Age and gender of Traditionalists

In another thread a poster observed the following

“I have my suspicions that younger Traditionalists do probably skew male (but less so older Traditionalists), but that’s just a guess based on CAF posts.”

Thinking about it, I have noticed the same. Why do you suppose that is?

Guess it really depends on what people are basing their opinions on. If we are talking late teens (17-19) and early twenties I tend to see a fairly equal split between males and females in the FSSP parish I occasionally attend. In many cases late teens tend to skew towards more females with early twenties skewing more male. In either case I certainly see many more young adults there then at a regular parish (perhaps because others are attending a campus chapel near them).

Lets take the supposition as being correct (i.e. young traditionalist skew towards males). One possible explanation is that traditionalists respect the differences between men and women. By that I mean that men are not treated as something that a woman can replace on the job, in the home, or anywhere else she chooses. Or perhaps it is better to say that traditionalist do not present men and women as interchangeable. In a society that often puts men down as less intelligent, less capable, etc. traditionalist communities can help young men realize that they do have an inherent worth. That is also not to say that many of these young men are chauvinist, but simply trying to find a place that says “yes, being a man is a good thing, not something to be pitied”.

I have absolutely no data, but here’s my opinion (as a traditionalist myself) based on interactions at the parish level.

Traditionalists tend to be less emotional about religion and more analytical and/or legalistic. I would assume women are more emotional and men are more analytical and/or legalistic, so more men would be traditionalists. But I’m just guessing.

You might be able to get data from, for example, subscriptions to Adoremus. Although of course the husband could be the subscriber of record while it’s really the wife who is interested. I don’t know how you would overcome that problem.

I think, men tend to be more attracted to tradition and the past.

Many women, it seems, associate tradition with misogyny.

Well, not a Traditionalist, just a fan of tradition, but my guess is that since women tend be more religious than men, and tend to be more involved in their parishes, because most parishes are non-traditionalist, they find spiritualities which are not traditionalist pretty easy, and get ingratiated with them pretty naturally. They say women are more loyal to individual people too, so they may see traditionalism as not in accord with loyalty to the non-trad parishes most people end up in.

For example, I think the project of going to a parish ten miles away rather than the one around the corner to avoid a bad liturgy is a much more male endeavor.

That is radical feminist propaganda. Tradition is aimed at God not man.


I assist at both E.F. and O.F. parishes.
E.F. parishes are oftentimes associated as traditionalist in online conversations. Like several posters on this thread, I differentiate between respect for/upholding tradition and the sometimes derrogatory connotations which may accompany the word traditionalist.
My experience at my FSSP parish is of balance between men and women.
Parents take their children to Mass and, when the children are grown, they come to Mass on their own. I am not seeing a difference at that age group between numbers of men and women.
I do see a difference at that age between Mass attendance at my FSSP parish by young adults (more likely to continue coming on their own) and my local OF parish which has very few young adults.
Perhaps young adults at my O.F. parish prefer the Mass time which I rarely frequent.
I do wonder if the support given to the aspect of church militant at my EF parish might not be especially attractive to young people who have all sorts of ideas and energy which may be applied to evangelization. That language seems to capture evangelization in a special way which may speak to the hearts of the young adults.
There is also a difference in depth of catechesis between my local and E.F. parish-My E.F. parish provides a lot of catechesis while my local parish is less strong in this regard. (note: other O.F. parishes may have very solid catechesis-this is not a judgement on all O.F. parishes.
I wonder if depth of catechesis might also foster greater participation among young adults?
And then, of course there is example. My EF parishioners are much less likely to skip taking the family to Mass because one of their children has a soccer game at the same time. Children learn what they live. In this case, the difference may speak to differences in catechesis levels among parents.

I don’t believe it is true, at least from an observation at a local Traditional chapel in this area. there were more younger women and generally women of all ages, than there were men.

ef? Of? ???

I think EF is Extraordinary Form and OF is Ordinary Form.

Yeah, but we’re talking about YOUTH.

As I mentioned, I happened to see on another thread an observation someone made about traditionalists, admittedly based merely on those who post here on CAF. I thought the same thing myself and wondered if this was so and if so, why?

The responses above are all interesting but to further the discussion, let me clarify the observation, namely:

It seems that of the younger “traditionalists” who post on CAF a lot more tend to be male than female and of the older “traditionalists” who post on CAF a lot more seem to be female than male

My questions are 1) do you think this is an accurate observation about posters on CAF and 2) if so, why do you think this is?

No judgments or hidden agenda, just an armchair psychologist wondering what others might think

Well that’s a horse of a different color. :wink:

To be honest, I can’t say one way or the other. Why? Because half the time I don’t know the gender of the person posting. There are a couple posters that I was sure were female, only to see in a post several years later about their wife. There are also those that I believed to be male, only to find later that they are female. I often rarely know the poster’s age. You can sometimes infer, but there are many posters who I assumed to be in their mid thirties to early forties only to find out they are in their sixties or in a couple cases in their teens. For the most part I am less concerned about age and gender then orthodoxy, so I focus less on the former.

If it is true then it is very possible that it is easier for young “traditionalist” men to engage in discussion online. The beliefs and especially social practices of most traditionalist can put them on the outskirts of our current society. In general our society seems to treat traditionalist men as either misogynists or wimps. That same attitude is not foisted on women and as a result I think it is easier for young women to hold more traditionalist attitudes so they may not need an alternative like CAF.

I would say the observation that women dominate the older traditionalist set on CAF is likely false, If the numbers skew that way it likely has more to do with the ratios of men and women that use social media.

I’m a man who would fall into the “traditionalist” category but see no reason to label people. It starts to look like politics. I want to obey Holy Mother Church. If I am told the EF and OF are equal then that’s that.

No worries,


YES. Absolutely.

Men have a more robust taste for history, objects, and ideas. This can be particularly appealing to a young male, who is still much the romantic and idealist. Women are focused on people (and how they are seen by people).

The Traditional Mass did relatively little to emphasize that the search for God was to be found in man, exceedingly more so than any other tangible. God was instead “out there”. You can see it in the liturgy. The priest faces the Altar. The congregation face the altar and do not have contact with one another. It is less intuitive for a young female to find beauty in this than a young man. The feminine mind & heart craves to be filled by a human encounter, and to have her inhibitions melt away. It is psychologically & spiritually hard for a woman to let her interior guard down, even though she burns to do so. This is why women seeking marriage always seem to want a man with humor and that can make her relax, whereas men look for other qualities (namely, the paternal urge to feel needed). She wants her inhibitions to melt, and she normally needs outside help to make that happen.

I would agree with this line of thought as it applies to teen agers and young adults. And I think it also applies to areas other than faith, theology, and religion. Take politics and sports for example. Membership in Young Republican Clubs and Young Democrat Clubs is overwhelming male as it is in fan clubs for sports teams.

As to whether or not the opposite applies to older females, I can only say that despite 43 years in an ongoing marriage, I know absolutely nothing about women. :wink:

Neither do I and I am a woman.

Come to think of it I know I also absolutely nothing about men.

I also notice that men are more likely to be say they are atheist than women.

The other thing to consider is that churches have always been filled more with women than men, especially in macho cultures where religion has been regarded as a woman’s thing or effeminate.

Disagree on the skew. Definitely a youth movement. Even split on gender. Been to many a’ tlm around the US. My $.02.

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