” Why is it so hard to believe that white women who voted for Trump are mainly as fixed under their own views as “you think youre” ?” Katha Pollit recently requested in a wickedly funny column for The Nation .” They voted for him for dozens of reasons: to fit in with their family and community, to protect or gain status, to piss off the libtards, to ally with their menfolk, to keep MS-1 3 from killing their children, to bring back chores stolen by Mexico and China, to keep taxes low-pitched and black children out of their academies or because it’s what Jesus craves .”
More personally and more queerly, I would add that these are the same women who are hurling me out of public bathrooms because I’m too butch.( I don’t believe for a second that they really guess I’m a humankind. I think they are picking up on a right-wing discourse about masculine-of-center females just as dangerous .) We can’t even agree that we have a common gender, probably because we don’t–nevermind come to some common ideology about where our own interest as lily-white wives lie.
” Calling[ these women] out as racist, xenophobic foot soldiers of the patriarchy isn’t going to make a dent ,” Pollit alleged to her readers.” Only as you don’t want to be the obedient wife of some porn-addicted Christian bully, they don’t want to be a slutty baby-killer looks just like you .”
This might explain why I am so very tired of people telling me that as a lily-white lady, it’s my responsibility “to get my people”–and “convert” the majority of lily-white women who vote Republican into feminist activists.
These females don’t requirement me explain to them that they’re voting against–and fighting against–their best interests. Offred isn’t going to change Aunt Lydia’s mind.
It’s piety , not politics, which shape this bellow, full of the thrill of a deeply personalized anti-racism, the affectation of having said something difficult and powerful. But our misty-eyed statements about how we can change the hearts and brains of Republican-voting white-hot ladies gloss over the hard work and planning that must go into an effort to stop Trump’s anti-woman agenda and the anti-feminist backlash which defines it, reducing such a behemoth undertaking into a matter of a single difficult discussion over Christmas dinner.
Such pronouncements fail to are serious about the rising influence of right-wing anti-feminism–and differentiate a major categorical mistake for the movement. The call to” get our people” baffles our admonitions to one another within feminism to maintain, and rightly so, that anti-racism is lily-white women’s task, with research projects beyond the feminist movement.
It’s critical to be aware of how much racism and sexism–what others call” traditional importances “– was fundamental to anti-feminist recruitment. Indeed, anti-feminism is what brought white-hot women into the fold of the Republican Party.
As Marjorie Spruill has pointed out, in the 1970 s, the GOP made a bid to include feminists and feminism under its umbrella, but then rejected it. Richard Nixon promised universal daycare and was stopped by conservative activists, primarily women, who called it “socializing children.” For a minute, there are still bipartisan support for the Equal Rights Amendment. President Gerald Ford appointed a presidential commission to design an agenda for women’s equality, and Republicans in Congress substantiated funded for International Women’s Year meetings to take place in every state, to elect the representatives and design resolvings for an International Women’s Year convention in Houston in 1977 — and First lady Betty Ford and dozens of prominent Republican ladies activists even spoke from the stage.
This gambit neglected, nonetheless, when members of the party , notably among them women like Phyllis Schlafly, coordinated against feminists. Schlafly originally stimulated her symbol by arguing that the Republican Party had become too liberal–singling out even( General) Dwight Eisenhower. “Shes gone” after those in favour of feminism, constructing a national anti-feminist women’s motion devoted to the “traditional” family. She coordinated a counter-conference to Houston. She fought against the adoption of the ERA, and gave us the fear-mongering arguing against constitutional equality that continues to haunt faggot and trans folk: that it would throw guys in women’s bathrooms, where they are able to rape and terrorize wives.
Schlafly’s Eagle Forum, in alliance with a developing number of right-wing religion organisations, was just beginning to find its feet in that decade, welding together “family values” with support for combating racism and militarism in the process. And the modern Republican Party is exactly what they were working toward. White females are not accidentally members of this coalition–the anti-abortion, anti-gay, anti-trans, anti-abortion, racist, “pro-family” politics around which they have formed their core identities are its core.
Today, wives following in Schlafly’s mold are closer to influence than ever before. Increasing number of them are working at cabinet-level bureaux, working to promote the idea that girls primarily lie about rape, that sex is binary and trans people don’t prevail, that family planning doesn’t work, that sex education should be abstinence-only and that abortion is carnage.
These are not” my people .” These are not “our people.” They stand against everything we are for. Instead of worrying about how to bring them into our move, there is a requirement get serious about the work of planning in opposition to their agenda.
Laura Briggs is Professor of Women and Gender Studies at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. She is the author of Reproducing Empire: Race, Sex, Science and U.S. Imperialism in Puerto Rico and in 2012 won the James Rawley Prize on the history of U.S. race relations for her volume on how mothers of coloring lose their children to the commonwealth, Somebody’s Children: The Politics of Transracial and Transnational Adoption. Most recently, she wrote How All Politics Became Reproductive Politics: From Welfare Reform to Foreclosure to Trump.
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