“This Is Why Dating Is So Rough Right Now”: A Global Political Divide Is Emerging Between Young Men And Women, And TBH, It Explains A Lot

If you're feeling like dating has really been the bad place right now, you're not alone — and research is here to back you up. New research suggests that a global ideological divide is forming, where young women are more progressive and young men are more conservative.

Twitter: @jburnmurdoch

The research may help to explain the debate over whether Gen Z is more progressive or conservative, as studies often conflictingly report Gen Z is left leaning on some issues, but conservative on others.

Elephant and Donkey digital drawing representing a Democrat and Republican battle
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According to Alice Evans, one of the leading researchers on the topic from Stanford University, Gen Z is diverging into two generations: progressive Gen Z women and conservative Gen Z men.

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Historically, young people have mostly been spread roughly equal between liberal and conservative views, but now, research is pointing to a departure from this trend. In the US, Gallup data shows that women aged 18 to 30 are 30 percentage points more liberal than their male counterparts, with the gap opening up in the past six years.

John Burn-Murdoch / Financial Times / Via

Data also shows a 30-point gap between progressive young women and conservative young men in Germany, and 25-point gap in the UK. And in Poland, almost 50% of 18 to 21-year-old men voted for the right-wing Confederation party, compared to just a sixth of young women.

In South Korea, the gender divide is even starker with a 40-point gap. In the country's 2022 presidential election, young men and women voted almost equally in opposite directions — where young men heavily voted for the right-wing People Power party (65.1%) and young women backed the liberal Democratic party (66.8%).

Chart courtesy of The Financial Times.

And according to the Korea Times, the country's gender split is leading to fewer Koreans dating — a Gallup survey revealed that over 50% of unmarried Korean men and women in their 20s and 30s find each other difficult to relate to. South Korea has the lowest birth rate of any country in the world, dropping to .78 births per woman in 2022.

A woman looking frustrated at the man sitting across the table from her

The Financial Times added that the divergence is self-sustaining and now extended beyond gender-related issues. John Burn-Murdoch wrote, “In the US, UK and Germany, young women now take far more liberal positions on immigration and racial justice than young men, while older age groups remain evenly matched.”

Burn-Murdoch argued that the gap is only growing, noting that young people's early political experiences are hard to shake off. He added that social media is only exacerbating the divide between young women and men who increasingly inhabit separate spaces and cultures online.

This means tens of millions of young people who share cities, homes, dating scenes, workplaces, and communities are struggling to agree and coexist. Where one group seemingly wants a more equitable future, another wants to strip that possibility away.

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While the effects of the divide on dating and relationships are still being unearthed, and the discussion and research is limited to a heteronormative gender binary, many people on Twitter felt the research helped explain their own experiences:

As writer Sophia Benoit (@1followernodad) wrote in a viral tweet, "Not to be too trite (or heteronormative) but I really really think this is the HUGE reason dating is so rough right now. The pool of available men whose politics don’t suck is actually a shallow puddle."

Cute and playful female child jumping in a puddle of water on the street wearing yellow rubber boots and a raincoat
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User @theaaronbinder recalled seeing this play out with his own friends and colleagues:

Twitter: @theaaronbinder

May I just emphasize: "For one group, politics is reactionary. For the other, it's their healthcare and human rights.”

User @JuliusGoat added, "Women want to be treated as if they are human beings and men are by and large psychologically incapable of dealing with that."

John Burn-Murdoch / Financial Times / Via

One creator on TikTok even said that her date told her that men commonly put liberal on their dating profiles even if they’re conservative (or even moderate) because they weren’t getting any dates. Others in the comments shared similar experiences:

  @beverlyjhart / Via
@beverlyjhart / Via

And many women shared that conflicting politics would absolutely be a deal-breaker on a date:

Screenshot of TikTok comments
@beverlyjhart / Via

One person even felt the divide within their own home, despite historically agreeing on social and political issues with their husband:

Twitter: @bengalport

Many people agreed that it made sense an ideological gap was forming with men as increasingly conservative, because "Conservatism is about maintaining tradition and status quo," aka patriarchal power structures like marriage, unequal division of household labor, paid work, and sexual control.

Twitter: @TheEveX

Personally, I'm both fascinated and concerned at these findings, especially at the fact that the divide is forming not just in the US, but globally. But let me know what you think — have you experienced or "felt" this ideological divide in your own life, whether it be dating, work, or at home?