It is likely disappointing news for old school bra-burners and Gloria Steinham-inspired activists.
“Has feminist become a dirty word?”demands a new Economist/YouGov Poll released Wednesday.
“Feminism is a mixed bag in the eyes of most Americans. Overall, 28 percent consider themselves to be feminists, 72 percent do not,” the findings report.
Among women, 38 percent consider themselves feminists. And men do not appear to be very liberated these days either: 18 percent “accept the label” for themselves, the poll reports.
“Democratic and Republicans women see the word differently: 48 percent of Democratic women but just 14 percent of Republican women would label themselves feminist,” the survey says.
Things are not so promising even among those females who grew in the 1960s and 70s when, yes, college coeds burned their bras and followed the teachings of Betty Friedan. Among the Baby Boomer ladies from age 45-64, 41 percent say they are hold-out feminists.
And more numbers: women over 65 (28 percent), Gen X women ages 30-44 (32 percent) and Millennials ages 18-29 (42 percent).
And about that insult.
“It is negative associations people carry regarding feminism that causes Americans to shy away from the label. People are twice as likely to consider calling someone a feminist to be an insult (23 percent) rather than a compliment (12 percent),” the poll says.
What with man-bashing and the erosion of the traditional masculine and feminine roles or family structure, Americans also apparently associate feminism with things other than, say, equal rights - and it is problematic.
“When given a neutral dictionary definition of feminism, as ‘someone who believes in the social, political and economic equality of the sexes,’ 57 percent of Americans proudly proclaim themselves feminists,” the poll concludes.