For this week’s Friday Feminism post I want to talk about the rise of anti-feminist sentiment, particularly following the results of the US election. As an outside observer (I’m not from the US) this seemed to be an election campaign in which feminism had it’s strongest voice ever. However as the first election results came in it was the republicans that were in front right from the start.
Following the outpouring of protest and emotion about the final result I think it’s important to reflect on what the election result says about the state of feminism in the United States.
Election campaigns cover a whole range of issues (the economy, education, jobs, immigration) and people’s decision on who to vote for, or whether to vote at all, can be pretty subjective. A look at the voting statistics only gives a superficial view but is a starting point.
Looking at the results by gender, women comprised 52 per cent of the total vote, with 54 per cent voting for the democrats, 42 per cent for the republicans and 4 per cent for other candidates. The reverse was the case for men with 53 per cent of men voting republican, 41 per cent voting democrat and 6 per cent for other candidates.
But race had an even stronger impact on voting results, with 58 per cent of ‘white’ voters going for the republicans compared with 88 per cent of ‘non-white’ voters going for the democrats.
Age was also important, with a majority of people under 40 voting for democrats and a majority of people over 40 voting republican. Education was also a factor, with a majority republican vote for those with high school and some college education versus a majority democrat vote for those with college or post-graduate education.
So what does all this mean for feminism? I know many of my friends that identify as feminists were devastated by the election result because they believed Hillary Clinton represented the rise of women in US politics. But the election wasn’t about a single issue and feminism isn’t an organised political party.
Feminist issues continue to be both political and personal and nothing changes because of the US election. More importantly, some of the more vocal anti-feminist sentiment that has been aired during this campaign shows that the work of feminists is far from over. Yes, we need to keep pushing for women’s rights and we need to keep convincing both men and women that feminism is important.