The Latest Study by University of Chicago political science professor Cathy Cohen on Millennial Views on Feminism
There is some good news, some hard news, and some bad news for feminism this week. The latest study by University of Chicago political science professor Cathy Cohen’s Millennial Views on Feminism finds that a majority of women 18-34 do not identify themselves as feminist. The data group for the study included 525 African American, 256 Asian American, 502 Latinx, 553 white Millennial respondents.
Professor Cohen’s June 2018 GenForward survey studies how women — self-identified African-American, Latinx, White and Asian-American — in that age category view feminist ideas and feminism in general. “Whether individuals identify as a feminist does not vary dramatically across race or ethnicity,” the study notes. “Fewer than 20% of respondents belonging to any racial/ethnic group self-identify as a feminist, with the lowest percentage being 13% among Latinx Millennials. Most respondents say they ‘don’t identify as a traditional feminist, but support women’s rights and equality.” Further, 36% of African-American, 47% of Asian-American, and 38% of Latinx Millennials report that the feminist movement has not done much to improve the lives of poor women. That’s the bad news.
Now, the good news. In the same study, majorities of men (65%) and women (65%) believe that the feminist movement has improved the lives of white women. The core data group was asked “it is easy to understand why women’s groups are still concerned about societal limitations of women’s opportunities.” 80% of African American, 88% of Asian American, 81% of Latinx, and 67% of white Millennials responded to that question either “somewhat” or “strongly” agree, which is good news for feminists.
The study also showed that African-American millennials (46%) were least likely among all millennial groups to believe that the feminist movement has helped women of color “a lot.” 58% of Asian-American millennials believed that feminism helped women of color "a lot," 56% of Latinx millennials believe the same and, finally, 60% of White millennials were of that opinion. The main takeaway from the study: millennials of color believe — whether it is true or not — that feminism by large was a movement that was focused on white women almost exclusively and succeeded in making their lives better and not much else. That having been said, there is a measure good news in that in the study a majority of men and women combined believe that feminism has done “some” to improve the lives of women of color. This conclusion does quite a bit to explain the rise of intersectional feminism this year on college campuses.
It has now been a century since the beginnings of first wave feminism, and there are noticeable cracks in the feminist brand — or at least the very meaning of feminism – in the wake of #MeToo and #TimesUp. Last month, in London, an international rally for men’s rights — clearly anti-feminist — drew historic crowds. Also, there is in our immediate media environment a fractioning of feminisms. There is a rise in Socialist Feminism, Corporatist Feminism, and of course hypocritical celebrity feminism (see: Minaj, Nikki; see: the Kardashians) on full display on social media. Narcissistic supermodel Emily Ratajkowsky, who regularly posts navel-gazing hymns to her own beauty on Instagram, believes her social media handle to be a “sexy, feminist magazine,” according to Paper. She has – and how could she not? — 19 million followers. Are the Kardashians, Minajs, and Supermodels-who-do-selfies a part of the trajectory of the fourth wave of feminism? Quo vadis?
Why I Reject Feminism is a hard read, but an essential one. I don’t agree with the author, but I empathize with her anger at the contemporary feminist movement. Although Gloria Steinem has always noted that women of color have been more feminist than white women — see Tarana Burke — the movement has not always been good to and for women of color. In it, the author, sick and tired of waiting for feminism to bring about true equality for women of color, takes up the term “womanism,” rejecting the other brand. Oseye Boyd, the Editor-in-Chief of the Indianapolis Recorder writes poignantly, "Black men had property and voting rights before women — white or Black.” She continues: “women suffragists fought for (white) women to be seen as equal, and they were right to do so. Sojourner Truth famously asked, ‘Ain’t I a Woman,’ to white women fighting for their rights. Black women were told to wait our turn, once white women secured their rights, they’ll come back for us.” She concludes: “black men told us to wait our turn. Once they secured their rights, they’ll come back for us. Both groups excluded Black women.”
Finally, Emma Gray wrote a noteworthy piece for HuffPost about the lengths that women runners go to in avoiding danger while alone in public spaces. She writes about Mollie Tibbets, the 20-year old college student who was killed running, alone, practicing self-care. “Much has been made by conservatives of the alleged killer’s immigration status, but this is a story about a woman who went out into the world, did not return a man’s advances, and paid for that choice with her life.”
Social media activist Alyssa Milano called for a sex strike against restrictive abortion laws popping up in states like Georgia. “Until women have legal control over our own bodies we just cannot risk pregnancy,” Milano said on Twitter last week.
“If American citizens are aware that one of their biggest allies, Saudi Arabia, is accused of these huge violations of human rights, they should question their senators, they should question their representatives, they should question their government.”
The Taliban and the United States are having peace talks, and women are included in the final negotiations. Afghanistan is one of the most dangerous countries in the world to be woman (the Taliban ban girls from pursuing an education or work), but it has advanced in the past few decades in human rights. The fear is that things might return to abysmal for women in negotiating with the Taliban.
“The Qur’an not only highlights spiritual equality between the sexes, but it also reiterates the significance of affording women their elementary, intrinsic rights. Many a time, words from the Qur’an are misconstrued by both Muslims and non-Muslims alike.”
What is going on at present in Sudan is extraordinary. What is even more interesting—and less reported—is the fact that so many of the protests that are forcing the military to backtrack on authoritarian control are being led by women.
Halsey, who came out as a bisexual years ago, was kicked out of her house when she dropped out of community college and struggled to pay for food and rent. Although she eventually became a best-selling artist/singer, she spoke about her most financially insecure times recently at a benefit for ending youth homelessness.
In less than five months, Michelle Obama has sold more than 10 million units of her biography, “Becoming.” It is a publishing industry phenomenon, and on track to become the bestselling memoir of all time. A Judge in North Carolina ruled that three girls in a charter school cannot be compelled to wear skirts, and more feminist news.
It was a strange week made stranger by the fact that the leader of the free world engaged in a social media feud with the husband of one of his employees, advisor Kellyanne Conway. This March Rolling Stone’s cover celebrates Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi and three members of the congressional freshman class—Jahana Hayes, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, and more news on women in media and tech.
Out of the twenty-one Marvel superhero films, Captain Marvel is the first one solely about a woman, and already the 13th most successful in the franchise with $760 MM at the box office. Movie review aggregators like Rotten Tomatoes, YouTube, and IMDb were besieged by trolls trying to sabotage its success. The film actually spurred several review platforms to alter their algorithms.
During the week of International Women’s Day, PWC released the Women in Work 2019 report. Some observations: Iceland is named the most feminist country, Sweden holds second place, and for the first time, New Zealand is number three most feminist country. Very disappointing are the United States, China, and India’s rankings.
Elizabeth Rowe, the principal flutist at the Boston Symphony Orchestra, one of the “big five,” settled her landmark equal-pay lawsuit against her employer for a disparity between her paycheck and that of a comparable musician—principal oboist John Ferrillo. “According to the BSO’s 2016 tax filings, Rowe made 75 percent of Ferrillo’s annual salary, which was $286,621 […]”
The Grammys were on mid-month, and women took center stage. The theme was the power of women and the LGBTQ community, as even former First Lady Michelle Obama showed up for her girls. There were, we cannot fail to note, some disagreements as to whether the Grammys were successful based on the arguments of race, gender, and recognition.
Kamala Harris recently became the fourth woman to announce her candidacy for President of the United States, and drew a rare compliment from the man she seeks to replace. When asked by The NY Times who would be his toughest opponent in 2020, Trump replied: "I would say, the best opening so far would be Kamala Harris. I would say, in terms of the opening act, I would say, would be her." And he is right.
Oby Ezekwesili has devoted much of her career to anti-corruption, a major issue in Nigeria, and was a 2018 nominee for the Nobel Peace Prize. At present, her mission is to return all the kidnapped Boko Haram schoolgirls back to their families, despite the uneasy fact that the world seems to have moved on from previous outrage.
The new year arrived at cyclonic speed with Lifetime’s Surviving R Kelly. With over 20 million viewers, the #MeToo movement has finally reached communities of color. The New York Times even ran an Op Ed, titled: “After the ‘Surviving R. Kelly’ Documentary, #MeToo Has Finally Returned to Black Girls: Let’s keep it there.” Hard questions are being asked, once again, of urban icons.
2018 was a banner year in the struggle for the ever-elusive equality between the sexes. There are many reasons why that was the case, not the least of which was the boiling point of election day 2018 reached after years of recurrent misogynistic remarks by the President and pushback against the rise of misogynistic authoritarians across the globe. Here are the largest moments in the Year of the Woman.
Loujain al-Hathloul, a prominent Saudi activist, has been detained for over a 100 days alongside 9 other activists. Concerns for the safety of the detainees are rising, as the Kingdom recently sought death sentence for Israa al-Ghomgham, another woman activist, for mere incitement to protest and providing moral support to rioters.
As the year draws to a close, it is instructive to look back and reflect on the advocacy of women's rights on the basis of equality of the sexes, the classic textbook definition of feminism. Brett Kavanaugh was confirmed; Poland and Argentina had movements to liberalize abortion laws; women marched in places as far flung as South Africa, and Nadia Murad shared the Nobel Peace Prize.
Why are Americans so obsessed with what women politicians, like Alexandria Ocasio Cortez, wear? Anna North at Vox looks at the historical sexist obsession with what women politicians wear – and what that says about us as a culture.
Rep. Nancy Pelosi was nominated on Wednesday as Speaker of the House Democrats. This was not a surprise, as she outlined the platform that Democrats used to win this year’s pink wave election. Rep. Pelosi is a second-time Speaker, and this will “most likely be the final act of the 78-year-old legislator’s long career as the most powerful woman in the history of American politics.” More feminist news spanning from India #MeToo to Tunisia’s Gender Equality bill.
“Women won this week,” Joy Reid joyfully declared on MSNBC on Sunday, in perhaps an understatement. Although that other “Year of the Woman,” 1992, was invoked often in the run-up to the 2018 midterm elections, the latter turned out to be a bigger feminist moment in American politics. Find out why.
Andy Rubin, the creator of Android mobile software, receives a $90 million payout and a hero's exit after it was discovered that sexual coercion claims against him were credible. “Google could have fired Mr. Rubin and paid him little to nothing on the way out,” says Times reporters.
“If, for some, feminism is about legal redress and due process, for others, it requires an extrajudicial set of interventions given the repeated limits and failures of the law to bring gender justice. For some others, it is ultimately the voices of middle class and metropolitan women, journalists, actors, and other professionals that constitute the ‘me’ in India’s #MeToo” writes Srila Roy.
Alongside Halloween making a hit at the box office with over $75 million in its first weekend outing with a woman lead character Jamie Lee Curtis (happy feminist moment), NGO Plan International published a report determining the most dangerous cities for women and young girls in terms of harassment, sexual abuse and violence, as well as their safety and vulnerability when using public transportation, and the top cities with effective policies.
Moira Donegan, creator of the Shitty Media Men list, launched a GoFundMe to offset the $1.5 million lawsuit. The Shitty Media Men List had for intention to collect sexual harassment and abuse allegations so women in Journalism and Publishing could warn one another about potential predators.
A year after #MeToo emerged, Jezebel interviewed Tarana Burke. “She started the movement […] in response to what she saw as a failure to speak—openly, candidly—to a 13-year-old girl who had come to her with her story of sexual abuse.” “Anita Hill was one individual who came forward and shocked the nation with some language and a description that had never been part of the consciousness of the country.”
With the majority of the upper chamber having voted in favor, Kavanaugh’s nomination is advancing to final on Saturday morning. Perhaps the biggest disappointment in contemporary women’s rights. Until recent years, Rachel Mitchell has been firmly sentencing sexual assaulters such as Reverend Paul LeBrun for 111 years in prison, but a decline in the quality of her work has been noticed when it comes to prosecuting assaults reported by immigrants and women.
“In a worsening climate where human rights and women’s and girls’ rights are increasingly questioned and threatened, and in a world of shrinking democratic space, a feminist foreign policy is needed more than ever,” said Swedish Foreign Minister, Margot Wallström.
CBS sexual accusation drama including the downfall of Les Moonves has been described as the "most significant #MeToo moment yet," leaving a $90 MM severance on the table. Troubling still is Julie Chen Moonves pledging solidarity to her accused husband. Where is the line between backing a spouse and responsibility towards society at large?
No Name Kitchen a group providing food and kitchen resources to #refugees in Šid, #Serbia, Velika Kladuša, #Bosnia, and in #Rome, and through the #UNHCR has documented over 700 cases of violence against women by Croatian police officers.