My beliefs about the female Trump supporter


As a woman of color and a feminist, the past two years have been challenging.  For me, any definition of feminism includes all women, no matter their wealth, religion, race or circumstance.  This concept has been a struggle to maintain because so many women in this country have been participating in the destruction of ‘the woman.’  Before the 2016 presidential election, there were numerous problems between women that hindered our collectivity: the doubt in our power as a collective because of the systematic socialization to make women believe they are always in competition with each other, the failure by many white women to understand and incorporate the issues of women of color into their idea of feminism, women participating in the fallacy that speaking the truth about equality and the sexual culture in this country equates to lesbianism and hate of the family, are a few.  But for women to partake in the travesty that is this presidency, they allowed themselves to be used to divide women further and betray their own needs.

I heard all the explanations about the anger and disillusionment some women felt about politicians and their belief that Trump was the candidate that cared about their needs.  That is not the reality of the situation; those are pretexts.  There is no rational reason a woman would vote for a man, who himself, presented evidence of his longstanding misogynistic ideology and callous mindset towards women.  Let’s settle this once and for all: the words and behaviors he has exhibited over the last 30 or 40 years towards women are not just about sexual harassment; it is about what those words and behaviors mean for women in his presence and whether he views a woman as a person.  Stop telling us, “He didn’t actually grab a pussy so what’s the problem?”  The problem is someone whose view of women is that distorted will never have a woman’s interests, needs, or wants as a part of his agenda.  Regardless of what he says, Trump sees women as less than and will treat them as such.  So when a grown woman attempts to defend the misogynistic belief system of a man and continues to excuse his misogynistic beliefs and behaviors, that is powerful – which means there is something powerful behind it.

From the beginning of the campaign, I made it clear how I felt about women who supported Trump.  I do not believe these women are naive.  I do not believe they are delusional.  I believe white women exhumed their true inclinations of racism and/or self-hatred as they now had a potential leader who felt the same.  These women have friends and family who want to believe they are just misguided and do not really believe in this man.  They are incorrect.   You can not support a racist and claim not to be a racist.   The views and perspectives of a racist are filtered through their racism.  If you support a person like that it means your views are filtered the same way.  The women who voted for him knew his knowledge was insufficient for this job,  he did not have a plan for any of his ‘ideas’ and he said awful things about women, minorities and the disabled with no apologies.  His female supporters will never make me believe they thought he was capable of doing this job.  But White women did like the racist statements he was making about making their country white again…I mean great again.  Their desire to have a whiter world created a worldview based in lies, misrepresentations, and exaggerations.  They used that view to justify their racist behavior and lie to the people closest to them.  Their belief system is askew, not their belief in him.

When I made these statements a year ago I did not understand that for many White people, believing in this reality is difficult and hard to comprehend.  When we think of racists, we do not automatically think women….we think men.  Women can be racists too.  But when you live in a bubble it is hard to believe a bleaker, uglier world exists.  I lost count how many times I saw White women write and talk about how they did not know.  They did not know there were so many racist men hiding their true feelings.  They did not know there were so many men who were hiding what they truly believed about women.  They did not know there were women who would vote for a man who openly degrades women.  White women were living a life that allowed them to be oblivious and unconscious to the abhorrent things happening in this country.   When videos of cops harassing and/or shooting unarmed people of color was all over social media, many White people understood we weren’t making it up; before the videos, those same White people believed Black people were embellishing.  The white bubble burst when the female racist was revealed and White women saw female Trump supporters were prepared to betray all women and themselves.  When the election ended and White women realized a Black man could get elected in this country twice and people would not even consider electing a White woman, they understood they were not being told the whole truth.

There were also women of color who supported and voted for Trump.  As with White women, I do not believe these women are delusional or naive.  I also do not believe they are racist; I believe women of color who voted for Trump have a lot of self-hatred.  Again, there is no rational reason a woman of color would choose to elect a racist misogynist.  Trump made it very clear how he felt about women and people of color during his campaign.  In order for these women to decide they should vote for him, they had to disregard their womanhood and disregard that they are a person of color.  You can not ignore either of those things when the platform of the man you support is based on destroying your womanhood and people of color.  I am not sure how all people of color treated their Trump supporters, but unlike many White supporters of Trump, I know many Black supporters were shunned and trashed by their people.  When Omarosa Manigault tried to make connections with Black people after the election, she was booed wherever she went and she claimed her family would not even talk to her.  Chrisette Michelle, who sang at the inauguration ball, had so many people come for her on social media she had a nervous breakdown.  And Tina Oliver, a highly regarded gospel singer, was harassed incessantly online and lost ratings for her very popular reality show after trying to explain why she voted for Trump.  This is a democratic society.  Everyone is allowed to vote for whomever they choose and believe whatever they want.  But when some Black women chose to support the candidate whose goal was to suppress their existence, the rest of us had a hard time accepting this, as he was trying to suppress our existence as well.  In voting for that man, Black female Trump supporters renounced parts of who they are and they do not have the luxury of a bubble.  And although some people may accept a Black woman’s abdication of being a woman, most Black people can not accept their abdication of being Black.  I would guess the same is true for most people of color.

Everything we have seen over the last two and a half years has happened because of what these women did.  The tweeting, the wall, Puerto Rico, Charlottesville, the protest of the Black men being killed in the streets by cops, birth control mandates being rolled back, no reform to the ACA, an entire government cabinet being gutted in the first seven months, Russia hacking the election, passing that awful tax plan, DACA, and so many others.  They had the power to stop all this and instead they let their racism, privilege, and self-hatred turn our country into a place of fear for many of its citizens.   If there was a more competent person in office, every single one of those things may have been handled differently or not occurred at all.   I know we did not have a lot of good choices, but I can not understand voting against your own self-interests.  These women allowed a man-child to take over our highest office and make a mockery of it.  His female supporters do not understand what their misguided beliefs and decisions gave power to in this country.  They do not understand their racism contributes to sexism.  When these women chose racism and their self-hate over their own self-interests, men understood the issues of women could be sliced apart and put on a shelf or thrown away altogether. They knew they didn’t have to worry about women becoming a cohesive mob to stand against them.

This presidency created a fracture between women that is worse than it was two years ago and it was a big fracture back then.  If we want to close some of the gaps we let them create between us, women need to accept some difficult truths about themselves and their reality.  First, all female Trump supporters need to admit what they have done, accept responsibility and really evaluate why they would vote for someone who hates them (in other words, admit their racism and/or self-hatred). Until these women can explain to themselves why they would allow a part of their identity and being to be devalued in the conversations about the world they live in, we can not come together and have any meaningful dialogue about our beliefs and principles. 

Second, some White women are going to have to decide whether they want to keep pretending their circle is not tainted.  I watched after the election as some people ended friendships and disowned family over Trump.  But there were many who chose to agree to disagree.  Be clear: anyone who supports Trump is against women.  They will try to trick you with ‘politics is not family’ or ‘my beliefs don’t pertain to you’.  They are lying.  They support a man who doesn’t believe in a woman’s fundamental rights as a human being. How do you agree to disagree about that?  Attending rallies and marches is great, but those are usually attended by like-minded people.  Being uncomfortable and making others around you accountable is what is necessary if we want change.  The racists that marched in Charlottesville didn’t back down because Black people showed up, they backed down because people who looked like them showed up and said ‘we will not accept this bullshit’.   The fight against the intolerant will not be won with passivity, fear, one-sided compromise or without adversarial interactions.  The intolerant must not be allowed to keep perpetuating the myth that they want inclusiveness.  When you live in a society where a group of people are pretending to want democracy, justice, and fairness, there can truly be no democracy, justice, and fairness. 

Finally, all women will need to come to terms with what being a woman means when you live in the United States.   There are places in this world where women experience horrors most of us couldn’t dream in our darkest nightmares, but we have issues and problems in this country that are real regardless of the perspective they are imagined: many men do not see women as equals, many men view women as merely body parts, and in some instances men do not see women as human beings.  This narrative of women has existed for as long as women and men have been around.  And although there have been some positive changes in this country in the almost 200 years since White women started fighting for their right to vote, they are not enough to warrant any woman allowing themselves to be used as pawns in this farce of a presidency.  This lack of perspective on the part of female Trump supporters is part of the reason they can lie to themselves, their families, their friends and allow themselves to be lied to.   We no longer live in a country where we can pretend we don’t see what we see; where we can pretend the misogyny is not real.  Until we can all admit the truth, men like Trump and his friends will continue to splinter our gender and cause us to question our collective power.  

 

2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeffrey miller
    Apr 26, 2018 @ 09:00:48

    Outstanding!! More women should read this and do some self-evaluation. Everything is right on point!

    Reply

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