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Thursday, November 25, 2004

Age gaps and gender gaps

This article in Salon about how the social conservative/liberal gap is mostly a generational one is heartening. Basically, Leonard Steinhorn's point is that it's a pre and post Boomer gap and while he doesn't quite say it, he basically means to remind everyone that majority of social conservatives are staring down the grave soon. The numbers he whips out are pretty good, breakdowns by religion especially show cause for optimism.

But I find it odd that he doesn't have a breakdown by gender. Because I'm guessing, just off the top of my head, that the social conservative/liberal gap between men and women, where women are more socially liberal than men, is more dominant in the Boomer generation. There's been a real trend in this country of Boomer men embracing social conservatism in their old age as they realize that much of social conservatism's purpose is to keep men in charge of women and well, they like that. Not all, but a significant portion of Boomer men are embracing The Greatest Generation's values in no small part because that was when men were Men and women knew their place.

Most Boomer men I know from back home are more conservative than their wives. Hell, I know of racist men married to non-racist women. I also see the pro-choice/pro-life split in a lot of Boomer marriages. Boomer women I know tend to be more tolerant of gays and lesbians than Boomer men. And while I know lots of Boomer men to hold forth on how the best family arrangement is one where Dad works while Mom tends the babies, their wives to the last one have jobs and will tell you if asked that they work because they like it. My boyfriend has a lot of male coworkers of the Boomer generation and he says he sees the same male/female political split in their marriages, even though the wives do tend to vote Republican with their husbands.

In my generation, and this might just be what I see around me, men's values are much more in line with women's values. Most men I know are proud of their wives' or girlfriends' professional accomplishments and are adamantly pro-choice, even those men who want or have children. I think it's been discussed here before how men's views on abortion so often fall convienently in line with what they'd like their partners to do if they got pregnant, but I seen that tendency alot more in Boomer men than, for lack of a better term, Gen X men. And I don't see a gender gap in racist thought like I do with the Boomer generation. And while I know a lot of straight guys my age who are still a little homophobic, they don't think that's something to be proud of or anything. And no men my age would imply, as men my parents' age have done in my presence, that gay=pedophile.

But that's just my hunch. I'd like to see a breakdown of the gender gap by generations.

18 Comments:

Blogger Earnest said...

I worry that the social conservative/liberal gap is generational in another way. Of course, my evidence is only anecdotal. I remember in high school around '94 when Christianity washed across the school like a tidal wave. I thought it was just a fad, but over the past ten years, I feel like I've only seen more evidence of youthful conservatism. I feel like this post-Gen-X group is going to end up being one of the most conservative demographics in a generation. Surely you've seen this-- you are after all in Texas. What do you think about the young people you see around you?

11/26/2004

 
Blogger Amanda said...

Oh I saw that trend, too. But I don't think it reached as many people as the trend towards conservatism in the Boomer generation. I lived in the Bible Belt, but even so I didn't see a huge percentage of young people go for the fundie stuff. And those who did were brought up in it.

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