August 19, 2020Gen Zer men think feminism has 'gone too far'

Gen Zers are thought of as progressive but a report has found surprising results: half of young men believe feminism has ‘gone too far and makes it harder for men to succeed’. We explore the insights behind this, and why even though the feminist movement has made inroads on women’s rights, many young men feel excluded from the conversation.

Ope Oduwole

A report written by anti-extremist charity HOPE not hate shows that 50% of young men think the feminist movement has ‘gone too far’, and only 39% believe it’s more dangerous to be a woman than a man in 2020 Britain. Even though they’re thought of as progressive, 18% of male respondents have 'negative' views concerning the feminist movement. Sam Smethers, chief executive of feminist charity the Fawcett Society, says these findings highlight conflicting views among this group. “This data is consistent with previous Fawcett research which found that there is a significant proportion of young men who feel threatened by feminism and also that younger men are more likely than older men to describe themselves as feminists, so opinion is polarised,” she says.

It seems that, despite the progress made in women’s rights, some men feel threatened by the feminist movement, and it’s causing them to adopt decidedly anti-feminist behaviours. A March 2020 study finds that 28% of men globally still believe it’s acceptable to tell sexual jokes in the workplace, while in the US, 27% of male employees outright avoid one-on-one meetings with women. Feminism demands equal rights, a concept that poses a threat to the traditional roles of men and the outdated perceptions of masculinity still held across generations. As the idea of the ‘modern man’ continues to be questioned in branding and the ad industry, there’s an opportunity to reframe notions of masculinity and feminism so that everyone feels included, as opposed to at odds with one another.

Ope Oduwole is a junior behavioural analyst at Canvas8. He has a BA from the University of Nottingham and leans on the inquisitive nature of his studies. With an avid interest in all things creative, if he’s not at a concert or poetry reading, he’s buried inside a book with a cup of green tea.

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