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Hullabaloo


Monday, January 04, 2016

 
We've come a long way baby

by digby

























Sean McElwee at Fusion observes that an awful lot of young men think sex discrimination is part of the past:

The Supreme Court may well gut Roe v. Wade. Access to abortion and contraception has regressed dramatically, and clinics face increasing intimidation. The pay gap is stubbornly broad. Campuses struggle with disturbingly high rates of sexual assault, and domestic violence is all too common.

America seems a long way from becoming a society in which young men and women have equal opportunities to succeed. And yet data suggest that many Americans—disproportionately men—believe America already is such a society.

He looked at the American National Election Survey used by academics to study voter attitudes, of Americans age 17 and 34. And he found three questions particularly illuminating:

The first was about traditional gender norms: Do you think it is better, worse, or makes no difference for the family as a whole if the man works outside the home and the woman takes care of the home and family?

Young men and women had roughly the same attitudes about that—if antiquated ones. About a third of each said it was better for the woman to stay home.

The next two questions were more direct. And the answers suggest that men are blind to continuing structural inequities and perceptions about women in society that restrict success and opportunity.

The survey asked whether men or women have more opportunity for achievement. Almost half of young men—47%—say opportunities are equal, while only 37% of women think so. Meanwhile, 62% of women say men have a better shot at achievement. Only 47% of men agree.


The gap is even wider on whether men have “many more” opportunities.

Interesting, no? He notes that the gaps are much less stark between young Democrats although it's still present.

And then there's this:

Interestingly, when I examined only young people with college educations, the gaps are even larger than they are in the full sample.

College men may see successful women on campus and perceive that women have more opportunities, while college-educated women appear more attuned to persistent discrimination.

These tensions are often reflected in the campus debates of the past few years.

“Many men I’ve worked with truly believe that our campus has moved beyond gender bias,” Roberta Barnett, a senior at Columbia University and president of the Panhellenic Council, which governs the sororities at the university, told me. “But if you ask female members of our community and even many student administrators, the role of implicit bias against women is both pervasive and actively felt.”

Barnett cites frequent slights about women’s appearance at official meetings and the dearth of women in high positions of student politics.


He cites a recent Pew Poll which shows many of the same results.

He goes on to note that just as electing Barack Obama did not usher in a post-racial society (who in God's name ever thought it would???) and that electing Hillary Clinton would not likely bring in a gender-equal one. I don't think there should be any doubt about that. Of course it won't, not in and of itself. But since there has never even been a woman nominee of one of the major parties it would indicate something changing in this regard. An opening perhaps.
But yes, I would expect there would be a backlash just as there was with Obama. And my feeling is, so what?

And just one more point. I think these studies also show the fallacy of attaching too much significance to "generational" differences. Obviously, attitudes change over time. But they are not so neatly divided between one "bad" generation and their "good" offspring. (Read "Nixonland" for how that played out in the most tumultuous generational battle in American history.)

No, our differences tend to fall along tribal and ideological lines with new generations moving in slightly different directions from their parents in some ways and hanging on to some attitudes in others. The move from rural to city was a huge change. Something like gay rights was a magnificent example of a wholesale shift. But it's not a neat transition. And sometimes the younger folks can even become more conservative.

Millennials are certainly a more tolerant bunch than those who came before. But that tolerance tends to be clustered around a discrete set of issues and among those who identify as Democrats. The conservative millennials are more tolerant than their conservative elders but they're still conservative.

This is what we call progress. But it's always two steps forward one step back. It's not a dramatic divide between one generation and the next.

.