Tuesday Talk*: Is The Gender Gap For Real?

David Brooks points out some curious statistics about a growing division between Millennial men and women.

In 2016, female voters under 30 years old voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump 63 percent to 31 percent. Males in the same age cohort gave Clinton a much smaller edge, voting for her 46 percent to 42 percent. That’s a 17-point gender gap.

Since the election, the gap in leanings has gotten even bigger, as white male millennials have shifted to the G.O.P. A recent Pew survey of midterm party preference suggests that women under 35 tilt Democratic by an astounding 68 percent to 24 Republican. Men under 35 now tilt Republican 50 percent to 47 percent Democratic.

Granted, these are statistics, and not exactly an apples to apples comparison, but you can’t blame Brooks (or me) for using what’s out there. Even if imprecise, the gap would seem sufficient to overcome the complaints of the most angry standard deviant.

As Ed Kilgore pointed out in New York magazine, that’s a 21-point gender gap in Democratic support and a 26-point gender gap in Republican support. More than ever, millennials are staggeringly divided by gender, while older generations show far smaller differences.

You might never know this from your twitter feed, but guys and gals aren’t seeing things eye to eye. Brooks offers two theories to explain this divergence. The first is “female mobilization,” that women are now in the workforce and thus no longer baking pies.

Both sexes increasingly favor a feminist attitude in the workplace and a neotraditionalist attitude at home. They want both sexes to have equal opportunities at work, but year by year more young people believe that the best home is the one where the man is the outside “achiever” and the working woman is the primary caregiver. In 1994, for example, 42 percent of high school seniors believed this; by 2014, 58 percent did.

What this has to do with the disparity is unclear, except perhaps to the extent that the pie thing is stronger for guys who like pie. The second is “male backlash.”

An increasing number of high school-educated men say they are the ones being screwed by modern society, not women, who are better educated on average. More and more college-educated men adopt a Jordan Peterson-style posture, arguing that the assault on “male privilege” has gone too far, that the feminist speech and behavior codes have gone too far.

Apparently, Brooks has decided that the male side of the gap is comprised of people without higher degrees and those suffering from “male fragility.” But he then asserts that this isn’t a real “gender war,” but one manufactured by social media.

But in the political showbiz sphere, Trump’s cartoonish masculinity squares off against cartoonish “Why Can’t We Hate Men?” incitements. It’s only there that we see the usual social media game of moral one-upmanship in which each tribe competes to be more victimized, more offended and more woke.

And it will all tumble down when time comes to . . . change diapers.

I’m betting that the millennial gender war is a figment of the political circus, and will be washed away by the giant force looming on the horizon: parenthood.

Of course, that ignores the fact that Millennials aren’t marrying or having babies (perhaps because you can’t get pregnant via Facebook “likes”). But is Brooks right, that this disparity is due to stupid fragile males unable to let go of their privilege so they can be more accepting and accommodating to women’s desire for equity?

Or might this be a rational reaction to hysterical shrieks for obsequiousness by women demanding infantilization rather than equality?

Or does the experience of the Nordic Paradox suggest that, once the noise dies down, women and men end up having different desires out of life that no amount of critical theory rhetoric changes?

*Tuesday Talk rules apply.

31 thoughts on “Tuesday Talk*: Is The Gender Gap For Real?

    1. SHG Post author

      He’ll eventually realize that raising urban chickens is hard.

      Steampunk, on the other hand, is entirely cool.

  1. Dan

    “women and men end up having different desires out of life that no amount of critical theory rhetoric changes?”

    You shitlord.

  2. delurking

    “…of the most angry standard deviant.”
    This is a brilliant turn of phrase. My hat is off to you.

        1. Fubar

          Watch out. Next moment he’ll be talking about getting skewed. And the one after that will sound like a loathsome disease.

  3. Richard Kopf

    Is the gender gap real? Yes, but perhaps not in the way one might think.

    One millennial woman put it this way: “As I watch millennial men struggle to lift their bags into the overhead bin I am reminded how fucked we are if there’s a draft.”

    All the best.


      1. Jyjon

        It’s kinda obvious, The one on the left has facebook ads on her chest, she’s a sellout and shill, that’s why.

        1. Pseudonymouskid

          Damn camgirls are ruining the internet by cashing in on their looks. Men should be able to do the same.

  4. Nemo

    Brooks pretty much lost me when he used “neotraditionalist” in all seriousness. What’s this new tradition he’s talking about? I haven’t seen any of the Villagers (or their mentors, for that matter) take any positions for long enough to actually call any of them a tradition. Did I miss one, or did he mean that destroying all traditions is itself the new tradition?

    As for me, I was a New Traditionalist back in the 80s. Enjoyed it, then moved on, but my lived experience allows me to say conclusively that this isn’t the new traditionalism he’s talking about.

    It’s been said here that your writing reflects your thinking. True enough, but I think it worth mentioning that the converse of that is also true: The language you use shapes your thinking. He likely believes his duckspeak neologism isn’t covered by that, but watching him twist and writhe in an attempt to answer the question with a non-answer would be more fun than watching the grass grow.



    1. SHG Post author

      I caught that as well, had no clue what neotraditionalist” was supposed to mean, but since I was more concerned with substance behind the disparity than Brooks’ writing, I chose not to mention it.

      1. Nemo

        Guess I should review the TT rules again, just as a refresher. At least you stopped me from inflicting my thoughts on what the City Mice could learn from their country cousins, if they stopped treating us with contempt. Almost caved to the temptation. Me and my “pithy homilies”, eesh.

        Thanks, I needed that.

        I had a second attempt at addressing Brooks’ all typed up, but upon review, I addressed the situation he described, not his discussion of it. It even included another homily, so I chopped it off. Re-calibration continues. Learning is.


        1. SHG Post author

          It’s Tuesday Talk, so it’s entirely your choice as to what you want to discuss, regardless of what discussion I may have hoped for.

          1. Pseudonymouskid

            It’s your prompt, but there’s not much to say. Women and men are different. Are you going to tell me to make my bed and clean my room like JP next?

            1. SHG Post author

              Your mother hoped you would figure out on your own to make your bed, but she loves you anyway.

  5. Robert Fortin

    The difference is easily seen in education. More women go to university then men in the Western World.
    Today it is 57 to 43 % women to men, in America, back in 1972 it was the opposite.
    Plus, statistically men and women would marry and vote the same. Today marriage is delayed and the two may never have the same political view.

    1. Pseudonymouskid

      What will happen now other than me waiting with baited breath for your conclusion? So what if women are going to university more. They still make less, so I hear.

  6. Erica Ingram

    See, i don’t think he is right. i think men are figuring out they’ve been treated unequally as well in some ways, but traditionally men aren’t supposed to talk about their feelings and just deal with it. i’m not saying they were all abused or that every man is a victim at all or even most; i’m just saying expectations were different not that long ago of a boy growing up versus a girl growing up and boys got their share of inequality, too, albeit maybe in different and/or smaller ways, and it goes unacknowledged.

    i realize it’s anecdotal, so grain of salt and all that, but in my own experience, there is a static amount of work needing to be done in managing a household; cooking, cleaning, managing family events/holidays, and providing. It generally doesn’t matter who does it, as long as it gets done, because it needs done in every household. Hardly any man i have ever known was, while growing up, expected or encouraged in any way to learn things like how manage a household; cooking, cleaning, taking care of yourself. Almost every woman i know, however, learned before they moved out of their parents’ house how to do those things. Women are encouraged to learn that stuff from a very young age, not men, i.e. down to little girls holding fake plastic babies. You don’t just turn 18 and suddenly all the adult knowledge comes rushing to your head through a rainbow in your ear. You learn how to manage a household through much repetition.

    The “Oh, look at the clueless man not putting on a diaper right, how funny” movie, or the “Look at the clueless husband doing something only a wife can do best” Facebook post, HAHA, look at this week’s “I’m Really Remarkable Because I’m Not A Clueless Dad” TV show, starring Scott Baio, or that terrible commercial for Xfinity Security or w/e it was where supermom spied on her family while the ‘clueless husband’ ran around half-assing everything while she smiled about it on her business trip. Yeah, cool, you think it’s a joke that his parents raised someone practically unable to take care of his own children, because ‘he is a man’.

    All people, regardless of gender, still have to go out and get work/an income source, get their own housing, take care of themselves, possibly go to school if they want, find a mate if they want, have children if they want, and take care of those children if they have them. It doesn’t make you a sissy to take care of yourself. Stop teaching kids boys have different expectations of them than girls, because to a moderate degree they don’t. Boys do not have less to learn about being independent than women. If people taught their children tasks related to independence more and more equally, we wouldn’t be sitting here discussing whether there’s a gender gap.

    1. SHG Post author

      If people taught their children tasks related to independence more and more equally, we wouldn’t be sitting here discussing whether there’s a gender gap.

      There’s a causal connection here that’s missing. Guys get that women want them to be more like women, and in the interim to shut up, listen and do as women tell them, but they don’t want to and aren’t going to. So how does teaching boys to cook change anything?

    2. Wrongway

      Independence & the Gender Pay Gap … While living with a Communist ..
      I was taught to ‘do things’ .. “That’s Broke!!, Fix It!! … ok Mom or Dad, I’m on it..” & it didn’t matter what it was, cars, plumbing, cabinets, decks, wiring, Parents problems, painting, or even how to keep warm in a blizzard with the power out.. & I’ve no regrets at all, well maybe a few, … like that girl in the 8th grade that I never talked to, & no i couldn’t fix that.. but My Mom was a Colonel in the Army, & my Dad just did stuff.. ya know to keep us together.. things like manage the money, get us to school, keep things working, & yelling at me & my bro.. while Mom wore combat boots.. & that was ok..
      now I’m working 40-50 hrs a week, & handing over every penny to a person that gives me an allowance.. well because she’s better at it than I am… dammit.. she keeps us together thru “management of all things”, (which makes one wonder what that building in DC would look like), while I go do stuff..
      My point is, My Dad suffered one hell of a pay gap because it worked for us… & I suffer a pay gap because she hates me having fun & cool stuff…

  7. Aaron

    There’s always been jokes about how easy it is to influence undecided voters. Young people are often undecided voters. There certainly is a gender gap of who votes for whom. It’s probably a 1:1 match with which party directly reaches out to which gender.

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