According to a poll commissioned by Ms. Magazine, the Communications Consortium Media Center, and the Feminist Majority Foundation (FMF), there's a palpable resurgence of feminism amongst female voters in the United States. The number of women who identify as feminists has increased by a full nine points since the last survey was conducted in 2008. As it stands, 55% of female voters call themselves feminist, and the number is even greater amongst young women. According to Ms. Magazine:
"Speaking of younger women [under the age of 30], a solid majority of them (58 percent) identify as feminists — as did 54 percent of older women, nearly three-quarters (72 percent) of Democratic women and a respectable 38 percent of Republican women. The feminist factor cuts across race and ethnic lines, with a majority of Latina, African American and white women voters considering themselves feminists."
Moreover, the study found that women of color are more likely to call themselves feminists. Almost three quarters of Latin-American women and 66% of African American female voters self-identify as feminists.
Moreover, feminist fever isn't just affecting women; it’s tangible amongst male voters too. The poll found that one in three male voters self-identify as feminists.
The president of the FMF, Eleanor Smeal, explained that the survey results highlight the significant and pivotal role of feminists as an interest group in US politics:
"As we move forward after the elections of 2012, it’s time to acknowledge that it wasn't just women who made a critical different in reelecting President Barack Obama, but feminists. It’s time to add another metric beyond the gender gap to our post-election analysis: the Feminist Factor."
Many are expecting (hum hoping) that Hilary Clinton will run in 2016. As the probability of a female running for office becomes farther from fantasy and closer to reality, will the feminist factor intensify? Can a self-identified feminist presidential candidate make feminism totally mainstream?
Only time will tell. In the meantime, I’ll be imagining different scenarios of what a spin-off of "Fear Factor" called the "Feminist Factor" would look like.
(Hint: Joe Rogan is replaced by Amy Poehler/Tina Fey and contestants have to perform a set of challenges, such as tolerating a Republican preaching about God-given rape for as long as possible without kicking him in the nuts.)