Activism-Fatigue Is Real, And Liberal Women Are Feeling It

A significant yet subtle transformation is underway, particularly among white liberal women. This demographic, usually at the forefront of trendy online activism, is now showing signs of fatigue.

By Carmen Schober2 min read
Pexels/Anna Shvets

This trend possibly reflects a larger, national shift, with recent observations from the Business of Fashion indicating a significant decrease in U.S. retailers commemorating Black History Month. The change may be due to the mounting corruption surrounding BLM, an organization that liberal women led the charge in promoting years past, but it could also signal a general feeling of exhaustion towards the endless performative gestures demanded of women by left-wing activists.

Some left-leaning brands say the reason for their less visible support this year is because they're focusing their time on more "meaningful" efforts like charitable donations or prioritizing hiring black talent, but activists argue most companies are doing neither of these things and that their sudden silence is indicative of a growing disinterest in diversity-labeled activism.

This is likely true since BoF is also predicting that many brands will opt out of engaging in politics altogether in 2024. "Marketing experts are predicting a return to the pre-2016 era, where brands mostly stuck to encouraging political engagement, without getting specific," writes Sheena Butler-Young. Many other industries are also quietly defunding their DIE Departments after spending significant amounts of money on re-education efforts, which suggests formerly enthusiastic liberals are becoming more disenchanted with the highly divisive left-wing narratives surrounding race.

A Double Bind: How Political and Media Pressure Exhausts Liberal Women

This weariness among liberal women should also be attributed to the relentless pressure from politicians and media outlets, which often push young women to guilt-trip themselves and each other over political issues and encourage personal scrutiny over self-perceived victimization. Their feelings of exhaustion are also probably exacerbated by the "progressive" approach to relationships which often involves risky sexual behaviors and delaying traditional life milestones such as marriage and motherhood.

These negative messages have created a confusing contradictory social landscape for liberal women, and it continues to show. Recent research continues to reveal that "liberals consistently report lower levels of personal satisfaction than conservatives," and that this is likely because "liberals are less inclined to prioritize activities that are strongly associated with personal fulfillment," such as pursuing marriage or staying connected to family or religious communities. The research also notes that young liberal women in particular currently suffer the most from feelings of depression and distress.

The conversation around progressive politics and the exhausting performative activism that comes with them is especially important when one considers the growing mental health crisis among young liberal women. Hopefully, these women will pause in 2024 to reflect and more closely consider whether the demands of progressive ideologies are really delivering what they promise.

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