Gender, Class, And Social Movement Outcomes
This study explores how gender and class impacts the interactions of animal advocates with their target audiences. The same advocacy group established more credibility and impacted more opinions with circus patrons than with hunters. After conducting in-depth interviews with all participants, the author found the circus was a relatively gender-neutral context, but that hunters saw themselves and hunting in stereotypically “male” terms (rational, scientific, outdoorsy, physical), and further, dismissed advocates in stereotypically “female” terms (over-emotional, uninformed, urban).[Abstract excerpted from original source.]
Animal rights organizations in the United States are predominantly female and middle class. What are the implications of the composition of these groups for animal rights activists’ abilities to achieve their goals? In this article, the author examines the role of class and gender in the outcomes of an anti-hunting campaign and an anti-circus campaign waged by one animal rights organization in the Seattle area. The article shows that hunters make classed and gendered attributions about the activists, whereas circus patrons do not view activists in terms of these statuses and end up taking their demands more seriously. It is suggested that an “identity interaction” between the activists’ class and gender identity and that of their targets helps to explain these different reactions. The analysis also highlights the role of emotion in social movements, especially the ways in which targets perceive and react to activists’ emotional displays.