The UK-based advocacy group HOPE not hate recently released a July 2020 report detailing the attitudes and actions of 16 to 24 year-olds in the age of COVID-19. This study, titled Fear and Hope, studied over 2,000 Generation Z individuals to determine their attitudes about domestic and global politics. The study found that approximately 50 percent of Gen Z men feel that feminism has “gone too far.”
The study revealed that just 21 percent of young male respondents view feminism favorably. Conversely, nearly one in five young men maintain negative views about feminism, and just 39% of young men think that “it is a more dangerous time to be a woman than a man in Britain today.” A larger portion of respondents felt that feminism “makes it harder for men to succeed”.
The report draws attention to the ways in which many of these attitudes are particularly present in the group of individuals deemed “reactionary conservatives.” According to the study, 75% of reactionary conservatives feel that feminism is detrimental to men’s success. However, just 3% of those individuals deemed “leftist activists” feel the same way.
The study equated such attitudes with a larger far-right movement, concluding that “men’s rights and anti-feminism are increasingly become a slip road to the far right, appealing to young men feeling emasculated in an age of changing social norms.” In considering the role ideology plays in shaping attitudes and public opinion, the study also indicated that those who hold misogynistic views may be more inclined to hold racist views as well.
According to VICE News, the findings of the HOPE not hate report prompted responses from individuals including Sam Smethers, the chief executive of Fawcett Society, a UK-based charity advocating for gender equality. Smethers told VICE that the findings of this study explain the “high levels of misogyny, abuse, casualised violence, and objectification women face every day.”
In response to the concerns raised by the findings in their study, HOPE not hate concluded the report with a list of suggestions and action items that might change public opinion and behavior. The organization proposed that the Department of Education “urgently make tackling sexism and sexual harassment in schools a policy priority.” It also encouraged schools, colleges, and universities to do more to “address sexism and misogyny” and to take a “zero-tolerance approach.” The report also called upon policy makers to recognize the intersection between misogyny and racism.
Sources: HOPE not hate; Fear and Hope July 2020; VICE World News 8/3/2020; Fawcett Society