SPEAK UP: Are men OK?
Young women and young men are drifting further apart politically. What does it mean for our future?
According to the latest from the world of social statistics, highlighted this week by John Burn-Murdoch in his Financial Times column, younger women are getting significantly more progressive, while young men remain conservative. They appear to be living in different political worlds, further apart (some 30 percentage points) than they’ve been since anyone’s kept track.
What does it all mean? We don’t have a crystal ball, and pundits have been overreacting to supposedly historic shifts in youth attitudes since they started noticing youth in the first place. Remember superpredators? Reefer madness, anyone? But there are serious implications to this widening ideological gender divide: right-wing voters are mostly men, and right-wing activists are ready to take advantage of an audience of men looking for answers. And that’s a serious challenge to the future as the right abandons democratic values and gravitates to authoritarianism and fascism.
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Are we seeing a backlash to #MeToo on the one hand and a response to Dobbs on the other? Another effect of the atomizing isolation of social media? The continuing shockwave of the implosion of the industrial economy and the recentering of the working class on service jobs?
Or is what’s going on more basic, cutting to the core of how all of us encounter the world and make sense of our place in it? Are we witnessing a crisis in managing change and progress, more specifically the emotional and psychological demands of greater equality? In this view, it’s less that the country is falling apart than that, in fact, it has made so much progress — and as we’ve asked men to abandon old ways of being and sources of esteem and adopt new behaviors and attitudes and ideas of their place and role, we’ve wrongly expected them to figure themselves out on their own?
But over to you. What do you think is driving this political gender divide? And what can we do about it?
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