Despite claims that older and younger women are divided over the movement, a new survey finds a majority support it.
A majority of women across ages support the #MeToo movement, according to a recent survey jointly conducted by Vox and Morning Consult. In the survey of 2,511 women ages 18 and up, 71% of those under 35 say they support the movement, as do 68% of women aged 35 and over.
Women 35 and up are even more optimistic than younger women that #MeToo will translate to meaningful change: 55% think it will lead to “lower rates of sexual assault and harassment” in the future, compared to 47% of women under 35 who say the same. Seven in 10 older women are also more confident that men will be “more conscious of inappropriate behavior,” compared to 59% of women under 35.
Nevertheless, there are some differences in how older and younger women see the movement. One area was over women’s concerns about #MeToo-related blowback — namely, the possibility of being refused jobs or professional opportunities because men may be wary of the consequences of hiring or promoting women. Thirty-one percent of women under 35 admit feeling “very” concerned about this, compared to 23% of women 35 and up.
Another subject that divides them is how to deal with men at work who have allegedly committed acts of sexual misconduct, even in the absence of “concrete evidence.” Asked if it is acceptable “for [these] men to lose their jobs” because of the accusations, 13% of women 35 and over say yes, versus 25% of younger women who feel the same.
The Vox/Morning Consult survey throws cold water on some spectators’ belief that older women rationalize bad behavior and are more resigned to sexual misconduct. Headlines like “The new feminist war: young women vs older women” have emerged in recent months in publications like the U.K.’s “The Spectator,” which claimed “(a)ttempts by older women to moderate youthful anger are often see as a gross abuse of their power,” and “(s)ocial media is crackling with barely concealed inter-generational rage between feminists of different vintages.”
And after Babe.net published a story in January presenting allegations about an alleged sexual encounter between comedian and actor Aziz Ansari and a woman given the pseudonym Grace, the story’s 22-year-old writer eviscerated HLN host Ashleigh Banfield, who had criticized the site’s reporting. In an email, reporter Katie Way called Banfield a “Burgundy lipstick bad highlights second-wave feminist,” whom “no one under the age of 45 has ever heard of.”
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