sex-negative feminism and white female support for donald trump

The Guardian invited 4 women who voted for Trump and consider themselves feminists to explain their sins. It should go without saying that every single person that voted for Donald Trump is racist, and that’s why they supported him. We can learn from their excuses, though. Laura, a Floridian government worker in her 20s, speaks first:

I truly thought [the video of Trump] was, as it’s been dubbed, ‘locker-room talk’. Having two brothers, boyfriends, and a fiance, I can make an educated guess that all heterosexual men have bragged about their exploits with women to another man at some point.

The content of the bragging goes unremarked. What she’s saying is that every man in her life talks like a rapist, so it’s a feature of the male gender. “The hegemony of rape culture,” you might call it. All previous presidents have been male, so how could that fact alone disqualify Trump?  Alyssa from Ohio makes a similar point:

At the end of the day [the video of Trump] did not affect my support for him. What he says and what he does don’t matter in those senses because I’m looking for somebody that has the same beliefs as I do in running a country. At the end of the day we’re all sinners and we all say things like this. It isn’t uncommon. We act like the president of United States should be some holy person.

“We can go through all the US presidents and you will see sexual dysfunctions in all of their personal lives, even Hillary’s husband had an affair. At the end of the day, my husband’s sex life does not involve his work life and my sex life does not involve my day-to-day life. These women that came out about Trump could have been hoping for media attention, or maybe just simply paid by Hillary to make her criminal issues look smaller.

The personal is not the political, for this feminist. Who among us hasn’t complained about niggers when they’re not in the room?

Heather wants to have sex with Donald Trump. She wants to ride on his presidency. Minorities are just props he plays with to look powerful:

Trump got a lot more airtime than Carson, who was polite and played by the rules. Carson was too quiet for a nation that chases tornadoes and is captivated by blazes. Trump’s failings humanise him and make him relatable…There’s a lot more riding on this presidency than political correctness.

“I’m a throwback, which naturally lends itself to traditional femininity. I’ve always been attracted to alpha males. But then, after the popularity of 50 Shades of Grey, I’m hardly alone. Don’t get me wrong, I’m an intelligent, fully capable woman. I simply prefer the leadership of a strong male.

Lena prefers euphemisms when expressing her hatred of Muslims and Mexicans. She can’t say she’s a Trump supporter:

I see issues for women as well as other minorities as very important; however, in this election, national as well global security in terms of terrorism, the economy and jobs for Americans were key issues. It was easy for me to make up my mind, but I can’t say I’m a Trump supporter.

The Guardian article frames female support for Trump like it’s a new mystery to unravel, and the 4 women are case studies to get a conversation going. It’s a bad sign that we’re trying to solve these problems as if for the first time, from first principles. Meanwhile, the conservatives have been executing their plans over the long term. The left doesn’t seem to have the same historical continuity. This problem was definitively addressed by Andrea Dworkin in 1978’s Right-Wing Women. Reading texts from the last time America was great is more efficient than starting over with feminist theory.

The sex-class system cannot be undone when those whom it exploits and humiliates are unable to face it for what it is, for what it takes from them, for what it does to them. Feminism requires precisely what misogyny destroys in women: unimpeachable bravery in confronting male power. Despite the impossibility of it, there is such bravery: there are such women, in some periods millions upon millions of them. If male supremacy survives every effort of women to overthrow it, it will not be because of biology or God; nor will it be because of the force and power of men per se. It will be because the will to liberation was contaminated, undermined, rendered ineffectual and meaningless, by antifeminism: by specious concepts of equality based on an evasion of what the sex-class system really is. The refusal to recognize the intrinsic despotism of the sex-class system means that the despotism is inevitably incorporated into reform models of that same system: in this, antifeminism triumphs over the will to liberation. The refusal to recognize the unique abuses inherent in sex labor (treating sex labor as if it were sex-neutral, as if it were not intrinsically part of sex oppression and inseparable from it) is a function of antifeminism; the acceptance of sex labor as appropriate labor for women marks the triumph of antifeminism over the will to liberation. The sentimental acceptance of a double standard of human rights, responsibilities, and freedom is also the triumph of antifeminism over the will to liberation; no sexual dichotomy is compatible with real liberation. And, most important, the refusal to demand (with no compromise being possible) one absolute standard of human dignity is the greatest triumph of antifeminism over the will to liberation. Without that one absolute standard, liberation is mush; feminism is frivolous and utterly self-indulgent. Without that one absolute standard as the keystone of revolutionary justice, feminism has no claim to being a liberation movement; it has no revolutionary stance, goal, or potential; it has no basis for a radical reconstruction of society; it has no criteria for action or organization; it has no moral necessity; it has no inescapable claim on the conscience of “mankind”; it has no philosophical seriousness; it has no authentic stature as a human-rights movement; it has nothing to teach. Also, without that one absolute standard, feminism has no chance whatsoever of actually liberating women or destroying the sex-class system…No liberation movement can accept the degradation of those whom it seeks to liberate by accepting a different definition of dignity for them and stay a movement for their freedom at the same time (Apologists for pornography: take note). A universal standard of human dignity is the only principle that completely repudiates sex-class exploitation and also propels all of us into a future where the fundamental political question is the quality of life for all human beings. Are women being subordinated to men? There is insufficient dignity in that. Are men being prostituted too? What is human dignity?…

One other discipline is essential both to the practice of feminism and to its theoretical integrity: the firm, unsentimental, continuous recognition that women are a class having a common condition. This is not some psychological process of identification with women because women are wonderful; nor is it the insupportable assertion that there are no substantive, treacherous differences among women. This is not a liberal mandate to ignore what is cruel, despicable, or stupid in women, nor is it a mandate to ignore dangerous political ideas or allegiances of women. This does not mean women first, women best, women only. It does mean that the fate of every individual woman–no matter what her politics, character, values, qualities–is tied to the fate of all women whether she likes it or not. On one level, it means that every woman’s fate is tied to the fate of women she dislikes personally. On another level, it means that every woman’s fate is tied to the fate of women whom she politically and morally abhors. For instance, it means that rape jeopardizes communist and fascist women, liberal, conservative, Democratic, or Republican women, white women and black women, Nazi women and Jewish women, homophobic women and homosexual women. The crimes committed against women because they are women articulate the condition of women.

Presumably, the left can reach right-wing women when it’s honest about all the violence.

If sex oppression is real, absolute, unchanging, inevitable, then the views of right-wing women are more logical than not. Marriage is supposed to protect them from rape; being kept at home is supposed to protect them from the castelike economic exploitation of the marketplace; reproduction gives them what value and respect they have and so they must increase the value of reproduction even if it means increasing their own vulnerability to reproductive exploitation (especially forced pregnancy); religious marriage–traditional, correct, law-abiding marriage–is supposed to protect against battery, since the wife is supposed to be cherished and respected. The flaws in the logic are simple: the home is the most dangerous place for a woman to be, the place she is most likely to be murdered, raped, beaten, certainly the place where she is robbed of the value of her labor…

Right-wing women, who are less queasy in facing the absolute nature of male power over women, will not be swayed by the politics of women who practice selective blindness with regard to male power. Right-wing women are sure that the selective blindness of liberals and leftists especially contributes to more violence, more humiliation, more exploitation for women, often in the name of humanism and freedom (which is why both are dirty words to them).

Andrea Dworkin allied herself with right-wing women to oppose pornography, which got her branded as “sex-negative”. I love this infographic from an essay called The Ethical Prude: Imagining An Authentic Sex-Negative Feminism: