I’ve seen a bunch of “WTF, white women?!?” takes today after exit polls showed the majority voted for troglodytes like Kemp, Cruz, DeSantis and Scott. College-educated white women have been a key part of the anti-Trump resistance in many of the suburbs where Democrats won.
But about half of white women — and in some places, distressingly huge majorities of them, if the exit polls are accurate — keep voting for Trump enablers and can eventually be counted on to vote for Trump again.
Martha Crawford, LCSW, tweeted the best explanation for our persistent white women problem that I’ve ever seen. Thread starts here on Twitter. I’ve rendered it in paragraph form below:
I had two maternal figures: Mom divorced in 1974 – lived as a single mother, worked the rest of her life in a gas station and hid immigrant workers without documents in our basement providing shelter, home medical care and food.
Whoever she was or wasnt she “ran with wolves”
She lived a life that was authentic and a mess and all her own.
My step-mother- extremely conservative, extremely patriarchal- profoundly concerned about status – her own and her sons- told me I was ridiculous to even think of a career when I should “just marry a powerful man”
My step-mother, I heard through the grapevine, (I no longer speak to her directly) voted for Trump – which is what I would have assumed.
It is absolutely unsurprisingly to me that more than half of all white women are like my step-mother.
My mom took wild risks, forsook so many “comforts” turned her back on extraordinary wealth, worked as a manual laborer, shopped for shoes and clothes at the swap meet, her car was always breaking down. She was often afraid.
But she died without any regrets at all.
My step-mother made choices consistently organized around security and power for herself and her biological off-spring, sons.
Her “power” came was vicarious power – and if you add up their assets and belongings. -their medical care and comforts- my step-mother came out ahead.
My point is that a large number of these 54% of white women are completely enmeshed with the supremacy of white men – their very comforts rest upon it.
My mother gave up EVERYTHING to flee from it – and struggled in freedom- for the rest of her life.
My mother’s choices and outcomes CONFIRMED my step-mothers in her mind.
We arent every going to peel those white women away from the desire for dominance for their husbands and sons.
Freedom can costly. If you have no inherent drive for it – it is a very hard sell.
We arent going to convince them that freedom and sharing is a purer way to live if it costs them their meat freezer in the garage, their speedboat and their membership at the club.
We have to build our coalition with less than half of white women – they like their comfy cages
Resign yourself to that “more than half of white women” uphold oppression. They have found ways to make their own disempowered lives quite comfy with layers and layers of vicarious power.
They don’t yearn for freedom at all. They find it repellant.
There is a lot more I could say – but cannot say about all the many oppressive outcomes that grew out of my step-mother’s choices, the power her sons gathered, the expanding generational oppressions that emerged out of her comfortable embrace of white patriarchy.
White patriarchy keeps its women close by rewarding them.
Liberation offer no regularly scheduled feedings.
To get white women to reject freedom all you have to do is gild the cage.
They will prefer to be first in line for table scraps, hoarding all the resources they can, rather than ever forage themselves
And they will see the authentic challenges and complexities of liberation as PROOF that they are safer in their indentured contract.
lots of typos as always – but hopefully you get the jist.
I think it is important that we stop “being surprised” by this.
It is a dilemma as old as the hills. It is not surprising at all. Not one bit.
Interestingly, I happened to notice that I lost followers as a result of this thread.
I guess we know who left.
I’ve left lots of such people behind more times than I can count – and like my mother, I’ve never regretted it.
I also had a fiercely independent mother who took risks and made her own way, and I have a stepmom who scurries to the fridge to fetch a refill when my father rattles the ice cubes in an empty glass at her. Maybe that’s why this rang so true to me.
Crawford is right. We’ll have to build our coalition with less than half of white women. The majority won’t be coaxed from their gilded cages, not even if you lock them in with a revolting pig like Trump.
Hate them or pity them, but for the love of God, don’t count on them. I’m embarrassed it took me until 2016 to fully figure that shit out.