A sociological exploration of perceptions and experiences of femininity among self-identifying feminist students in Scotland.
The research is an exploration into the perceptions and experiences of femininity among self-identifying feminist students, in a Scottish context. Existing literature surrounding femininity has provided a descriptive analysis of the ‘norms’ of femininity. Through two focus groups, made up of six self-identifying feminists, this study uncovers the ways in which women perceive and experience femininity, specifically in relation to their feminist identity. In accordance with previous findings, the narratives unveil that femininity, specifically the associated ‘norms’, such as beauty and sexual availability, have influenced the participants’ ability to self-define femininity. However, this research also exposes that women have been able to resist these ‘norms’ and as a result, redefine femininity according to their desires and views. Yet, although previous literature has highlighted that feminism is now being redefined according to individual experiences and desires, the narratives within this research, in accordance with Riley and Scharff’s (2007) study, reveal that participants’ feminist identity and femininity remain a contradiction.