Saying ‘I Do’ to Feminism

How Christian Women in the U.S. Manage Religious and Feminist Identities in Their Weddings

In: Religion and Gender
Elizabeth Trudeau Carleton College USA Northfield, MN
University of Notre Dame USA South Bend, IN

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Abigail Jorgensen University of Notre Dame USA South Bend, IN

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Do Christian women who identify as feminist act differently than those who do not? Scholars have pointed out that religious women may exhibit beliefs about gender equality, whether or not they identify as feminists. But do women who choose to identify explicitly as feminists differ in their behavior from women who do not? We answer this question by analyzing 307 qualitative survey responses from Christian women in the U.S. about an important point in their lives, when gender and religious identities become particularly salient and fraught: weddings. We found that explicit feminists thought and acted differently compared to “implicit” and “non” feminists. Further, Protestant and Catholic feminists used different strategies to intersect their feminist and religious identities. We conclude that the decision to identify explicitly as a feminist or not does not just represent a semantic difference between Christian women but a real difference in both beliefs and actions.

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