Friday, December 15, 2017

What Divides the Parties? Feminism

Peter Beinart:
Earlier this month, the research firm PerryUndem found that Democratic men were 25 points more likely than Republican women to say sexism remains a “big” or “somewhat” big problem. According to October polling data sorted for me by the Pew Research Center, Democratic men were 31 points more likely than Republican women to say the “country has not gone far enough on women’s rights.” In both surveys, the gender gap within parties was small: Republican women and Republican men answered roughly the same way as did Democratic women and Democratic men. But the gap between parties—between both Democratic men and women and Republican men and women—was large.

Since Trump’s election and the recent wave of sexual-harassment allegations, this partisan divide appears to have grown. In January, when PerryUndem asked whether “most women interpret innocent remarks as being sexist,” Republican women were 11 points more likely than Democratic men to say yes. When PerryUndem asked the question again this month, the gap had more than doubled to 23 points. A year ago, Democratic men were 30 points more likely than Republican women to strongly agree that “the country would be better off if we had more women in political office.” The gap is now 45 points.
Some of my female feminist friends are baffled and angered by the support of Republican women for candidates like Trump and Roy Moore. But it's an old story: tribe trumps gender. Remember that OJ Simpson prosecutor Marcia Clark thought she could win over black female jurors, but they all voted for acquittal.

1 comment:

G. Verloren said...

There will always be victims of oppression who fail to see the injustices of the system they live in.

Familiarity breeds acceptance. People are born into a system of injustice, and it seems normal and proper to them - often because they are made to be dependant on the system working as intended.

We have many accounts of slaves who spoke out on behalf of their own slavery, having been taught that they were inferior beings who could not manage their own affairs, and that their servitude was not an injustice but instead a kindness and a salvation. We have the well worn trope of the self-loathing homosexual. And, of course, we have countless women who are innocently and self-assuredly complicit in the perpetuation of their own diminishment by the very patriarchy they fight to protect.

The simple fact is, when you are reliant on a system, threats to that system register as threats to yourself. When you're an oppressed minority, but your life is stable and somewhat tolerable, you prefer to see the oppression continue unchanged than to risk making things worse by agitating against the status quo. It's easy for people with nothing to lose to risk everything - but it's much harder to get someone who is desperate to preserve what little they have to risk jeopardizing it.

And so change comes slowly, and despite over a century of valiant struggle and sacrifice in the name of equality, still we have countless women who feel uncomfortable rocking the boat, scared that it might end up capsizing.