Friday, December 15, 2017

Whatever DNC Corruption Doesn't Kill-Off, Third Wave Feminism Surely Will...,


theatlantic |  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 PerryUndum asked whether “most women interpret innocent remarks as being sexist,” Republican women were 11 points more likely than Democratic men to say yes. When PerryUndum 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.

Over the decades, a similar divergence has occurred in Congress. Syracuse University’s Danielle Thompson notes that, in the 1980s, “little difference existed between Republican and Democratic women [members of Congress] in their advocacy of women’s rights.” In the 1990s, Republican women members were still noticeably more moderate than their male GOP colleagues. That created a significant degree of ideological affinity between women politicians across the aisle. Now it’s gone. There are many more Democratic than Republican women in Congress. But, Thompson’s research shows, the Republican women are today just as conservative as their male GOP colleagues.

Why does this matter? First, it clarifies why Democrats forced Al Franken to vacate his Senate seat but Republicans didn’t force Roy Moore from his Senate race. Republicans of both genders are simply far more likely than Democrats of both genders to believe that women cry sexism in response to “innocent remarks or acts” and that America has “gone far enough on women’s rights.” It’s not surprising, therefore, that Democratic women senators took the lead in demanding that Franken go while Republican women senators reacted to Moore pretty much like their male colleagues.
Secondly, this partisan divergence hints at the nature of the backlash that the current sexual-harassment reckoning will spark: Anti-feminist women will help to lead it. In part, that’s because anti-feminist women can’t be labelled sexist as easily as anti-feminist men. But it’s also because, given their conservative attitudes, many Republican women likely find the current disruption of gender relations unnerving.