I admit that I was mistaken to think that Trump’s ascension was due – in large part – to white male voters. The truth is that over 50% of white women voted for the “grab them by the you-know-what” president. We ask why on Earth would they vote for a man with obvious, despicable sexist attitudes, and it seems to ultimately come down to the apparent need to support whiteness while disregarding the needs and struggles of women, especially nonwhite women.
Moira Donegan of The Guardian addresses the issue:
White women’s identity places them in a curious position at the intersection of two vectors of privilege and oppression: they are granted structural power by their race, but excluded from it by their sex. In a political system where racism and sexism are both so deeply ingrained, white women must choose to be loyal to either the more powerful aspect of their identity, their race, or to the less powerful, their sex. Some Republican white women might lean into racism not only for racism’s sake, but also as a means of avoiding or denying the realities of how sexist oppression makes them vulnerable.
In her book Right Wing Women, the feminist Andrea Dworkin wrote that conservative women often conform to the dominant ideologies of the men around them as part of a subconscious survival strategy, hoping that their conservatism will spare them from male hatred and violence. It doesn’t work, she says. They suffer sexist oppression anyway. But the strategy continues. “Most women cannot afford, either materially or psychologically, to recognize that whatever burnt offerings of obedience they bring to beg protection will not appease the angry little gods around them.” Participating in racism does not exempt white women from sexism, as much as they might hope that it will. It merely corrodes their souls in the process.
In a way, it’s not that different from people of color voting for the right. Some of them hope that adopting conservative values and joining the Republican party will grant them immunity from racism. They’ll learn things from a right wing point of view and will parrot them to other people. The right will consider them as “good and intelligent” people for two main reasons: they sided with them and agree with their issues, right or wrong.
But as far as conservative white women go, feminism just as big an enemy as anti-racism, or as some of them see it, racism against white people. They’re told how such activism is against their best interests, part of a liberal agenda to victimize women and demonize white people. They fill themselves up with this conservative candy, seemingly not concerned in the least that most of the right basically want women back to the days of being barefoot, pregnant and in the kitchen cooking for her white husband. Then again, maybe they truly want to go back to the “good ole’ days” where women can’t vote, run businesses and the only work they’re allowed to do is housework.
I guess being white is more beneficial?