Have Feminists Abandoned Social Activism? Voices from the Academy

  • Faye J. Crosby
  • Janet Todd
  • Judith Worell
Part of the Critical Issues in Social Justice book series (CISJ)


Social movements come into being and persist when individuals and groups perceive contradictions and inequalities in the larger social order. As a broad social movement that evolved to address gender and other social inequalities, feminism has persisted in many forms throughout modern history (Taylor, 1989). As American feminists struggle collectively to reform and transform the social institutions through which their lives are encoded, questions have been raised about the continuing vitality and commitment of this movement. Has feminist activism become diluted and ineffectual, or are we witnessing a gradual transformation of the movement into multiple channels that defy simplistic conceptions of advocacy? We explore these issues of social activism in the narratives of a sample of 77 feminist psychologists who teach in three academic contexts: women’s colleges, co-educational colleges, and universities. Their responses to a lengthy interview and questionnaire illuminate the questions we asked and extend our understanding of feminist advocacy well beyond the simple statement of one respondent that “I don’t march...”


Feminist Teaching Feminist Attitude Feminist Issue Feminist Activism Work Class Background 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1996

Authors and Affiliations

  • Faye J. Crosby
    • 1
  • Janet Todd
    • 1
  • Judith Worell
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of PsychologySmith CollegeNorthamptonUSA

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