Why this Paper magazine tweet about female Trump supporters is taking so much heat
Paper magazine dropped a story Tuesday on how Madonna explained the phenomenon of women voting for Donald Trump, and for whatever reason figured the best way to promote the story on social media was through an uncomfortably deceptive tweet. In said tweet, the fact that female Trump supporters were predominantly white was conveniently left out, so it simply read, “Madonna theorized why so many women voted for Donald Trump.”
Fifty-three percent of white women voted for Trump, a man who led a subtle yet vicious rhetorical war against women’s right to autonomy over their bodies throughout his campaign and is notorious for, at best, believing some fucked up things about sexual assault and, at worst, committing it repeatedly.
No other block of women voted as a majority for Trump, and black women voted against Trump by a margin more significant than any other group, with 94 percent voting for Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, around 70 percent of Latinas voted for Clinton, too.
Why is it so important to note and call out the exclusion of this detail from the tweet? For starters, the word “women” does not refer exclusively to white women, and the vast majority of other women did not have the same privilege of white women to elect a man whose rhetoric and policy proposals have posed so critical a threat to their rights and humanity.
White women who supported Trump can attempt to deny their racism all they like, but their decision to vote for Trump can only really be understood through the lens of their racial privilege. Would they have been able to vote for a man who called men sharing their heritage rapists and criminals? For a man who called for a sweeping ban on their ability to enter the U.S.? For a man with a history of discriminating against and stereotyping others of their race with crime, violence, and laziness? If not blatantly racist, at the very least they were able to overlook and shrug off Trump’s blatant attacks on people of color, and I fail to see how that’s any better. At the end of the day, they say hate isn’t the opposite of love: apathy is.
As Jezebel’s Clover Hope noted in a post-election piece well worth a read if you haven’t done so already, white women voting for Trump valued “their privilege [more] than their freedom to choose,” and “used minorities as sacrificial property in the process” to uphold their supremacy in society.
They were able to look past Trump’s history of allegations of sexual assault and abuse and audio of him gloating about his ability to get away with such behavior due to his wealth. They were able to look past his noted refusal to support equal pay and harmful, gender role-enforcing maternity leave plan. They were even able to look past his blatant opposition to their reproductive freedom. As women, these statements and policy proposals directly attacked them, and still they could overlook this. Of course they could overlook attacks on women of color in particular that didn’t affect them — and quite easily, too.
On a relevant note, Madonna’s take on Trump’s appeal to women (aka white women) was honestly no less of a screw-up. At the very least, she was able to acknowledge how generally shitty Trump is for women’s rights, but ultimately attributed support for Trump among women (again, aka WHITE WOMEN) on their cattiness and innate desire to inflict harm on each other, which is a load of hot, sexist bullshit. Once again, as a general rule, women who say women cause drama, and only women who say women cause drama, are generally the ones doing so.
“Women hate women. That’s what I think it is,” Madonna said. “Women’s nature is not to support other women. It’s really sad. Men protect each other, and women protect their men and children.”