The tensions don’t reliably play out the way you might guess
By Mark Dolliver
As if life weren’t complicated enough in an era of technological and economic flux, today’s 18- to 25-year-olds must also cope with unpredictable shifts in gender roles. It’s one aspect of the culture wars in which no one is granted the safety of non-combatant status. However, a newly released survey of millennial-generation adults by Euro RSCG makes it clear that the tensions don’t reliably play out the way you might guess. And the attitudes of young-adult women differ significantly from those in evidence a couple decades ago amid a more us-against-them phase of feminism.
The survey finds female respondents (and many of their male counterparts) taking it as a non-negotiable given that women’s role as the “second sex” is a thing of the past. But young women’s insistence on equality is not the same thing as an aversion to different roles for the sexes. “What they seek, to varying degrees, is a return to gender distinctions,” says the report. “They want to celebrate the sexes’ differences and enjoy the yin and yang that makes both parties stronger.”
Women who wish for a persistence (or revival) of such distinctions ought to be pleased by many findings of the survey, which found plenty of differences in the attitudes of American millennial women and men. (Polling for the report was also conducted among 18- to 25-year-olds in several other countries, but we focus here solely on the findings among U.S. respondents.) For one, the concept of “freedom” exerts a more powerful lure for men than for women–which, for better or worse, dovetails with the fact that “love” has less appeal for men. When given a menu of choices and asked to pick the one that “best describes happiness to you,” an outright majority of women picked “love” (62 percent), while a mere plurality of men did so (42 percent). Conversely, men were more likely than women (22 percent vs. 13 percent) to choose “freedom” as the foremost component of happiness.
To read the complete article in Adweek, click here.
Image credit: Bill McIntyre@flickr.com