Feminist identity and the superwoman ideal
Sara Martino, Shaelene Lauriano
The “Superwoman” ideal is a construct born out of the women’s movement in the 1960’s defined as women who can “do it all and have it all” However, women today may actually be receiving the message that they should have it all and are experiencing stressors as a result of that pressure. Studies have found that girls who endorsed the superwoman ideal were also more likely to experience disordered eating behaviors. In contrast to the concept of the “Superwoman” and the possible negative effects it may have on young women, most research on feminist identity development have shown it to have a positive effect on both men and women. The gap in the literature today is whether there is a relationship between feminist identity and the superwoman ideal. The current study sought to examine a possible relationship between feminist identity and the superwoman ideal. Results indicate a significant inverse relationship between the passive acceptance stage of feminist identity and adherence to the superwoman ideal (r=-.253, p<.01). There was an inverse relationship between the embeddedness-emanation stage of feminist identity development and the superwoman ideal (-.257, p<.01), meaning that women who experienced more social isolation endorsed the superwoman ideal. There was no relationship between the activism stage of feminist identity development and the superwoman ideal. Implications and directions for future research are discussed.