“He says what he thinks, right or wrong”, said one Trump voter. I came across this ludicrous quote when despairingly googling “why did people vote for Trump”. Whoever said that – it’s just not good enough, nor is it even accurate. Such apparent honesty is not to be admired for its authenticity – we must be ready to condemn people who say distasteful and offensive things, regardless of whether or not they mean it. Is a racist or sexist opinion legitimized because the speaker actually means it?
Clearly Trump’s unexpected victory is an historic moment; a totally unqualified man has made it to the highest office on earth, despite his obvious flaws, because women are hated that much. We can look back at his various public gaffs and consider what they mean now that he is president: it is now OK to publicly mock disabled people, generalise an entire culture as rapists, grope women and brag about it, scapegoat muslims. Most public officials are usually sacked for these sorts of things but in Trump’s case they have not hindered his ascent to power. Not only are some Americans worried about their futures in a Trumpian vision of the world, but parents are wondering how they can tell their children that it’s wrong to lie, that it’s wrong to sexually harass women, when their leader has done these things and got away with it.
Perhaps we should be empathetic to those who voted for Trump because they are working class men who have suffered from globalisation. Don’t ask me to apologise for the decisions of angry white men; they can make their own excuses. I’m interested in why 53% of white female voters chose Trump. It is a depressing blow to see that so many women are not feminists. And they can’t be when they have voted for a man who is alleged to have sexually abused women, and who has definitely bragged about groping women and getting away with it because he’s a rich and famous white man. In my idea of feminism, it is not possible to vote for such a man and be a feminist because he is a cliched epitome of patriarchy. It’s not just that the female voters have sold out the rest of the sisterhood, but their decision shows that Trump’s attitude to women is normal in their every day lives. While many claim to be disgusted by his comments, they still voted for him because they don’t see his sexism as important. Women are so full of self-loathing that they prioritise a white male’s desires over their own right to bodily safety. They have acknowledged that they see their only value as sexual objects and they, too, will suffer for this under a Trump regime in which their abortion rights will be denied. They have internalized sexism and reject Clinton’s ambition and success, or can’t relate to it.
Hillary Clinton, for all her flaws, is a representative for white feminism yet still she failed to win the white female vote. But it’s not her fault that white women don’t want feminism, or at least, they prioritise white supremacy over gender equality.