBlack women's
lives may women, was lower statistical be, in part, due to relatively as the number women of Black in this study of white women. On in Black the other women's hand, of the model for Black power was than smaller significantly the lack of significant predic can also be read as support

the number the salience

tors of

of feminism


gest, women's it could be lives,

feminist theories. As Smith and Smith (1981) and hooks ( 1984) sug
that because their concern oppression for women's is a more or feminist salient aspect is not of Black issues and girls' associ generally

ated with particular life events. This thesis is supported by the fact that the mean value of the salience of feminism in Black women's lives is significantly higher
women. value been married and While for white corresponding having are to it associated white women's closeness with feminism, religiosity negatively Black and in that women's the institutions appears religious marriage experiences are to discourage less likely their embracing feminism. comparatively than the Multiracial might might Black feminist been white cerned gest status be also provide into why feminist theories for example, income, insight as feminist but with women's associated self-identification traditionally not have a significant in white the salience of feminism with and relationship as women's lives. As hooks has argued, self-identification (1984) although and limited women with that in the mainstream participation to upper-middle-class white with women's feminist women, movement many racial may have largely

the salience previous

women, minority are deeply con incomes less education, with lower and women and gender The results this issues from sug analysis equality. to socioeconomic in women's of feminism lives is less related studies would have us believe.


In the third section of this article, I posed the question of whether feminism might mean something different for Black and white women, and again the results
of this salience analysis provide of feminism an affirmative in white women's answer. lives It is clear is strongly and of from and this analysis that associated the positively for gay in their and

with their support for gay and lesbian issues and with nontraditional
ogy. issues results may In contrast, is shown suggest constitute Black to be women's unrelated gender to the ideology salience and support feminism for gay feminism,

gender ideol
and lives. lesbian lesbian These issues

that while

gender ideology a significant focus of white





feminism likely has a different focus. As Collins ([1990] 2000), hooks (1984), and Smith (1983) have suggested, African American feminism may focus more
broadly on social and economic justice issues, including commitments to racial and

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do well

to further explore

this line of inquiry.

The feminisms tice. significant have racial differences in women's for future the need can be more relationship feminist with and paths and to

In general, research Studies

feminist differences.

important implications these findings underscore so that we and practice, that seek to examine

prac scholarship our to rethink to approaches encompassing between of women's life experiences,

the relationship

identities, and gender ideology (and no doubt other types of ideology as well) are limited to the extent that they assume that women of different racial and ethnic
will the world?and groups experience same way. While for "controlling ables, allows ferences When when erally nism and for in some some in how racial cases interactions even racial between particular differences" race this and events in that world?in of dummy the vari by means

and other

independent masks

variables, the dif their

differences people

to be observed, of different among women women dwarfs racial

approach groups



differences of white

are measured the number studies), Multiracial affect

the number the case that

lives. experience and variables only by dummy of color of women (as is gen it is the white model have of femi

in nationally in is revealed that particular

representative the life analysis.

feminist women of

theories different



argued racial and

ethnic groups differently, and this study strongly supports this hypothesis. The results of this study further suggest that studies of feminist identity and ide
ology tities The are also and analyses limited to the extent are identical here ideologies presented that they for women assume the meaning racial feminist of particular and ethnic theory's The feminisms, iden groups. claim of different multiracial



that the relationship

women's of this lives study differs also

for women the


identity and the salience of feminism

racial and ethnic groups. results of allowing the factors attitudes, and the salience for multiple


of different


the meaning
remains ment care lives. role

of feminism
enterprise identities the lines

itself may differ for white

to and investigate gender-related these and

and Black women. While

to the develop contributing research should future take of feminism in women's


a useful of feminist


to blur


Gender-related in feminism, lives, of Black but and women.

attitudes they they

self-identification themselves do not capture the

do not by especially

an play certainly important the salience of feminism in salience of feminism in the

women's lives


movement ing both one of

equally to broaden are

of this study for nonacademic

significant. its base and If we assume from that to recover

the feminist of racism

in the feminist
is seek classism, and


a history behoove

then understanding
the movement's

the possible

variety of paths to adopting feminism

It would feminist

should be



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/ December


that acknowledge there that tant, may mean this might recruit feminist Taken new members,

there may be many diversifying

be multiple (legitimate!) the means the


to feminism


of feminism.

broadening and moving this and what

which through of addressed issues range from research among the which the idea of

as impor equally In practical terms, feminist organizations and,

organizations, as a whole,

away other

makes women

and by feminists a singular feminism. clear is that in contempo and of that the ignoring As Lorde but our reluc

rary American possibility ( 1984,122) of has

differences do exist society, these undermines differences said, "it is not our differences

promise separate

feminism. women,

tance to recognize those differences and to deal effectively with the distortions which have resulted from the ignoring and misnaming of those differences." This
study work among advances to be Black done. understanding In particular, women is different our of women's while from this differences, has but there is much that more study that of white demonstrated women, additional feminism research is

needed to further our understanding

theories offer hypotheses concerning theories. of,

of Black feminism. While multiracial

feminism among Black women,

feminist the

quantitative of research consider

studies of Black
generalizability that investigates in this of

these the meaning

and identities
Furthermore, and paths

should be conducted
there to, feminisms remains a

to investigate

paucity who for women


to be neither white
analysis suggests

nor Black
that the

(Kane 2000). The degree of difference

feminisms associated with other racial

and ethnic

will vary

and the paths

as well.

that individuals


these groups

take to

1. See, for example, Moraga and Anzald?a (1981) and Combahee River Collective ([1977] 1983). 2. This is true to the extent that gender role ideology is used tomeasure feminist identity/ideologies and that feminist research, organizations, and educational practices emphasize these issues to the exclu sion of other potential women's/feminist issues. are the 1992 National Election 3. Two other recent data sets that include feminist self-identification to these, the 1996 General Social Survey is Study and the 1999 Century of theWoman Poll. Compared better suited to this analysis because it asks a wider variety of questions concerning feminism, gender ideology, and support for gay and lesbian issues. 4. For every variable with missing data, multiple imputation estimates a linear regression of that variable on each of the other variables in the data set, and these estimated regression equations are then used to generate predicted values for the cases with missing data. To each predicted value is then added a random draw from the residual 5. Sch?fer and Olsen normal distribution and Allison for that particular have suggested the formula variable that five (Allison (1998) (2002) 2002, 33). imputed data sets are

enough to provide reliable parameter estimates. 6. The within-imputation variance is calculated U =? where U equals the variance variance is calculated using of the parameter the formula


m fu(t), fr[
m. The between-imputation

estimates Q, and t = 1, 2,...

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1 m -1 rt

* (f)

is defined as T = ? + (1 + mTl) B (Sch?fer 1997, 109). Fit Index and Tucker-Lewis Index were 0.964 C, the lowest values for the Comparative and 0.946, respectively, and the highest root mean squared error of approximation was 0.043. 8. I am using % Idfto compare the nested models rather than the traditional % difference test because each model produces eight % statistics. and the total variance 7. Inmodel 9.1 performed multiple group analyses that progressively freed cross-group equality constraints on individual parameters and found that the least restrictive model had the best fit. The results from this model are presented in Table 2. 10.When controlling for other factors in the model, age was significant neither when included as a categorical nor when included as a continuous variable. 11.1 performed multiple group analyses that progressively freed cross-group equality constraints on individual parameters and found that the least restrictive model had the best fit. The results from this in Table 3. model are presented

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is a visiting assistant professor at the University of Illinois-Chicago. E. Harnois She recently completed her Ph.D. in sociology at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and her graduate certificate in women's studies at Duke University. This article is adapted from her Toward an Undisciplined dissertation, Study of Feminism, Identity and Difference.

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