Overcoming Partisanship: What is Bipartisan Feminism?
Bipartisan feminism is the idea that anyone can be a feminist regardless of their political affiliation. Although it may seem difficult to reconcile some political opinions with feminism, doing so is necessary to ensure equal rights and treatment for women globally. This section contains strategies to work to achieve bipartisan feminism both in discussions with peers and when advocating for the passage of pro-women legislation.
Strategies to Reconcile the Divide
Strategy 1: Feminism for All Philosophies
40% of political opinions are caused by genetic differences with which people are born. Conservatives are mentally wired to be more concerned with safety, while liberals are less concerned with safety (Hibbing). People usually can not completely change their mindsets, yet they can shift them as they grow more aware of relevant social conflicts. As a peer, you can help non-feminists understand how feminism fits into the goals which they value. Consider the example below:
Person 1: Male privilege doesn’t exist because men and women have equal rights and are paid the same for doing the same job.
Person 2: Capitalism is supposed to reward people for hard work. However, because of sexism, women often don’t get rewarded for the value they create. Companies led by women on average generate 15% greater profits (Blumberg), but women are still less likely to get promoted than men (Bayern). Sexism prevents us from rewarding people for their work and as a result loses money for companies.
Strategy 2: Appealing to Safety
Yale Psychology Professor John Bargh found that you can make liberals more conservative by threatening their safety and make conservatives more liberal by telling them to imagine being invincible (Brueck). Thus, it is important to not attack or threaten conservative non-feminists when sharing your beliefs, because this can make them more conservative and less likely to change their beliefs. Consider the example below:
Person 1: Many feminists are anti-man and want women to be superior to men.
Person 2: I understand why you feel that way and I am not trying to attack men. In fact, there are many ways feminism can help men. For instance, since women have broken gender stereotypes and entered the workplace, men have been able to spend more time with their kids if they choose to. Feminism promotes free choice for all genders.
Strategy 3: Embrace the Tension
Engaging in discourse with people of all perspectives enables us to find the most effective solutions to problems. It is important to accept and embrace healthy criticism of the feminist movement, because non-feminists may sometimes have some important critiques which can improve the feminist movement.
Person 1: Men and women get paid the same for the same job. The wage gap only exists because women choose lower paying jobs.
Person 2: You’re right. Maybe the problem isn’t that women are paid less for doing the same job, but that women are promoted less frequently. Women are 21% less likely to get promoted than men (Bayern). That’s why we see more women teachers and businesswomen but fewer principals and CEOs.