Why Are (Young) Women So Woke?

By Michael Brown Published on March 20, 2024

Commenting on a Finland-based study published in the Scandinavian Journal of Psychology, Oskari Lahtinen, the author of the study, said, “The gender divide was probably most surprising to me. Three out of five women view ‘woke’ ideas positively, but only one out of seven men.” This reflects a similar phenomenon observed in other countries, and, in America, particularly in the younger generation. But why?

While trying to downplay the significance of all this, Rose Horowitch began her March 12, 2024 article in The Atlantic with this ominous-sounding summary: “Judging by recent headlines, young men and women are more politically divided now than ever before. ‘A new global gender divide is emerging,’ the Financial Times data journalist John Burn-Murdoch wrote in a widely cited January article. Burn-Murdoch’s analysis featured several eye-popping graphs that appeared to show a huge ideological rift opening up between young men and young women over the past decade. The implications — for politics, of course, but also for male-female relations and, by extension, the future of the species — were alarming. A New York Times opinion podcast convened to discuss, according to the episode title, ‘The Gender Split and the ‘Looming Apocalypse of the Developed World.’’ The Washington Post editorial board warned, ‘If attitudes don’t shift, a political dating mismatch will threaten marriage.’”

Horowitch downplayed the data because, “The much-theorized political rift has yet to show up in actual voting behavior.” But the rift itself cannot be denied, and the Finland study provides further documentation. The question, again, is why?

The Success of the Woke Barbie Movie vs. the Woke Action Movies

While discussing this on the way to the airport with my assistant Brandon, who is very well read and quite astute, he suggested, “Could this explain why Barbie was such a massive success in contrast with the recent, very woke, male-oriented superhero movie series which have bombed?” The former appeal to young women; the latter to young men. And young women lean much farther to the left; young men much farther to the right. On the surface of things, without doing a deep demographic dive into the viewers of these movies, this makes perfect sense.

Discussing the striking gender divide in the Finland study, Hannah Sparks noted in the New York Post, “This was especially true of women in fields such as social sciences, education, and humanities. By contrast, participants who worked in [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics] were more likely to critique social justice efforts associated with being woke.”

Does this provide a further key to understanding this gender divide?

People Who are Woke Also Tend to Suffer From Poorer Mental Health

And then this: “However, the most concerning finding was the relationship between mental health and agreement with the scale. Specifically, researchers found a high prevalence of anxiety and depression in people who believe the statement ‘If white people have on average a higher income than black people, it is because of racism.’ More broadly, they found that those who identified as left-wing were most likely to report lower mental well-being.”

Commenting on the study, Fox’s Greg Gutfeld said, “The woke are more likely to be mentally ill. [Wokeness] is an avenue for people who are mentally unwell because it indulges in feelings of hopelessness and victimhood. It offers a low bar to grasp for meaning. Suddenly, your irrationality becomes a movement.”

In my view, Gutfeld might be confusing the symptom with the cause. In other words, rather than “wokeness” being “an avenue for people who are mentally unwell,” the reality is that “wokeness” leads to mental unwellness.

This would correlate with the higher percentage of woke females (especially in the younger generation) who in turn struggle with higher levels of anxiety and depression.

But that still doesn’t explain the gender divide. Why are more women woke?

Females are at Higher Risk for Suicide Attempts and Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria

It is interesting to note that, while more boys successfully commit suicide than girls, due to their use of more lethal force, “The Youth Risk Behavior Surveillance System (YRBSS) by the CDC found that in 2019, 11% of female students attempted suicide compared to 6.6% of male students” (cited by AI).

Not only so, but, “The suicide rate for teenage girls has been increasing faster than for teenage boys in recent years. Between 2007 and 2018, the suicide rate for females aged 10-24 increased by 70%, while the rate for males increased by 38%.”

This is as concerning as it is striking.

As far as transgender identity among young people, in particular that which is called “rapid-onset gender dysphoria,” where a teenager suddenly and without prior warning identifies as transgender, Elizabeth Boskey posted this data on the VeryWellHealth site:

  • 2023: Rapid-onset gender dysphoria is four times more common among those assigned female [sic] at birth than male (82.8%).
  • The average age for coming out as trans to parents was 15.2 years.
  • Almost two-thirds (62.5%) had a prior mental health disorder or neurodevelopment disability diagnosis.

This, too, is as striking as it is concerning.

How, then, do we put all this together?

The Feelings-Oriented Woke Ideology Appeals More to Women

It is generally understood that girls mature more rapidly than boys. On the flip side, girls tend to be more touchy-feely than boys, and emotional responses are often considered more acceptable among women than men. (How many times have we been told that it’s OK for a man to cry? Women don’t need to be told this.)

To the extent, then, that today’s culture puts more of an emphasis on feeling rather than rational analysis, and to the extent that woke ideology is feeling-oriented more than fact oriented, it makes sense that more women would be woke than men, especially among young people.

The same would hold true for the finding from Finland, cited above that, “women in fields such as social sciences, education, and humanities” are more woke than those “who worked in STEM [science, technology, engineering, and mathematics].”

And because woke ideology is not based on truth and it turns people inward on themselves, it is unhealthy emotionally.

Perhaps what we’re witnessing today relates to that old Churchill adage, “Any man under 30 who is not a liberal has no heart, and any man over thirty who is not a conservative has no brains.”

Today, this is also working itself out along gender lines, not in a hard and fast way but in a consistent enough way that it can be documented.

Does this explain it all?


Dr. Michael Brown is the host of the nationally syndicated Line of Fire radio program. He is the author of more than 40 books, including Can You be Gay and Christian?; Our Hands Are Stained With Blood; and Seize the Moment: How to Fuel the Fires of Revival. You can connect with him on Facebook, X, or YouTube.

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