By JAYNE CHUNG
“I am a white female. A victim of sexual abuse. A Republican. A Christian. And I am voting for Donald Trump.”
The quote above, excerpted from a blog post that was shared widely across social media, brings to light one of the paradoxes of the 2016 presidential election: why are women supporting a candidate who has been proven to be a cheater, a sexist, and an assaulter? Though Hillary Clinton now leads Trump by at least ten points among women voters in every poll conducted, according to Presidentialgenderwatch.org, Trump leads Hillary by two points (twelve the week before) among white female voters. This phenomena is not due to any fault of Clinton or any merit of Trump but instead a pervasive, misogynistic fear over the changing role of women in society.
Though the concept of men voting for Trump as a way to maintain male dominance in society is understandable, though chauvinistic and outdated, the idea that women would prefer a man who has time after time degraded women over a candidate of the same gender is baffling. He declared himself a “great and very brave soldier” during a radio show for escaping STDs despite his frequent conquests of women, a feat he calls “my personal Vietnam” (of course, he evaded the draft for the real war). Offensive, derogatory comments towards and about women, including his own daughter, are casually thrown out on national television, and he once encouraged his social media followers, which includes adolescents, to “check out” a sex tape. Videos have surfaced of Trump bragging about his harassment of women, and fourteen women have publicly stepped up to accuse Trump of sexually assaulting them.
Hatred for Clinton by female voters is a sobering representation of the double standard placed on women. Despite the endless evidence of Trump’s blatant misogyny and his own very public affairs, women can still find the heart to turn the other cheek while despising Clinton for her husband’s infidelity. Whether it be political accomplishments, business savvy, or character, Clinton, as a female candidate, is forced into viciously unfair expectations that decry her past and any mistake on her part. As just one example out of hundreds, Clinton is crucified as a liar and a criminal for using a private email server in office despite the fact that other male politicians, including Bush and Romney, have unapologetically done the same and her competing candidate still refuses to release his tax records.
To supporters of Trump, this election is not about foreign policy or the economy– this election is about entitlement and about both men and women desperately trying to preserve racist and sexist traditions of the past. Women would rather accept a clearly unqualified, overly aggressive male for a president than accept the fact that women can step out of the traditional role of mother and wife and lead a country. Though most women are in favor of equal pay and greater equality for women, the reality is that women with less economic and personal autonomy are more apt to lean towards values that emphasize male responsibility and authority; therefore, voting for a female candidate would threaten their role in society and their entitlement to male protection. The rejection of Clinton by female voters is not driven by contempt and the objectification of women, as it is with Trump and other chauvinists, but by irrational hatred towards independent women who are breaking societal gender roles.
For women, the argument that choosing between Clinton and Trump for the candidacy is choosing the lesser of two evils is superficial and invalid. A woman voting for Trump is not only betraying herself, but her whole gender. Women need to stop accepting and promoting misogyny and start celebrating and supporting themselves and each other regardless of differences in race, age, or socioeconomic level. One’s identity as a woman should come before any other moral or political view, and if the opportunity to vote a capable, empowered, female candidate into the highest office in the country isn’t inviting enough, the fact that her opponent is a vulgar, incompetent sexist should be.