Activism, Europe, Feminism, Politics, recent

Why Don’t Women Vote For Feminist Parties?

From the beginning, Britain’s only feminist political party shared an odd sort of fellowship with UKIP, which was, until recently, Britain’s leading anti-EU party. Both purported to represent roughly half of the population: women, in the case of the Women’s Equality Party (WEP), and those who wanted to leave the EU in the case of UKIP. Both were orientated toward a single issue. And both were plucky outsiders in an electoral system that is notoriously hostile towards new parties. Although their policy positions could hardly have been more different, founding members of the WEP looked to UKIP as a model of what a small party could achieve.

But in terms of electoral success, the two parties diverged some time ago. When UKIP was founded in 1991, it was little more than a talking shop for a fringe group of Eurosceptic academics. Under the leadership of Nigel Farage, however, the party was transformed into a populist juggernaut. At the EU elections in 2014, UKIP topped the poll, getting 27.5 percent of the votes cast and securing 24 out of 73 seats in the European Parliament. In the most recent EU elections, the Brexit Party—also led by Nigel Farage and in many respects a successor to UKIP—polled 31.7 percent of the vote and won 29 seats, more than any other party in the European Parliament. Indeed, there’s now talk of the Brexit Party replacing the Conservatives, the oldest and most successful political party in Europe. A cartoon in The Times depicts Farage gobbling up Prime Minister Teresa May, leaving nothing but her signature leopard print heels behind.

Not only was the UKIP project victorious in Britain’s 2016 referendum, where a majority voted to leave the EU, but Farage and his allies have also succeeded in reshaping British politics as a whole, bringing their concerns about immigration and national sovereignty to the fore. Truly, theirs is the great British political success story of this century—for good or ill.

And where was the WEP in all this? It also contested the European election this week, although only in London. There it managed to attract just 1.1 percent of the vote, less than the Animal Welfare Party. The WEP peaked in the 2016 London mayoral election in which it gained a modest 3.5 percent, but since then it has slipped to the bottom of the polls and seems likely to remain there. How is it that UKIP, the WEP’s dastardly older brother, has achieved so much, while the feminist party has achieved so little?

It all started so promisingly. When the WEP was founded in 2015, it attracted a remarkable number of members in their first few months. The party has always been good at branding, as you would expect of an organization founded and led by a group of successful media professionals, and they have consistently attracted glowing profiles in the national press. Looking back over their early coverage, it’s hard not to feel a pang of pity. The Telegraph described the WEP as “the fastest growing political force in the UK” only six weeks before the EU Referendum.

How quickly things change.

No one could accuse the WEP of lacking ambition. Although both UKIP and the WEP were established as single-issue political parties, for UKIP the objective was always crystal clear: to get Britain out of the EU. For the WEP, the overarching aim of achieving gender equality inevitably contains more diffuse objectives. The six stated goals of the party include “equal representation in politics and business” which is plausibly (if controversially) possible through quotas. But further down the list we get to the goal of “an end to violence against women” which makes the interminable process of leaving the EU seem like a walk in the park.

Which is not to say the WEP has not put serious thought into its manifesto. Although it has been accused of focusing too much on the interests of the white middle class women who disproportionally make up its membership, the party has offered a wide range of detailed policy proposals, including scrapping the married tax allowance and granting greater legal protections to cohabiting couples. But try as it might, these efforts have not yet won the WEP much popular support.

One might argue that the WEP does not necessarily need to win votes in order to gain influence. As an upcoming international study of women’s political parties details, such parties do have the power to alter the political landscape without attracting large numbers of votes. Simply by joining the campaign trail, women’s parties can put pressure on larger parties to better represent women’s interests.

But—and it’s an important “but”—the WEP also wants to win seats. Its original aim was to encourage a sitting MP to cross the floor, as the Conservative MP Douglas Carswell did when he left the Conservative party to join UKIP in 2014. Failing this, the WEP hoped to make headway in regional elections in which it would not be constrained by Britain’s first-past-the-post system.

Thus far this has not happened. This failure might partly be down to mistakes made by the party’s leaders. Early on, they were criticised for failing to work effectively with other political parties and they have ruffled the feathers of longstanding feminist advocacy groups. The WEP has struggled to negotiate areas of controversy within feminism, particularly the trans issue, which has been a source of significant tension. Its campaign to reform Britain’s laws regarding prostitution also proved controversial.

However, its lack of success is by no means unusual among women’s parties, dozens of which have been founded worldwide in the last century. The party with the greatest influence to date has been Sweden’s Feminist Initiative (FI). In the 2014 European elections, FI campaigned under a slogan of “replace the racists with the feminists!” winning 5.3 percent of the vote and becoming the first feminist party to send a Member of the European Parliament to Brussels. However, its success was short lived. The migrant crisis has changed the Swedish political landscape and in the most recent European election FI lost their only MEP along with 80 percent of their 2014 voters.

A brief flutter of electoral success is generally the best that women’s parties can hope for. No matter how strong their leaders are, or how appealing their manifesto promises, they will always face a fundamental problem: a lack of interest from voters.

You might think, quite reasonably, that women’s parties would be well placed to attract support. Slightly over half of the population are women and they have a distinct set of political interests. Most obviously, childbearing has a profound economic effect on women and, given that 83 percent of British women become mothers before they reach menopause, WEP policies on free childcare, protection from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, and shared parental leave should appeal to a large proportion of the population. A woman does not have to be a radical feminist to be attracted by policies that are likely to benefit her.

But even if large numbers of women were persuaded by the WEP’s policy proposals, most people do not vote based on rational self-interest. As the political philosopher Jason Brennan puts it in his book Against Democracy, “For as long as we’ve been measuring, the mean, model, and median voters have been misinformed or ignorant about basic political information… Their ignorance and misinformation causes them to support policies and candidates they would not support if they were better-informed.” The vast majority of people do not coolly weigh up the pros and cons of voting for each of the candidates presented to them. Most voters are only vaguely aware of the policy positions of political parties, let alone the minutiae of manifestos. Added to this, our natural human tribalism causes us to make irrational decisions. All of us vote emotionally to some degree, no matter how well informed we are.

Democracy is a team sport and we choose our teams based on our identities, but with the exception of gender. On the whole, if you know a person’s class, race, education, profession, and region—perhaps also their first language and religion—you will have a good idea of their voting behavior. Working class Londoner of South Asian heritage? Labour. Middle class public sector worker living in Brighton? Green. White stockbroker living in the Home Counties? Definitely Tory.

These groupings may change over time. In the U.K., we seem to be undergoing a shift in party loyalties as voters increasingly prioritize social values. For instance, in the 2017 General Election, the affluent London constituency of Kensington returned its first ever Labour MP to the surprise of many commentators. Although the Labour Party traditionally represented the white working class, it is now attracting both middle class liberals and poorer non-white voters, a coalition that Democrats in the U.S. are also reliant on. Of course, voting behavior is subject to change in response to wider forces, but when we move our political allegiances, we move in identity blocs.

When it comes to electoral politics, however, women are not an identity bloc and they never have been. Gender has a small impact on voting behaviour, in that women tend to lean left and are also less politically engaged on average. But, on the whole, knowing a person’s sex gives you very little insight into how they are likely to vote. Although the gender gap is enough to influence an election result, sex has much less of an impact than other demographic factors. Simplistic references to “the women’s vote” overlook this fact.

Source: British Household Panel Survey, 1991-2008

In the lead up to the 2016 Presidential Election, leftist activist and actress Susan Sarandon justified her decision not to vote for Hillary Clinton, even at the risk of a Trump presidency, by insisting “I don’t vote with my vagina”—the implication being that many of Clinton’s female voters did. The phrase took off, in particular among Bernie Sanders supporters. There was a widespread assumption that Clinton’s sex would be an advantage in attracting female voters, regardless of her actual policy positions, and the women supposedly taken in by such crude identity politics were mostly held in contempt.

When Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape was made public, many commentators prematurely declared that this would be the end of his campaign, since there was simply no way that female voters would support a candidate who had made such lewd comments about women. A South Park episode made at the time featured a Trump-like character driving away female voters with crude sexual language. Having led a campaign based on open hatred of immigrants, he shouts after the women now disgusted by his bigotry: “Oh I’m sorry, did I offend you? I just wanted to see where your line was!” It was assumed that although female Trump supporters could stand all manner of prejudice against other groups, they would surely not stand for sexism.

Trump had no reason to worry, of course, because it turned out that his female voters were quite prepared to tolerate his attitude towards women. A majority of white women voted for Trump, particularly married women, and Clinton later suggested that they did so because of the influence of their husbands. She may well have been right.

In this regard, women are quite unlike other groups that have historically been victims of discrimination. For instance, 95 percent of black Americans voted for Obama in 2008 and turned out in record numbers to do so. As a rule, voters can reliably be expected to vote for candidates they consider to be “one of their own,” as long as we’re talking about identity categories other than gender.

Most commentators seem to be unaware of this, as we saw in the recent reporting on the new abortion restrictions imposed in Alabama. Left-leaning news outlets complained about the fact that all of the politicians who pushed through the legislation were male (and white, too), neglecting the fact that American women are on average slightly more pro-life than men.

It is naïve to imagine that female voters will necessarily support feminist goals, even when they would benefit from them. Feminists have known this for a long time. The American writer Phyllis Chesler outlined in her now-classic book Woman’s Inhumanity to Woman the many and varied ways in which women have participated in the abuse of other women throughout history. Andrea Dworkin, too, detailed the ways in which female solidarity is constantly undermined by women’s loyalties to “their” men, writing of her own Jewish identity: “I am an enemy of nationalism and male domination. This means that I repudiate all nationalism except my own and reject the domination of all men except those I love. In this I am like every other woman.”

Most political tribes live in close proximity to one another. We tend to live in neighbourhoods in which most people share our race, class, and regional identities, and therefore vote in the same way. One thing to emerge from the aftermath of the Brexit referendum is that many voters knew very few people—if any—who had voted differently from themselves. The Remainer and Leaver bubbles have significant influence and it’s easy to feel animosity towards other political tribes when they are imagined as faceless strangers.

None of this is true for women. The dream of a minority of Second Wave feminists that women would leave their husbands en masse and establish female-only communities never came to pass. Women are not an isolated group—they not only live among men, but also often love them as spouses, sons, fathers, and brothers. And that’s as it should be.

But one effect of this is that true female solidarity is vanishingly rare. When asked to choose between identifying with other women, or identifying with “their” men, most women will choose the latter option. This means that women’s political parties will always struggle to gain a significant share of the vote.

But this doesn’t mean that feminists should give up hope. We have witnessed within the last century the most remarkable progress in women’s political representation in the West. Decriminalized abortion, funding for rape crisis centres, reforms to the criminal justice system, anti-discrimination legislation, and many more landmark achievements—all this has taken place within a democratic system and without the existence of women’s political parties. We don’t need women to “vote with their vaginas” in order to effect change. A hundred years ago there was only one female MP in Britain’s House of Commons; now there is a female Prime Minister (for the next few weeks, at least, as she has announced her resignation date).

UKIP may have flourished while the WEP has failed, but feminists within Westminster have achieved just as much as Brexiteers, albeit over a longer timeframe. In fact they have achieved far more. We may yet remain in the EU, and Nigel Farage may yet sink back into obscurity. The political advancement of women is here to stay.

 

Louise Perry is a freelance writer based in Oxford, U.K.

Feature photo by Andy Ngo.

 

90 Comments

  1. Many women rely on men one way or another. Even in couples where the woman works, the man still often earns more. It would arguably be against these women’s personal interests to support feminism, as feminism as a movement seeks to disempower men in order to empower women.

    • It’s the same reason why you see only rich, careerist women supporting feminism. Rich women rely much less on men so they don’t care.

    • What a beautiful way to prove everything the writer said about women’s loyalties is true. It’s rare to see such eloquent affirmation.

    • Jeremiah says

      My wife makes way more than I do, but she still doesnt identify as a feminist. The reason being because the label is too toxic. 1st from the 2nd wave radfems who believed all kinds of batshit crazy stuff regarding sex to the point where they even semi joined forces with right-wing televangelists because they hated men being able to see naked women so bad. Now comes the 3rd wavers who are a whole lot less crazy in that department, but who now are obsessed with general SJW identity politics and calling everything racism.

      She’s also not under the delusion that women are some kind of oppressed minority still. She knows that the gender pay gap is a myth or at least almost entirely explainable by things other than bosess discriminating against women. She’s a centrist like I am who hates both parties for different reasons.

      • Jeremiah says

        She also knows that biology, hormones, and genetics explains the areas where women face problems (men much more likely to kill women than vice versa for example) way better than some overlapping ides of a patriarchal conspiracy against women.

    • Larry David says

      Among Millennials women made the same on average as men or even higher before 30. That changes for two reasons. The first being women want to have kids and on average they start prioritizing work less once they have them especially until the kids go to school age. Women who are financially able to take as much time away from work as possible. This 5 to 10 year period also happens to be some of the most crucial years for your career track.

      The second is women disproportionately work in jobs like teaching, nursing, and social work. These jobs have pretty decent starting pay for your first years out or college, but theyre not jobs where you can work your way up to much higher pay.

  2. Kathleen Lowrey says

    I don’t agree that the WEP with its neoliberal shillfest politics is a good test of whether a women’s party could be electorally viable. Look at its smiley-wiles position on immigration, for example: “with social justice at its heart”. How is the laissez faire global circulation of super cheap labour a feminist position?

    I’m pretty sure a women’s party that talked about healthcare guarantees and income inequality AND listened to what Angela Nagle has articulated as “the left case against open borders” could start to close the gap with the Brexit party.

    None of this is even to mention WEP’s spinelessness on trans ideology and its harms to women and girls. WEP is a test case for the lack of mass appeal of neoliberalism with a pink bow on top and nothing else.

    • Jeremy says

      You’re obviously not the average feminist. These days 3rd wave feminism has become intersectional feminism, and with intersectional feminism the allowable range of opinion on immigration is between having de facto open borders and literally having open borders.

    • Peter says

      Kathleen, thank you for pointing to the excellent article:

      Angela Nagle: The left case against open borders.

  3. Andreas K. says

    Because feminism successfully taught women to believe what they want, to do what they want, and to vote for what they want, without having to obey what other people, including feminists, say they’re supposed to believe, do, or vote for…?

    • C Young says

      No. You imply that feminism is a cult of the autonomous individual. That’s just wrong. It’s a collectivist movement that denies female agency. Just about the inverse.

      • Stephanie says

        Feminism tries to be a collectivist cult, but many women don’t get the memo and just enjoy life as a free individual. I second the sentiment in the first comment that feminist political parties fail because they assume women will look at issues like pregnancy discrimination and extended maternity leave and think the personal benefits they will reap from those policies outweighs the higher taxes both they and their husbands will pay indefinitely to pay for those. Add into that the open borders fetish the feminist left has these days, and it is easy to see that these policies will effectively just redistribute their money to third world baby-making slaves and their owners/husbands.

      • Feminism is more than a bit inconsistent on the whole collectivism/individualism thing though.

        Here in the UK there was a lot of individualistic “girl power” stuff slapped with the feminist label during the 90s. I’ve seen plenty of liberal feminists push the idea that feminism simply means individual freedom and autonomy for women.

        Of course the Women’s Equality Party are collectivist and want censorship, gender quotas, and restrictions on choices they disagree with. You get leader Sophie Walker dismissing women as pathetic brainwashed “sex bots” when they disagree with the WEP position on banning prostitution and strip clubs.

        I don’t think it’s implausible that liberal individualist feminism is part of the reason why some women look at the WEP and want nothing to do with it.

  4. bumble bee says

    My personal politics is based on the whole package, not superficial identities. As a woman, I could not justify voting for HRC, as she does not embody what I considered to be a genuine as a candidate or personally. I don’t care if a woman is running, that is not enough to win my vote.

    I also do not align with this Third Wave Feminism either. I do not believe being a woman entitles me to anything beyond equal access to work, pay, and living my life as I determine it to be. I also see this TWF as being unhinged with regards to abortion. I am offended at these new laws going into effect where abortion can be done post birth as I find it devoid and contradictory to what they proclaim to stand for (hypocrites). Then of course I personally do not want to associate with a group that is just plain revolting in their behaviors, so much so that Courtney Love in her heyday could be their poster child. Those Pussy hats are beyond stupid, and those rantings at their so called rallies are an embarrassment.

    To even think that women should vote for feminist/women candidates is beyond insulting. Sorry but there are plenty of current politicians that should not have been elected but were because simpleton masses were voting identity politics. Now we have to endure self serving, agenda driven, racist, ignorance because idiot women voted for idiot women. The whole incarnation of feminism is toxic, ignorant, stupid. When I can finally find a woman who rises above these harpies and has some modicum of intelligence, wisdom, humility, and doesn’t trade on her being a woman, I may have found someone to vote for. Until then, every woman candidate/feminist is nothing more than a bot for the feminist movement and I hope they all never get elected.

    • Thanks bumble bee, and for this, “When I can finally find a woman who rises above these harpies and has some modicum of intelligence, wisdom, humility, and doesn’t trade on her being a woman, I may have found someone to vote for.” I commend to you – Candace Owens, not yet votable but probably not far too off. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQt9msZkOL0

      • Eric Liskey says

        I found this story surprising. I thought it would be an answer to the question posited in the hed. Instead, the author seems not to understand. Let me propose that women don’t overwhelmingly vote for feminists because they don’t agree with them. Feminists today, many of them, truly do seek to destroy the traditional family unit. They also, many of them, heap scorn on women who hold morherhood to be a higher calling than a career. Further, many feminists literally see men as evil, or “toxic”. How can it surprise anyone without a completely warped sense of reality that many, probably most, women would be repelled by these ideas?

    • Harland says

      The pussy hats were banned. Who can guess why? Hint: why would SJWs object? The question answers itself.

    • artichoke says

      I used to think Amy Klobuchar would be a serious presidential candidate, this time round or in 2024. Very intelligent, midwestern common sense. But then she joined the lemmings going over the cliff attacking Brett Kavanaugh, and so now to me she’s just another bot to me. It took Susan Collins to stop that madness.

    • Trilby says

      Well said. I totally agree.

      The women who have run for office have not, so far, been women I can support. Besides, I don’t vote “as a woman.” I vote as a thinking individual. I hate crowds and crowd-think, and yes, I hate pussy hats. Really– to put such a thing on your head? I can’t even! And they want to be taken seriously.

    • Terminal Man says

      @bumble bee

      That last paragraph was one of the most well stated, to the point opinions I have the pleasure to read in a comment section. Not because of any agreement I may have with you but because you are one of the rare people who see in 20/20 both now and later.

  5. Joana George says

    I suspect that a big part of the lack of success is exactly the “one issue” focus. It’s hard to imagine a lot of women caring about equal representation above all else.

    I disagree though that there is no way to appeal to women voters across the spectrum by targeting their womanhood. This is going to sound quite sexist, but I think that a “one issue” party focused on children could gain a lot of traction among women voters across the political aisle.

    Instead of “free childcare” (which I think is more woman focused), focus on extended maternity leave and improving the quality of care in existing centers, talk about the foster care system and how it can be improved, look into offering parenting classes and postpartum support, think of programs to encourage the active participation of fathers. I can see both “left” and “right” women supporting something like this, as well as a lot of women who are otherwise politically disengaged.

    Thinking about it now, it’s a little odd that a party with this core agenda isn’t already out there…Maybe I just missed it…

    • Trilby says

      My daughter tried working, briefly, at a local childcare facility. She was horrified by the ignorance, lethargy, and negligence of most of the other child minders. Extended maternity leave is a better option, for sure, but it won’t ever be extended until school age, leaving a gap of several years that needs filling.

      It was for this reason that when my kids were little, I started a business with my husband. He was more the public face and I did the books, the buying, payroll, etc., and took care of our babies. We weren’t hugely successful but I loved being with my kids and raising them to my standards. And I wasn’t looking at my phone all the time because we didn’t have them yet! We would talk and play and read and go places. Happiest years of my life!

  6. E. Olson says

    Two quotes from the article taken together answer the question in the title. The first is: “WEP policies on free childcare, protection from pregnancy discrimination in the workplace, and shared parental leave should appeal to a large proportion of the population.” The second is: “As the political philosopher Jason Brennan puts it in his book Against Democracy, “For as long as we’ve been measuring, the mean, model, and median voters have been misinformed or ignorant about basic political information… Their ignorance and misinformation causes them to support policies and candidates they would not support if they were better-informed.” ”

    If you are informed and not ignorant you will realize the “free childcare” is not actually free, nor is protection against pregnancy discrimination, or shared parental leave. Anything “free” the government provides is paid for by taxpayers, who are predominately men married to and supporting women. Similarly, government mandates against discrimination and forcing shared parental leave will also be paid for mostly by men. For example, men are often the ones who step up to take on extra duties to fill in for missing women and then are expected to step aside when the woman decides to return. Since men are more often the bigger earners in households their taking time off to raise the baby hurts the family finances much more than if the wife takes the full leave. Working married women may also not be crazy about paying high taxes on their earnings that goes mostly to support programs that provide the most benefit to single mothers. Thus all these female “empowering” WEP policies are mostly about taking money and paid work away from men to give to women, which often hurts married women as much as or more than men.

    Further, most established Leftist parties are already feminist in advocating policies that benefit single women at the expense of men and married women, so to the extent women want to vote feminist they are better off voting for a party that might actually win some seats and have some influence.

    Thus almost all informed women would be crazy to vote for a feminist party, so the more interesting question is why anyone does.

    • bumble bee says

      There may be a new law enforced in Massachusetts (possibly nationwide) in which maternity leave is going to be funded in the same manner as unemployment. In other words another tax that everyone is going to have to pay into whether they have no children, or past childbearing in order to fund these freebies feminists keep harping about.

      What I would like to know is when are women, specifically feminists, going to grow up and take responsibility for their life choices. If people are going to start a family, then plan for it properly including savings to get by on during maternity leave. I nor anyone else needs to subsidize anyone else’s life choices.

      • w2 says

        Nearly half of all births in the US are paid for by Medicaid because the parents meet the income eligibility for the program. Is that really every one of these mothers’ fault? And is “personal responsibility” honestly your proposed policy solution to this problem?

        I believe there is a strong benefit in letting new parents have time off from work to get situated and settled. Maternity leave helps the newborn child in multiple ways, and our public and private institutions should support it.

        • bumble bee says

          There is a huge difference between having Medicaid pay for those who cannot afford to pay any or all of the costs of giving birth and mandating that everyone pays for someone else’s delivery and maternity leave. Medicaid is based on income, meaning they must prove that their income is insufficient for healthcare where they most likely received this through the health connector. Those federal income guidelines as well are actually quite low considering those in high cost of living state may not even qualify though their income does not cover their needs.

          What this possible new law is intending to do is provide income to ANYONE who will be going on maternity leave regardless of income. Just as unemployment insurance is available to anyone who lost their job. The difference however, is that unemployment insurance is covered by the employer, not the employees. Whereas this possible new law would take deductions straight out of everyone’s paychecks. I do not see why I, or others need to fund a program that I or they will never access. Now if they wanted to make this voluntary, where people who may access this can put into it, that would be more equitable.

          Yes, people need to plan more if they are going to want to start a family. Just as any other situation in life, where financial issues arise, you have to plan for it.

          • w2 says

            Medicaid is a joint federal-state public program paid for by taxes.

            I support reasonable paid maternity leave for everyone because it benefits the mother, the child, and by extension, the society. Both public and private institutions should support it. Many already do, either by offering maternity leave as a direct benefit, or by offering flexible paid time off policies where the employer covers the cost of the leave.

    • Jocelin says

      I always scroll down for your comments. They are usually as interesting as the article itself.

    • Geary Johansen says

      @ E. Olson

      Informed commentary as usual. Childcare only makes sense, whether public or private, when the trade of time for money goes down the socio-economic scale. If you are a single mother making minimum wage cleaning toilets 60 hours a week, why should either society or you pay some better qualified woman more money per hour, to not spend time with your own kid. We know from studies, that younger children tend to suffer when the ratio of kids to adult goes beyond 3:1. A far better system would involve single mothers taking off a third of their working week, with some sort of modest three dollar an hour income supplement, to participate in their child’s daycare for the first 4-5 years of their kid’s life.

      Aha, I hear the leftists cry- let’s set up a massive bureaucracy to provide such a program. Or, you could just use Craigslist and a tiny number of early learning specialists to train expectant and existing single, low-income mothers in parenting and early childhood development, with the goal setting up a co-operative home-based daycare structure.

      The real problem with feminist ideology is that it ignores both the far more diverse choices women have, and the uneven incentives faced by men and women. If you are a man, the only way to enjoy a rich and rewarding family life is to become a provider- because women simply won’t put up with deadbeat dads. If feminists really wanted to close the supposed gender pay gap they would differentiate between maternal and paternal parenting, emphasis the crucial nature of both and encourage men to use traditionally masculine techniques such as rough play and boundary enforcement to take a more active role in raising their kids. If more male corporate managers understood that they need to spend at least 15 – 25 hours in fathering activities, such as having an evening meal or going on adventures at weekends- then the disparities in pay between men and women would reduce, as would gender-weighted corporate hierachies- because a reduction in the disproportionately long hours that men work would necessarily even out disparities.

      I didn’t read the Boy Crisis, in the end, when I borrowed it from my local library. Just couldn’t get on with the prose style. But I did watch several quite detailed interviews with Dr Warren Farrell. Plus, it seems that activities such as rough play actually increase genetic longevity. Although, given that a causal link between acne and longevity has also been discovered- I suspect that we may well find that the human organism might well favour protracted development and longevity, when around a dominant male protector, to fast development and breeding.

      I watched a really great series on Sky Arts recently, featuring British staple celebrities juxtaposed with noted artists. One episode was Helena Bonham Carter looking into the life of the pre-Raphaelite comtemporary Dora Carrington. You could see the set-up coming. Here was this amazing female artist, putting her life and work on hold for romance, and the award-winning British actress. You could see that the slightly camp, artsy, black british art expert wanted to illicit empathy for the poor, misguided woman, Dora, from the thoroughly modern women embodied by Helena Bonham Carter. Only she was having none of it- despite being, by any objective standard, a major cultural contributor and participant in film, Helena agreed that she too valued herself more through the lens of her family and the human connections she made through friendships. He was so shocked and disappointed- hardly the feminist narrative, after all.

  7. Etiamsi omnes says

    In the comments section under an article that appeared not long ago on Quillette, one of the readers quoted H.L Mencken’s definition:

    ‘ Misogynist: A man who hates women as much as women hate one another.’

    • Phil says

      When a person is accused of Misogyny, it is usually because that person does not agree with them.

      Psychologist Toby Green pointed out how some people will personalise as they believe if you do not agree with them, then it is because you hate them.

      So in reality;

      Misogyny; How dare you disagree with me!

  8. C Young says

    Or is it because only 9% of women in the UK are self described feminists and for these, this isn’t the most important part of their identity?

  9. lydia says

    I don’t relate to a lot of women. I don’t understand a gender group who claim to be oppressed and then expects people to just hand them power. I call them crybullies. I am more impressed with a Maggie Thatcher or a Golda Meier.

    Most of the women I have met like this are first world privileged no matter what color they are. it’s uncanny how you run into these types in the top colleges. “Oppressed”? I think not. Champagne problems to whine about. No thanks.

  10. Morgan Foster says

    It’s rare to find a progressive like Louise Perry who publicly admits that she wants people to vote along racial and gender lines rather than policy.

  11. GrumpyBear says

    Kudos to the author for getting more than halfway through the essay before blaming men (“Clinton later suggested that they did so because of the influence of their husbands. She may well have been right.”). She even threw out the “women who don’t agree with me are stupid” (“Their ignorance and misinformation causes them to support policies and candidates they would not support if they were better-informed.”) argument first.

    Maybe evil men and stupid women are the reason that the WEP failed. Or maybe “an organization founded and led by a group of successful media professionals” has no idea what most women care about, and are too hubristic to realize it.

  12. Owntown Darts Scene says

    My uneducated guess would be that there’s a certain perception of redundancy surrounding this novel political initiative. As in, who needs yet another feminist party? It’s like launching The Entrenched Hegemony Party.

  13. IainC of The Ponds says

    I hypothesize that activist led feminism, to the informed voter, is deeply unattractive to the majority in much the same way that socialism is. Socialism, the greatest lie of the 20th century, purported to free the poor and the working classes from their chains to enrich them to full social equality at the expense of their exploiters. In reality, of course, equality under socialism was achieved by impoverishing everyone equally, to say nothing of enslaving the workers under worse conditions than the depths of the industrial revolution. The superiority of free enterprise and market forces over ideological activist collectivism in raising millions out of poverty and into the middle classes hardly needs repeating outside of a university.
    Perhaps most women view activist-led feminism as a similar cart of manure as socialism. They (feminists) advocate achieving equality by tearing down someone else’s (in this case, men in general) alleged unearned advantages, rather than empowering everyone as much as is achievable so that all are raised to a higher plane of equality, as it were. What feminism needs is a capitalist version of gender equality social dynamics, where market forces and “enlightened self-interest” drive social progress and gender equality for everyone, not just lucky educated white middle-class women, because it results in benefits to all sectors of society. Grow the gender equality pie, as they say in the financial world. Just a thought.

    • Rev. Wazoo! says

      @IanC

      Interesting and largely accurate observations if a little overblown for me. Remember, capitalist enterprise, in the form of the limitednliability corporation which is at the heart of the West’s system, is built on that collective. A coporation is by definition a collective enterprise and ironically does that much better than far-left pseudo ones. Combined with a a free market , which requires the referee of anti-trust enforcement by the state, the collective/ corporation cooperates within to compete against other copperative collectives/ corporations. Anti-trust to to prevent these collectives/ corporations from cooperating excessively with each other to end the free market.

      Meanwhile, your idea of a free market-driven feminism/ feminist party is interesting, what would their efforts be primarily in aid of?

    • Miss Yellowbird says

      @IanCofthePonds – I don’t necessarily agree about socialism, but the second paragraph really nails the “women’s vote” issue.

      Politicians, journalists and activists have adopted an almost evangelical worldview where they see people that don’t immediately support their entire platform as unrepentant sinners. Like street preachers they also think the solution is endless shaming thinkpieces written by professional attention seekers who rend their garments and gnash their teeth over the wayward women who don’t submit.

      What is lost in the mix is that women are certainly not a monolithic block and people will vote for their own self-interest. As others have pointed out, these endless, “Why won’t these stupid, awful women who don’t know what’s good for them vote for us?” articles only further alienate people who might be interested in politics.

      It’s interesting that she isn’t even talking about American politics, but still feels the need to bring us up for a finger-wagging over the bad orange man and the bad white women who voted for him. I didn’t vote for him, but I don’t believe in trying to shame and insult any woman who did because we have a bipartisan government, and you only get two choices. While I’m not opposed to a women’s party, I am opposed to being lectured and talked down to by other women and also to being told I should hate other women because of their voting habits, marital status and/or skin color.

      For instance it’s great for feminists and politicians to focus on kids because they are innocent and no one wants to see a kid suffer, however, as one of the commenters above mentioned, often programs intended to help single mothers have to be paid for with taxpayer funds. Politicians and feminists only seem to see three categories of women: the submissive married woman, the freewheeling single gal, and the identity block of undocumented immigrant women and single moms on welfare. In fact, women are individuals they don’t fit in neat little categories – also their issues and needs may change with age, social or financial or marital or childed status.

      For instance, many middle-class women are struggling financially and forgoing having children because of the financial burden, and it’s not helpful to tell them that they will be taxed more to pay for other women’s (sometimes multiple) children. This isn’t a compassion issue – it’s an economic issue. This idea that women have no self-interest and can be endlessly mined for compassion is just a sexist holdover, as bad as any other false generalization. As a very savvy business woman once said, “What have you done for me lately?”

      Often there is far too much hysteria and hyperbole surrounding “women’s issues” and not enough concrete solutions being proposed that don’t include “you will all pay out of pocket for all the worlds poor women AND their large families, AND don’t complain or ask for any benefit for yourselves or we will call you meanie right-wingers”.

      But this is simply yet another problem of roping half the population into a box and then shaming them when they don’t all think alike.

      The biggest issue with women’s politics today worldwide is that there is endless emoting and constant performative displays of compassion, but there are very little tangible benefits being discussed. In my opinion, more women would be inspired to engage with politics if there was a more “rising tide lifts all boats” attitude rather than, “we keep taking your money to pay for other people while offering you no benefits, and we can’t imagine why you don’t like it” approach.

  14. Can we have some careful spell-checking, please? (Or would it be editing?) The word should have been “modal” (a mathematical term) NOT “model” (a fashion term)

  15. Sadie Slays says

    As a woman who voted for President Trump, I found the “Access Hollywood” tape far less offensive than Hillary Clinton’s entire career of bad policy and bad decisions. Since then, I’ve been repeatedly scolded by the media and Women’s March leadership alike for simply being a white woman. I don’t see any reason to start supporting “feminists” who increasingly hate me with every passing year.

    • Grant says

      @Sadie

      I think your reasoning was widespread. Trump offends me in a myriad of ways, but HRC was unthinkable to me as president. HRC blamed everyone but herself for her loss, and she can’t understand anyone having different ideas about policy, which is why she called them deplorable.

  16. Chester Draws says

    One reason women’s parties fail is that they are totally unnecessary. Because while women often vote in line with “their” men, so men vote in part with “their” women.

    Female suffrage was achieved because men voted for it. All modern Western parties routinely advance policies with solely their female voters in mind. And men continue to vote for such policies because they think they will help the women they care about.

    Before I vote the person whose opinion I consider most strongly is my wife’s. And you’re dreaming if you think I steer her vote more than she steers mine.

    • “Female suffrage was achieved because men voted for it”

      Yes, indeed. I remind whiny first world “oppressed” third wave feminists of this all the time. My maternal grandparents were BOTH suffragettes and as young newlyweds campaigned for ratification. ( women in my ancestry tended to have children late in life.

    • Peter from Oz says

      Chester
      Good points. It must also be remembered that women have been freed to participate in the workplace and political sphere in much larger numbers because men invented the contraceptive pill. Not nay did this allow women to plan their pregnancies but it also gave relief to millions of women whose menstrual pain and associated health issues kept them from achieving their potential.

  17. Era Vulgaris says

    “Because while women often vote in line with “their” men, so men vote in part with “their” women.”

    This.

    It’s pretty obvious, most women don’t support feminist parties because most women like men. In the same way that most men like the opposite sex and wouldn’t support a political party that was based on resentment of women.

    • bumble bee says

      You could pretty well extend your comment to include every other social agenda being put forth today. That being, demonizing their so called “oppressor” rather than striving to become included and valued just the same.

      If the topic is racism, we now have the white devils, if it is immigration we have exclusionary nativist xenophobes, if it is gender inequality we have evil men. It goes on and on. There is no attempt to find value whatsoever in the targeted causes of perceived inequality. It is a hate culture to rile up the masses by serving them a sacrificial lamb. If they can kill and defeat their “oppressors”, all will be good. Th

      en if they were to obtain such “victories” they would become exactly what they have been fighting against. All these social agendas are nothing more than a self serving power grab at the expense of others without any regard to what would be best for society and humanity, or ironically themselves.

      This is why I do not support ANY of the social agendas that have risen in the last 10yrs. Just because there is a social issue that any decent human being would agree with, does not mean that the current incarnation or philosophy that is presented, as well as its leadership, is correct.

  18. androgenous coward says

    Feminism is a white liberal middle class pursuit, so that alienates the majority of women to start with. It then goes on to viscerally attack a lot of the people women love – fathers, partners, sons which threatens even more of them. Who is left after that to support them?

  19. Closed Range says

    It’s never pleasant to read an article that comes across as a bitter moan more than a real piece of research. I think the author showed her true colours in the passage where she claims that who someone is determines their votes: “we choose our teams based on our identities”.

    In fact, every election is a genuine rejection of this idea. In reality, people care much more about the actual issues at play, such as housing, immigration, sovereignty, democracy, jobs, trade, education and the rest. Why did UKIP gain so many votes? Because the EU has a direct impact on all of these issues, often enough in a negative and harmful way. Why does single issue feminist parties not gain any ground there? Because they have no original ideas on any of these topics that shape people’s lives far more than the imagined feel good factor of having a few more women MPs or a woman president. Now how exactly do people decide what to support? I suggest you read some real research on that, such as Jonathan Haidt’ book, rather than the comments unfounded snarky comments in this article.

    On a more personal side, many years ago a labour candidate for MP knocked on my door, and the first thing she said was “Hi – you’ve got a Scottish first name, that means you’re probably a labour supporter – will you vote for me?”. I’ll never forget the look of genuine amazement on her face when I told her that the fact she saw me as just a token meant she definitely wouldn’t be getting my vote. The idea was truly beyond the depths of her shallow little mind. (She ended up losing in a traditionally labour area)

    • Heike says

      “The dream of a minority of Second Wave feminists that women would leave their husbands en masse and establish female-only communities never came to pass.”

      Wait, what? How did this get casually tossed out and go unremarked? Feminists expected women to leave their families – the people they love most in the world – to join communes full of women who hate families? How would these two groups have anything in common? How could they ever live together?

      To me, this was a howler that jumped right out at me. If it were an anti-feminist telling me this, I’d dismiss it as a ridiculous canard. But to just throw it out there as if it were common knowledge? Or as if it was some glowing ideal that sadly never came to pass? WTF?

      • Photondancer says

        You could always google it. The idea was tossed around by a few feminists in the 1970s, when communes of various types were briefly fashionable.

      • Owntown Darts Scene says

        @Heike

        Arguably, when she says “a minority of Second Wave feminists”, she means the leaders of said movement. Or indeed the feminists who were most feminist of them all, something usually deliberately overlooked when people argue for “Feminism” (especially with a capital F) as an unambiguously beneficent ideological foundation.

        This is why I personally wouldn’t support any candidate whose primary political identifications include “Feminist”, any more than I would support an avowed “Maoist” in the hopes that, given power, they would decide to go easy on the whole Cultural Revolution thing. Sure, they might. But it would sure be awkward trying to explain that support to the comrades at the re-education class in case they turned out to be sincere.

      • ga gamba says

        There was, and still is, a group of radical separatist feminists who did just that. The BBC’s Lefties: Angry Wimmin documentary covers it a bit – forward to 19:10 if you don’t want to view the entire film, though I think it’s well done and all of it is worth a crack. Included in radical separatist feminism was the idea of political lesbianism, where straight women were groomed to change their sexual orientation or else they’d never be free and happy as well as strong and indpendent – sounds like a conversion therapy, doesn’t it? Included in this lifestyle was the expectation women abandon their male children, though in some separatist radfem groups boys up to a certain age, often 7, were allowed to be with their mums in separatist spaces.

        I reckon these groups didn’t garner a lot of attention in the media in part because they threatened other non-separatist homosexuals who wanted to appeal to mainstream sympathies. Recalling the anti-gay arguments, one was it’s a lifestyle choice. Political lesbianism contradicted the “we’re made/born this way (by God)” assertions used by natal/essential gays to rebut the religious.

        • Ray Andrews says

          @ga gamba

          “separatist radfem groups”

          Thanks. It’s comforting to remember that the radfems of today are not much more toxic than their predecessors. In every generation there will be a small band of deeply disturbed women who hate being female and who will make as much trouble and hurt as many men as they possibly can.

        • Jonny Sclerotic says

          @ga gamba: I second your recommend for the BBC doc. It’s a brilliantly sly editorial move to have boomer/genx radfems enthusiastically (if part-knowingly) exposing the doomed trajectory of their own risible ideology. They can barely conceal the contempt for their younger selves. Which is always a joy to watch.

  20. Avid Reader says

    Have to agree with everyone above, and maybe it was not the author’s intention, but I found it as patronising as hell. More blaming the ignorant masses for not voting how they “should”. Well it doesn’t take a PhD ( and I’ve got one) to realise that a vagina doesn’t automatically make a woman a competent politician.

  21. Kessler says

    I honestly think in general women benefit more from electing male politicians, as from the perspective of sex, male politician is more likely to favor women’s interests. Specific cases of course may vary. All in all, I don’t think it’s that big of an influence in politics.

    I should also note, that both male and female solidarity would be valued as less important than familial and social bonds for absolute majority of people. We just care way more about our family and friends, then some strangers, we don’t know. I would actually see somebody caring more for other people, then their family as immoral, unless there are some special circumstances.

  22. Morgan Foster says

    “Sarandon justified her decision not to vote for Hillary Clinton, even at the risk of a Trump presidency, by insisting “I don’t vote with my vagina”… “

    Interesting fact about Susan Sarandon; she has two sons.

    Presumably, she cares about protecting their interests as well as her own.

    This is the kind of identity that doesn’t mesh well with the author’s dream of a women’s party.

  23. johnhenry says

    Is that “F !” emblem the official logo of the Women’s Equality Party in Britain?

    Seeing as Second & Third Wave Feminism are hideous ideologies (no?) if I lived over there and had nothing to lose, I would found a counter-movement called F ! Off ©

    Can I say that on this august website?

    • “F!” is the logo of the Feminist Initiative party of Swedish politics I believe. From memory they got some support early in some places, but have languished lately. Cheers.

  24. Jonfrum says

    “The dream of a minority of Second Wave feminists that women would leave their husbands en masse and establish female-only communities never came to pass …”

    Replace ‘Second Wave feminists’ with ‘lesbians’ and you’d be more accurate. Why is this so difficult to say? Lesbians drive much radical feminism, and straight women will play fellow traveler – when convenient. They certainly aren’t going so far as to leave their husbands.

  25. AJ says

    Feminists are a small minority with exact number depending on which poll you read but always a small proportio of the population. A single issue party based on an unpopular ideology is never going to do well however much favourable media coverage and access it gets (and they got a lot).

    The question why feminism is so unpopular amongst women let alone men is worthy of another article but is probably related to the way it concerns itself almost entirely with the interests of wealthy well educated women, the overt sexism and the huge disconect between the ideology and the real world. It is difficult to think of any other ideology which has such limited support in the general population which is so dominant in the perspective of the media.

  26. Harrison Bergeron says

    Hillary was in favor of the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) . She backed off of support for it during the campaign but most believed that once she was President should would reverse push it through. Also it was heavily supported by Obama. I was taught ( by progressives!) that TPP was an odious transfer of local governmental autonomy to large multibillion dollar international corporations. One of the first things that Trump did was to kill it.
    Let’s be honest. What would have been more damaging to women? Trump’s vulgar comments about women or Hillary’s undermining the ability of local communty’s ability to regulate corporate activity. Maybe the women that voted for Trump were able to see the larger picture.

    • Heike says

      They were against the TPP until Trump was against it. Then suddenly the bad orange man killed a valuable agreement that was going to wreck China. Then the bad orange man started to wreck China, and then suddenly wrecking China was a horrible idea that would never work.

      • Harrison Bergeron says

        I don’t think that you know what the TPP was. It was the thing that Obama was most committed to pushing through. It was the only thing that Obama and the Republicans were ever on the same page about. Both wanted this. Hillary was completely in favor of it as well until about 5 months before the election when the left was criticizing her over it. At about that point her campaign said that she was would be against it “unless they got new information” which basically meant that that once she was president she would flip and support it. Bottom line: Everybody except the left hated it. Check out Noam Chomsky, Ralph Nader, Glenn Greenwald etc. Trump killed it and you would think that the left would be celebrating but they never said a word.

  27. To put it simply says

    To put it simply, because most women are not morons. They know at both the instinctual and intellectual levels that men create progress and drive civilization forward. To quote Camille Paglia “If civilization had been left in female hands, we would still be living in grass huts.”

    • SommeVerdun says

      Thanks, that first sentence made me laugh (in addition to making a good point).

  28. Rami says

    Often the worst articles in quillette elicit the best material in the comment section.

    Thanks all.

  29. Stephanie says

    It is a sign that women genuinely are free that we don’t vote in herds for whatever candidate shares that immutable characteristic. It is a sign of continued domestication that black people vote overwhelmingly for the party that promises to take care of them. That the man (half) sharing their superficial immutable characteristic (not even their history or culture) got 95 % of their vote further emphasizes that base tribalism trumps individual thought.

    But despite the best efforts of Democrats to keep blacks on the psychological plantation, top-earning black men voted for Trump at rates of 15-20%. Once blacks escape the victimhood mentality and buy into American meritocracy, their voting patterns better reflect normal political diversity. Successful black people pose a huge threat to the Democratic establishment, and their policies continue to reflect that.

    Another promising sign is that Kamala Harris and Corey Booker aren’t attracting anywhere close to the support among black people that Obama did, possibly suggesting Obama was a one-off. The orgasmic way he was covered by the media swept up a lot of people, but the reality that a black President, Attorney General, Mayor, and Police Chief didn’t prevent fatal police shootings of black men shattered the illusion that the lack of black people in positions of power was responsible. We ended up with activists with a greater focus on invisible, unquantifiable “systemic racism,” but my hunch is that ordinary black people are going to be increasingly receptive to more concrete explanations and solutions. The rising tide of the Trump economy and the way Kanye broke the ice might lay the foundation for future black leaders to deliver a JBP-esque message of personal responsibility and self-improvement and the political equilibration that comes naturally from adopting those values.

    Instead of blaming women for voting as individuals, we should be exploring why other identity groups, most notably black people, vote as a monolith, and what can be done to break that hegemony.

  30. Their utter failure in actual elections doesn’t seem to stop the WEP from being media darlings in the UK.

    Whenever there’s a “women’s issue” like the gender pay gap in the news there’ll usually be a WEP rep invited on as a talking head. Their number of appearances on the BBC is certainly vastly out of proportion to their share of the vote.

    I suspect having the label of a political party, no matter how unsuccessful, probably helps them present themselves as the nearest thing to official representatives of feminism.

    • Heike says

      Being in the media industry themselves helps a great deal. The media favors its own, you know. They’re corrupt, sadly. Imagine a media that was on the side of the people, what a powerful ally. But no.

  31. AF says

    “But one effect of this is that true female solidarity is vanishingly rare. When asked to choose between identifying with other women, or identifying with “their” men, most women will choose the latter option. This means that women’s political parties will always struggle to gain a significant share of the vote.”

    I’m not sure why we would in general expect any subset of the population to identify more with nebulous umbrella categories than with their closest intimates, when pressed. It seems like a pretty safe default assumption that people will on average tend to sacrifice the collective for the personal as far as causes go.

  32. mitchellporter says

    The Wikipedia page, “List of feminist parties”, lists almost 100 parties in over 50 countries, including places like Namibia, Nigeria, Iran, and Pakistan, where the political zeitgeist must be rather different from the west.

    My guess as to the overall answer to the question in the title, is that legal equality for women is the core issue that would be capable of mobilizing women in large numbers. Once that is achieved, women’s issues remain, but they are dealt with piecemeal and by the mainstream parties.

  33. bumble bee says

    @Mitchellporter,

    “The Wikipedia page, “List of feminist parties”, lists almost 100 parties in over 50 countries, including places like Namibia, Nigeria, Iran, and Pakistan, where the political zeitgeist must be rather different from the west.”

    Now looking at this statement, what this to me touches on is how feminist groups, based on progressive liberal ideologies, have become the 21st century missionaries/colonialist destroying more cultures.

    If we look back at early to mid part of the 20th century (and even before), we see missionaries going to places in Africa (mostly) to spread the Good News to “savages” in poor undeveloped countries. Their purpose was to convert the population to Christianity by opening schools, hospitals, churches, as well as provide employment within their sphere of interests. What was initially looked at as beneficial to “liberate” these poor unfortunates has now been deemed by history to have done some real damage instead of being the saving grace it was intended to be. Even the word missionary, evokes images of foreign entities taking advantage of native populations that can be equated with another form of colonialism. So the liberal think believes.

    Now it is the liberal progressives who are doing the exactly the same thing by invading countries with their own new age ideology thinking they are doing good for women and children. Instead, like those who came before, they are using these people to push their agenda into many areas by promising the exact same incentives, education, healthcare, jobs. It’s the same old tactics just with a different ideology the masses must swallow to receive the promises given. It is a new colonialism, it is a new invasion on a people, a continent, that never asked for them to come.

    So what is really happening, is that the “Good News” the earlier missionaries came to preach, so too are the feminist bring their own brand of “good news” and will be judged in the same manner as their predecessors.

  34. Elton H says

    It’s belittling to women to think that they are voting irrationally by voting for non-feminist agendas. It’s saying that they do not see the big picture that may exist beyond the feminist agenda.

  35. w2 says

    Single-issue advocacy is meaningful if it the issue is able to engage within a broader set of solutions. In the US, third party movements tend to get started from one issue — income inequality in the 1920s, race and the reaction to the civil rights movement in the 1960s, and trade and globalization in the 1990s. The complexity of these issues resonated on many levels, and proponents developed multifaceted solutions. If a movement or party can’t think broadly, they appropriately wither.

    I believe we are in a similar time when the complex issues of economic inequality and decline, culture, and race are being successfully subsumed into the single issue of migration by a vocal and engaged minority.

    The result is that focused movements like feminism — and even broader policy areas like health care, education, and taxes are getting pushed to the side amid the bombast about migration. To the detriment of our political discourse, and of our policies.

  36. chrisbarclay6296 says

    ‘ … the WEP … also contested the European election this week, although only in London.’ So the Party is really inclusive?

    I assume that the WEP has also campaigned forcefully to bring grooming gangs to justice, to hold to account all the social workers, politicians and police officers who faield the victims and to prosecute the parents of girls who have suffered FGM and the medical ‘practitioners’? No doubt it is the beastly patriarchal media that has misrepresented the WEP’s priorities.

  37. Rawdon says

    Women who aren’t feminists aren’t interested in the WEP. Women who are feminists turned against it because it supports male bodied persons’ claims to enter female spaces, and discourages women from expressing concern about boundaries, privacy, dignity, safety, in changing rooms, prisons, sports, etc. It put men who identify as women before actual women and lost feminist support in consequence. If you have doubts about this, just look at feminist discussion boards. The WEP is seen as being a party for men.

  38. curious says

    I’ve been reading quillette for a while now, and finally found the article that set my teeth on edge enough to write a comment.
    the answer to the article’s headline is very simple, and has in fact, been answered by the first wave feminists- women have agency, and they are defined by neither their biology nor by the males in their lives.
    I swear, no part of the “patriarchy” has ever dismissed my autonomy, self governance and ability to make my up own mind with more sneering arrogance than feminists explaining that my choices are due to “misinformation” and “internalized misogyny”

  39. JS says

    The US doesn’t have a feminist party – our politics don’t work like the UK’s do – although the Democratic party does attract more women as it has more policies favorable toward women. And I wouldn’t call Sarandon a feminist. Her words were shameful and demeaning. As it turned out, women did vote for Clinton by a large margin. But since our political system works differently than does the UK’s, it affects people’s voting behavior and that of the election. If our system worked like it does in the UK, Clinton would have won.

  40. Dominic says

    I have to ask why women are not granted their own agency.

    Hillary Clinton did not say women were influenced by their husbands, she said they were “brainwashed”. I read the Washington Post article and its a weak study: women vote the same as their husbands. In an article that states a voting pattern can be predicted by age, race, wealth and location why is this dropped when it comes to predicting womens votes and supplanted with their husbands influence?

    Correlation is not cause.

  41. JR says

    A feminist political party promising to compel the transfer to women, of incomes and opportunities earned by men, appeals only to sexist bigots. Since its failing to attract women, that infers that decent women who think incomes and opportunities should remain with those who earned them, outnumber female bigots selling their votes for what they hope to steal from men, rather than work for, themselves.

  42. Realworldman says

    The answer to the general inquiry of this article is simple: Current feminist organizations and activists do not represent or care about real women or their issues. They work for the establishment whether intended or not, in their effort to divide the people against themselves and create new forms of unnecessary chaos. The financial oligarchy has one goal, which is to deflect and distract from any news or information that explains the economic reality in America. Never before has so much power and wealth resided in so few flawed humans with so little structural or social controls or even acknowledgement. The silliness witnessed to day in social media and the state media no longer represent a bona fide press or even an attempt at educating the public. The steadily declining IQ of the American citizenry allows this to occur with relative ease.

  43. Jan Shaw says

    They tend to be too rigid. They appear to want followers only.

  44. Thylacine says

    “There it managed to attract just 1.1 percent of the vote, less than the Animal Welfare Party.”

    That’s because the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Women is not as necessary.

  45. Patrick Harvard says

    “A majority of white women voted for Trump, particularly married women, and Clinton later suggested that they did so because of the influence of their husbands. She may well have been right.”

    Don’t you think that it could as easily be claimed that many men voted for Hillary Clinton because of the influence of their wives?

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