Tag Archives: protest

Are There More Female Activists?

25 May

I’ve been using lots of protest pictures in my posts lately and my brother-in-law asked me, “I can’t help but notice almost all of the protestors in those pictures are women. Is that just a coincidence?” Interesting question–is it?

So I tried to find a picture that showed a wide number of protesters clearly (not easy). The above is a BLM protest in NYC (June 14th, 2020) and… yep. I’m seeing three women for every man. That could just be that there are more women liberals than men. So let’s try the opposite side.

Here’s one from the January 5, 2021 D.C. protests (the day before the storming of the capitol building). I’m seeing about three men for every woman. My first attempt–the April 15, 2020 protests in front of the Michigan State House–was ten men to every woman.

So it seems that liberal activists tend to be women–so let’s ask, why is that?

[I’m willing to accept that I’m completely and utterly wrong about what I type next. If you would like to disagree (politely) in the comments, I welcome being proven wrong.]

1. Women process information differently then men. Women tend to attach many different parts of information to the same fact. So climate change gets attached to social justice gets attached to food sovereignty gets attached to holistic health. In a woman’s mind, there might be no difference between justice and health food. In a man’s mind, facts are isolated–you might be emotional about them, but climate change is different than social justice. So women are far more willing to see systemic injustice against their beliefs and want to do something about it.

2. Women are less likely to be beaten up. It’s easy to protest when you know you can’t be harmed. When men get aggressive with other men, it’s easier to pull the trigger. Men are taught “it’s never right to hit a woman,” so if you’re a cop, are you likely to beat the crap out of a woman attacking you or simply restrain them?

3. Women are less interested in a paycheck than a cause. Don’t get me wrong, we all like money, but more women go into teaching and nursing then men; professions that traditionally pay worse. So if you’re going into teaching, you do it to “make a difference.” Since most teachers quit after five years (myself included), I would assume that most women decide to make a difference elsewhere.

4. Women in a relationship are more able to pursue a cause, because their partner is paying the bills. It’s easier to protest in the streets if you don’t have to work a job. With notable exceptions, men are expected to be the bread-winner, and that traditionally frees women up to be the caregiver. But as we’re having less kids, what do you fill that time up with?

So… there’s my theories — what do you think? Do you have a better answer? Let me know in the comments below! Then if you want a more gender-equal future, read about it in one of my books. However, if you don’t have the money since you’re too busy protesting social change, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. 🙂

Campaign in Poetry, Govern in Prose

20 May

Soundbites are wonderful slogans. “No person is illegal.” “It’s a life, not a choice.” “Black lives matter.” “Sola Scriptura, Sola Fidei, Sola Deo Gratia.” (That’s a much older slogan.) The problems come when you take a slogan and try to make that a policy.

I’ve been reading Apostles of Reason: Crisis of Authority in American Evangelism by Molly Worthen, which sounds like a snooze fest, but is actually one of the most interesting, most compelling modern histories I’ve read. She’s writing the history of the evangelical movement in America, starting in the 1920’s (although as she says, you could start it anywhere in American history), and telling how a few ministers and theologians started off with an idea of church reform, which became church growth, which became a reaction to counter-culture, leading to the Moral Majority in the 1980’s.

The main issue that evangelicals have to wrestle with is the details. Sure, it’s easy to say the Three Solas of the Reformation: “Sola Scriptura, Sola Fidei, Sola Deo Gratia.” (By scripture alone, by faith alone, and by the grace of God alone.) But how does that translate into what you believe? We believe in scripture alone. Okay, does that mean the Word of God is inerrant and perfect? But then how to explain all the “copying errors” in the Bible that actually change the meaning of sentences? How do you reconcile parts of the Bible that make no sense–my favorite being Exodus 4:24-26, God coming to kill Moses right after the Burning Bush incident.

The more I thought about it, the more this applies to other slogans as well. Slogans are great–they unify us in a common cause, they’re easier to shout at rallies, they get people to the polls. However, because your supporters come to together, when you get to actually changing policy, many of your supporters will feel betrayed because they never thought about “what happens next?”

Okay, let’s take “defund the police.” To some people that means, the police are the reason there’s so much violence, let’s get rid of it. To other people that means, we force a reform of the police, break up the union, you’re likely to get better cops. To some others, it might mean, the police have too much money, so they buy military equipment to abuse our citizens. If they had less money, they’d be less militarized. So let’s say you go with option three: you’ve alienated the “no cops” crowd, disappointed the reformers, and may not get what you expect with option three. The police department may react by hiring fewer officers and keeping all that equipment.

If you’re goal is simple and direct, you’re less likely to fracture once you hit your goal, but then how do you keep your organization together? What comes next? In some cases, like Society for the Preservation of the Real Thing and Old Cola Drinkers of America, once you get original Coca-Cola back (yes, Coke changed it’s formula and a massive upswell of support brought back the original formula 71 days later), they simply disband. If you’re about Gay Marriage, when you get gay marriage, you then simply touch on other issues like, custody rights, hospital visitation rights, social security benefits… et al.

So for some, the fight never ends. You may think this is a good thing, you might support it but no longer actively, or you might think this is a betrayal of the cause. Take smoking. We went from 45 percent of Americans being regular smokers in 1965 to 15. That should be cause to celebrate, right? But no, obviously we need to work on the remaining 15. Now in a time where smoking is banned in public in almost every state in America, the anti-smoking movement still pushes against cigarettes and vaping. (But not cigars or pipes… or marijuana…. I wonder why?) The American Cancer Society is forced to bring up second-hand (and sometimes third-hand) smoke to press their claims. You get more granular and you start losing focus.

So here’s where I could get into activists changing the message to get more people on their side, but I fear I’m crossing into dangerous territory, so I’ll leave it there. But what do you think? Is it harder to pursue the fight when you actually have to implement your rules? Is the cause more valuable when you’ve achieved your initial goals? Let me know in the comments below! Then if you like reading my writing, check out one of my books. However, if $1.99 is too steep for your wallet, go ahead and download one of my stories for free. You’ll be glad you did.

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