The Kavanaugh Hearing Made Sexists More Sexist

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Brett Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing was like a mammoth Rorschach test for the nation: What you see depends on who you are. For some, it was a grueling, grotesque spectacle in which Republicans steamrolled accuser Dr. Christine Blasey Ford. For others (Republican men), the hearings were a solid affirmation of their worth in the world. 

A new survey has confirmed that all of these, our worst fears, about the Kavanaugh hearings are actually true. Perry/Undem, public opinion research firm, polled 1,319 registered voters in December and found that one in four women surveyed “re-experienced past trauma or difficult feelings” because of the Kavanaugh hearings, and more than a third (36 percent) who watched said they could “relate personally” to Ford’s experience. Nearly half (47 percent) of women respondents said that they became more fearful for women and girls they know.

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Lest this seem dire, let’s turn to another case study: How do Republican men feel? According to the polling, watching Kavanaugh shout about his honor for hours was a fortifying experience, one that may have made Republican men even more sexist.

The Cut reports:

PerryUndem’s data suggests that the Kavanaugh hearing made Republican men more sexist and less likely to believe women who say they were assaulted. In a 2017 survey the group conducted focusing on #MeToo, 80 percent of Republican men said they were now more likely to believe women making accusations. After Kavanaugh, that number has sunk by 21 points.

Republican men also exhibited more hostile sexism: while 47 percent agreed that “most women interpret innocent remarks or acts as being sexist” in 2017, post-Kavanaugh, nearly 70 percent now think women misinterpret “innocent remarks.”

These men are also less likely, post-Kavanaugh, to believe women who claim they were sexually harassed or assaulted than they were before: In November 2017, 80 percent of Republican men said they were more inclined to believe a woman accuser than the accused man. After the confirmation hearings, that percentage dipped by 21 points, to 59 percent of Republican men saying they believe women.

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And there you have it. Republican men are the monsters you always knew they were, with a bulwark model sitting cozy on the Supreme Court.

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Prachi Gupta

Prachi Gupta is a senior reporter at Jezebel.

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