Reclaiming The F Word Survey: Feminist issues

[This post was originally published in August 2010 on the website for the book Reclaiming The F Word, by myself and Kristin Aune. Since the website no longer exists, I thought I would publish it again here.]

As part of the survey of UK feminists undertaken for our book, we asked the 1265 respondents ‘please list the three feminist issues that most interest or concern you.’ Survey respondents could write these in free text. We undertook an analysis of the responses, categorising and coding them, and the results are published in the Appendix of our book.

However, there is another interesting way to analyse the results which is to use word cloud tools to look at the language used.

The word cloud below shows the 150 most frequently mentioned words given in answer to this question by the people who responded online – 988 respondents (for our book, we analysed both online and paper responses, of course).

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Of course, this is only representative of the 988 survey respondents and no-one else. And the words are out of context – we can’t see from this, for example, how the word ‘equal’ was used (was it mostly used in conjunction with ‘pay’?), or what approach the people who mentioned ‘prostitution’ or ‘pornography’ have towards those issues.

But isn’t it interesting? What do you think? Does anything surprise you, or do you think this is pretty reflective of the scope of feminism in the UK?

One thing that strikes me is the words ‘objectification’, ‘sexualisation’, even ‘pornification’ – possibly due to the success of Object in publicising this issue.

I also find it interesting how the word ‘media’ is relatively large, comparable to words like ‘equal’ and ‘pay’. I think this could demonstrate how cultural issues and representation are important in feminism alongside structural issues like politics, economic issues and violence.

If I amend it to show the top 50 words, it looks like this:

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I’ll try to post up some more word clouds – there’s a lot that can be done from the survey results.

The new edition of Reclaiming The F Word with an updated Preface will be available in June 2013.

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