Recently, while waiting for a flight, I caved into my boredom and bought a few over-priced, airport magazines. Amongst the pile of chosen material was Cosmopolitan. This particular issue contained a short article that made me say a few angry things under my breath. Although I do not read this magazine all that frequently, it is probably safe to assume that there is a slightly liberal bias in most issues. After all, minority members are expected to be liberal lest they be labeled as a “sell out”, “an anti-feminist feminist”, “anti-woman”, an “Uncle Tom”, etc. It is to be expected that a popular women’s magazine will have a liberal bias.
This particular article is entitled “The Feminine Divide” and was written by a woman named Jill Filipovic. She was concerned with the fact that women did not unite against Donald Trump and that many of them actually voted for him. In this piece, the author discussed how women are divided and how it was hard to grasp that so many women would vote for a man who ran his campaign “steeped in sexism”. She stated that Donald Trump, “won his bid largely because of white male enthusiasm.” At that point, I had to continue reading it. It was almost like a reality housewives episode that no matter how ridiculous or mentally draining, you just cannot look away.
So dear Cosmopolitan, Ms. Filipovic, and anyone else who believes this notion to be true,
I understand that many firmly disapprove of Donald Trump and I understand why. I would never shame “Never Trumpers” for what they are convicted of and I certainly would not label them all as having some sort of character flaw. You had your reasons when you voted for Hilary Clinton and I had mine when I voted for Donald Trump. You can hurl insults at and be disgusted with Donald Trump, I doubt he is bothered by your disdain. However, a line is crossed when you begin to attack your fellow Americans who voted for him.
Unfortunately, the shaming you did in your article on females who voted for Trump, seemed slightly contradictory to the message of unification you were arguing in favor of.
“There are still a lot of women who are not down for a paradigm power shift. For millennial females- the majority of whom voted for Clinton- this feels like a betrayal. It’s us, not the Trump voting women over 45, who will suffer the consequences of the country the president-elect has promised to build: encroachments on our access to contraception, the dashed dream of paid parental leave, the potential end of abortion rights.”
Well I digress, Ms. Filipovic. Last time I checked, I was born in 1992 and am therefore nowhere near the age of 45. However, I pretty vividly remember voting for him and even volunteering for his campaign. In fact, that girl in the picture above that you probably immediately felt disgust towards is actually yours truly. Unlike you, I do not place the “paradigm power shift” you refer to, above my principles or convictions.
Furthermore, I would never vote for policies that I firmly know to not work, solely to obtain this power shift you speak of. Asking for all women to abandon their own individual thought processes solely to vote in unison with other women is actually counterproductive to your desired power shift. Limiting free thought only hinders such a cause. Giving women power starts with allowing them to think for themselves and not shaming them for it when they do.
I do not accept your insults nor your hasty generalizations, ill founded assumptions, and biased conclusions. You cited one statistic and followed with some pretty hefty accusations. So lets clear up some of these widely held misconceptions that you and many others firmly believe.
“How could so many of our mothers, aunts, and grandmothers risk rights like this?…How, too, could so many of our ovary-owning peers?”
Although the argument to vote for Hillary solely due to her gender was a point that was utilized quite frequently in the past few months, I had hoped that it would eventually dissipate. However, it was brought up once again, not to get votes, but rather to guilt other women for utilizing a right that women in the 1920s valiantly fought for all women to have. The most insulting part of this is that you (along with many other third wave feminists) actually believe that women are supposed to all vote the same way and be concerned with the same things.
You mention “access to contraception, the dashed dream of paid parental leave, the potential end of abortion rights” as if these are things that all women should consider when voting for the future of an entire nation. This is no fault of your own but rather the fault of modern day feminism and how it now works. The twisted, third wave feminism seen in western society does not empower women, it shames them and belittles naysayers. If a woman does not believe that free contraception, abortion, and paid parental leave are basic human rights then they must be anti-woman.
These modern day, third wave feminists degrade women who don’t agree with abortions, who do not believe that free contraception is a right, and women who choose to be stay at home mothers/wives. Women who don’t engage in man shaming and who refuse to advocate for government intervention in their lives are told that they are anti woman (Example- Carly Fiorina is called anti-woman solely because she is Conservative).
Newsflash: the original feminists who were force fed, jailed for no reason, and who were denied their rights actually rejected “the use of force to dominate, control, or destroy anyone.” These women wanted future women to have a choice in how they lived their lives. Whether that be a stay at home mom/wife or a CEO, the choice in itself was the end goal. They never told women how to live their lives nor how to think. In fact, that is exactly the forces they fought against. Furthermore, contrary to popular opinion, abortion actually was never part of the original feminist agenda.
The women who reject it do so because they realize that it not only just destroys an innocent life but that it also is the ultimate exploitation of women. Also contrary to popular opinion, the original feminists wanted independence, self sufficiency, and they never searched for their empowerment through government intervention. Large government is no longer seen as an ailment however, it is now seen as a solution. The more power you give it, the hungrier it gets and the faster it grows. I refuse to allow the same government that once denied women of their rights, to have any more power than necessary.
Although much of your article was incredibly aggravating, the peak of my disgust was experienced when you stated,
“But what stuns me is that, while most women voted for Hillary Clinton, we were not unified…a whopping 53% of white women cast their ballots for a man who ran a campaign steeped in sexism.”
Although I agree that Donald Trump certainly insulted the physical appearance of many women, he also did it to a lot of men. Many of whom I do not see yelling in protest. If he said things along the lines of women not belonging in the workforce or that women belong in the kitchen and so forth and had policies that reflected those espoused values; then no, I would not have voted for him. However, his record of employing women and putting them in superior positions proves this scenario to be far from a possibility.
As for the infamous tape that was labeled “locker room talk” which you later mention in the article, I do not recall him ever mentioning not receiving consent. When he states, “they let you” does that not imply that there are women who let him do such a thing and thus give him consent prior to the alleged incidence? Whether you think my thought process is ridiculous or not, know that my intentions and motives were pure. I did not willingly vote for a man that I believed to be condoning sexual assault. So the fact that you honestly think women would vote for a man that they believed was condoning such a thing is not only absurd but it also proves that you prefer making assumptions over listening to your fellow female. Maybe you did not see the Craigslist ad where certain democrats were actually hiring women to lie about Trump sexually assaulting them.
Did you not find it deplorable that people were actually exploiting sexual assault to further their own goals? I wonder how real victims of sexual assault felt about people hiring women to actively lie about a devastating situation that forever impacts a woman’s life. An occurrence that they wish was a lie and a fictional story but is unfortunately something that they physically felt, endured, and have to live with. On top of that, you expected us to trust the same media that perpetuated this lie and failed to ever even mention these ads?
I am going to take a wild guess and assume that you are among the likes of certain CNN and MSNBC commentators. Those same like minded individuals that firmly believe Trump won because of his apparent sexism, racism, islamophobia, homophobia and whatever other -ism or phobia you manage to connect to a root word to satisfy your personal feelings and views. So in your world, he is a sexist. Well lets assume that he is some chauvinistic xenophobe that hates women. You presume that this translates to Donald Trump winning because of the things he said about women, rather than that he won DESPITE those things. Yet rather than acknowledging such a possibility, you totally dismissed it to satisfy your alternate universe.
This election did not provide an easy option for many American voters. Many people cringed when they cast their ballot for him. It just so happens however, that they disliked Mrs. Clinton far more. O the nerve of those white men to dislike a woman that frequently dismissed them. Well according to an exit poll analysis from Edison Research in reference to individuals who disliked both candidates, “had those with a negative view of both candidates split evenly, Clinton would have won rather easily. However, as the graph below shows, this ‘Neithers’ group broke strongly to Trump 49% to 29%. The states which swung the election to President were composed of many “Neithers”. According to the analysis, “the votes gained by people who said: ‘I don’t like Trump but I’m going to vote for him anyhow’ is greater than his total margin in these states.
In other words – it was the ‘Neithers’ who pushed Trump over the top in these states and ultimately won him the election.” In addition to this, “the analysis showed that those in the ‘Neithers’ group were 78% white.” Actually many of those same white men favored President Obama. According to the analysis, “Nearly half of those who didn’t like either of this year’s two major candidates do have a favorable impression of President Obama – and a significant portion of this group voted for Trump.” So the people who helped the first black president get elected were against having our first female president according to your calculations.
Your assumption that Trump won because of white supremacy is further negated with the fact that many of his original supporters (those who wanted him over the other republican candidates, aka his die-hard fans) oppose deporting illegal immigrants who meet certain requirements.
According to the Pew Research Center,
“Republican and Republican-leaning registered voters who backed Trump for the GOP nomination were split over whether undocumented immigrants should be allowed to stay in the country legally: 52% were opposed to unauthorized immigrants staying in the U.S. legally, while 47% said they should be allowed to stay if they met certain requirements.”
In addition to this, among Trump supporters, 90% call the economy very important to their vote and 89% say the same about the issue of terrorism.”
Could it be that Trump won because he had excellent plans for the economy? Could it be that some women were actually concerned with the economy and our national security? Apparently so.
Maybe the rise of Trump should have inspired some thoughtful introspection. Instead, you and many others on the left and even many on the right, preferred to shame and degrade your fellow Americans for a choice that many of them struggled to make. Instead of claiming that all the white men who voted for Trump did so because they are white supremacists, did you ever stop to think that some of these white men were simply dissatisfied with Obama’s presidency and knew that Hilary Clinton would simply be a continuation of it? Are white, jobless men who are struggling to provide for their family not allowed to vote for someone who is promising well paying jobs?
In case you forgot, the recession that followed the 2008 stock market crash resulted in mostly white blue collar males to lose their jobs. Rather than President Obama fighting for those same men who lost their jobs, he chose health care reform as his primary concern. So those same white men, many of whom voted for Obama, quickly realized that catchy speeches and promises are quickly forgotten once the ballot is cast and the election is won.
You also stated,
“That so many women rejected Clinton-who, despite her flaws, was an overqualified candidate and lifelong advocate of women’s rights- is hard for me to stomach, let alone understand.”
Well allow me to shed some light on the situation for you in the hopes that you can begin to understand. You expect all women to put what you label as the advancement of women over the concerns of an entire nation full of males and females with a diverse set of wants, needs and values. Feminism is about equality, not superiority. It has never been about putting what you believe are rights above the well being of America. Maybe some women are concerned with the futures of their fathers, brothers, sons, and husbands. Maybe some women are concerned with the economy, terrorism, foreign policy, public education, the decline of small businesses, etc. Whether you like it or not, we are allowed to be concerned with such things and our thought processes are not limited to your desires.
You concluded that these women should have united to vote for Hilary Clinton because she is “overqualified” and “an advocate of women’s rights”.
You fail to understand that being overqualified is the problem. Overqualified, career politicians actually contributed to President Trump’s victory. Overqualified politicians are not the solution, they are the problem. Being overqualified does not grant anyone a hall pass nor a get out of jail free card. Americans realized that a lifelong politician and an impressive political resume rarely translate to a committed public servant, to change, or to the fulfillment of fancy promises. It more often translates to corruption, neglect, and out of touch bureaucrats who care little for those which they were elected to serve.
Furthermore, Hilary Clinton is hardly a “life long advocate of women’s rights”. You assume that what she has done in the past and that what she does behind the scenes is somehow negated by what she does in public. You remain willfully ignorant to the occurrences that CNN and MSNBC fail to report. We are talking about a woman who embodies all that is wrong in our justice system in prosecuting rapists (an actual, real life problem that we all can agree on). You may have conveniently forgotten about Kathy Shelton but her story matters whether you want it to or not. Mrs. Clinton is a woman who shamed and publicly humiliated women that her husband preyed on and raped. I will not forget the 600 requests for help that she ignored from men who were fathers, husbands, and sons. Mrs. Clinton is a woman who is part of a foundation so corrupt that it accepts millions of dollars from countries that actually oppress and torture women.
So save your pity party on the plight of the westernized woman. I will not ignore the atrocities women in other countries experience on a daily basis. Women who have no voice and no rights and who endure atrocities such as genital mutilation, rape, stoning, and other abominations that are actual, real world threats to the advancement of those womens rights. Calling Donald Trump a sexist should not be a defense mechanism you utilize to protect yourself from the real reasons Hilary Clinton lost. Sexism is a real thing and when you throw it around as some insult to satisfy your argument, you only distract from the real life instances of sexism.
Maybe eight years of Barrack Obama led to a Trump victory. Maybe a fear of Hilary Clinton led to a Trump victory. Maybe Donald Trump did not win so much as Hillary Clinton simply lost. Maybe Donald Trump did actually just win and had plans that set him far above. Maybe all of these possibilities and more contributed to a very large movement that led to his victory. Rather than acknowledging these possibilities, you chose to embark on the same name calling and shaming that contributed to his victory.
Unfortunately, your refusal to acknowledge the real life conditions that contributed to Trumps presidency only serves to fan the flames of anger that paved his way to the White House. White male supremacy did not lead Trump to victory, frustration did. Anger did. Hopelessness did. Donald Trump offered a message that acknowledged the frustrations and anger of many Americans and his plans for the country resonated with these same people who have felt helpless for the past eight years. Anger, hurt, hopelessness, and frustration are not gender specific. They are shared human conditions, that when felt long enough, lead to a state of desperation and eventually anger.
You assume that I should not think for myself and that women should all think in unison. You assume that my choice to support him was rooted in racism, sexism, and bigotry. You assume that all women should sacrifice their principles and abandon what they know to be true in order to appease your morphed brand of feminism. You assume that the causes you believe in, should be the causes all women believe in. Well your assumptions and expectations are the same ones that led to my protest and the protest of many other women. I will never accept your brand of feminism that consists of participation trophies, tokenistic gestures, and government intervention as pre requisites to female empowerment.
I do not need a female president to feel empowered and to know that I am important.
You can count on one thing though: whenever a female candidate runs that is an exceptional candidate rather than an exceptional female, I will vote for her because she stands out as a candidate amongst men. Whenever the first female president is elected, I hope she is not remembered as the first female president but rather one of the best presidents our country has ever seen.
Although females voted differently this election (as they do every election), it does not mean that unity is suddenly out of the question. I watched the very people who chose Trump, suffer eight years under President Obama. Not once did I hear them shame or degrade the people who voted for him. Unity is a choice. We can all unite on the fact that this was a hard election. We can all unite on our shared humanity and that the act of listening should extend beyond party lines and voting habits.
I understand why you disapprove of him and I understand why so many do. I do not expect you to like him nor would I ask for you to roll over and stop speaking up for what you believe in. However, I expect you to offer me the same understanding that I offer to you. I may disagree with much of what you have to say but I firmly believe in your right to say it. Maybe next time you speak in reference to the women and men who voted for Trump, assume a little less and listen a little more.