Why Would Any Woman Support This President?

Growing up, I learned from the men and women around me what it meant to be a gentleman; how decent, good-hearted, honorable men lived in the world, the way they treated other human beings, how they carried and conducted themselves.

And from as early as I can remember, I was taught how women deserved to be treated by such men of character—with respect and compassion, as equals. I grew-up believing that in matters of intelligence and creativity and vision, women were fully my peers, and that I should learn from them and listen to them. I learned what consent was, and why I never had the right to decide for another woman, what she wanted or approved of. I learned that real men showed restraint and self-control. 

Implied in all of this, was the idea that not only was this the right way to treat the women I loved or met or knew from a distance—but it would be the way women would want to be treated; that they would appreciate being seen in this highest regard. This made sense to me, that every woman would treasure and demand being treated with dignity.

I must have been misinformed, because I’ve met many women lately who I just can’t seem to make sense of: women who adore and applaud and worship this President.

With every horrible thing he’s said about women, with his boasts of uninvited physicality, with his history of infidelity, with multiple marriages with ever-younger wives;
with his relentless vile and vicious attacks on the physical appearance, sexual lives, and even the menstrual cycles of female political opponents and critics;
with the way he’s terminated intelligent, capable strong women in his path;
with legislation seeking to take away women’s choices regarding their personal healthcare or to loosen campus protections for sexual assault victims.
—Donald Trump is the very definition of the kind of man I was taught that women would want no part of—let alone brag about and defend on social media.

I look at them and I wonder what it is that they think as they champion a nasty, predatory misogynist like this man. I try to imagine the story that they tell themselves about him, about their own worth—and I wonder how they connect all the dots.

Maybe it’s some toxic cocktail of blind hatred for Hillary Clinton, lifetime FoxNews indoctrination, subconscious white supremacy, internalized misogyny, deeply embedded self-loathing, and real-time Stockholm Syndrome—but I just can’t seem to make any sense of it.

That a man with such seeming disregard for women would be co-signed by other such men isn’t at all surprising. I expect knuckle-dragging, towel-snapping, cave men to want someone like them setting the temperature and making the laws and protecting their interests. That kind of self-preservation of a species makes sense.

What I simply can’t fathom, are women who affirm and celebrate something so seemingly antithetical to their well-being, something that with every word and every bit of evidence—declares that they are of little value. That affirmation feels like an act of self-harm.

As a man, I’m not at all qualified to answer these questions, and so I’ll rely on the wisdom of the women these words will reach, and lean into their responses—especially those who have complete peace about defending this President, who believe he is for them, those who are okay with their daughters living in the world he is making here.

As a man looking on at it all; a man with a mother and a sister and wife and a daughter, all of whom I adore; a man who thought he understood what decency looked like and was cherished—I don’t get it. 

Order John’s book, ‘A Bigger Table’ here.


436 thoughts on “Why Would Any Woman Support This President?

  1. It all comes down to religious indoctrination, fox new syndrome, low education, and living with misogynistic men (mainly those in their religion.) It’s not that hard to understand. When you surround yourself with people who are a**holes, blindly accept everything an infotainment news channel tells you and don’t fact check it, and follow the rules set for you by the men in your life, you’re going to fall prey to men like this. The thing that surprises me is that they believe that he was chosen by God, and that he’s a Christian. This man who uses the seven deadly sins as a playbook rather than a cautionary tale, and who regularly demeans people and divides us further apart is a christian?? I think you’re suffering from delusions.

    • Yes. I have several Trump supporting friends who post memes, videos and crap he’s said that has includes the words ‘God’, ‘prayer’, ‘Christian’, and this is given as proof of his chosenness and fidelity to religious principles.

      His documented misogynistic behavior is minimized by his supporters as though they are endearing imperfections. I do not get it.

    • Excellent point. I would add that we’ve all been raised in a patriarchal society, and we all have coping strategies and relationship skills that have been shaped by the patriarchal socio-cultural milieu within which we have been raised. This profoundly shapes our “gender roles,” or–at least– our perceived gender roles, as the author of this editorial inadvertently reveals. And, it is the confluence of hierarchy that rigidly reinforces the wounds we all suffer because of patriarchy.

  2. I don’t know why certain women support tRump despite his despicable behavior toward them, but one thought that comes to mind is this. Their men treat them the same way, and they think that is normal.

    • Its the old “boy code,” that we have not broken out of. Not all men are self realized or had positive female/masculine role models. That same “boy code,” is responsible for very young children being violently sexually molested–thus, internalizing that pain, assuming, somehow it was their fault. It becomes the fabric—mixed with poverty consciousness, and you have a recipe for repeating generational patterns. The boy code is familiar. Empowerment is not–for some. We don’t deserve anything better. Our place is not to question or resist… that would provoke violence, even death.

  3. I am with you John. I would venture to guess that it has to do with some sort of self loathing or feeling less than other women.. A woman that has developed a lack of trust of other women, They would rather think women that may have been successful in life have gotten their using their looks or their sexuality. This allows them to blame women that get sexually abused because it is their own actions that got them into it. I have heard many women say they just like men better, that they really do not like women. A very wise woman told me that women that prefer men usually are manipulative of men, they lack a certain honesty with themselves. They can bluff around other men, but the can not bluff or manipulate other women because women understand that manipulation and game. Therefore she is unable to form a close friendship with women and rather than feeling a part of all women they need to fight them. I would think they may be very lonely.

  4. It use to surprise me when I would find some of my women acquaintances that supported him. Everyone women I know that supports him are professing Christians. (which is shocking). I always wonder if they are following their husbands lead and don’t want to buck daddy. I can’t connect the dots.

  5. I have an acquaintance who supports Trumpf and her explanation is that ‘she’ would never have allowed herself to be victimized…her implication is that women are responsible for behavior directed at them. In terms of women’s health, she says that ‘she’ shouldn’t have to pay for services that ‘she’ doesn’t need. She says that ‘we’ always have choices so if we find ourselves victimized…whether male/female…it’s our own fault.

  6. I read an article somewhere that presented a hypothesis that made sense to me. Many of the women who support Trump, believe deep down in their bones that their well-being depends on a man. Thus they still choose to follow the men in their lives rather than trust themselves or any other women to lead. These women resent strong independent women as much as their men do. They also put more emphasis on their ability to lure and keep a man, their feminine wiles as it were, than on any other ability or strength. They will sneer and demean women who a are smart, strong, and independent, especially so if they are not also beautiful and sexy. Liberal women are often demeaned as “dogs” by conservative men and women alike.

  7. I can only guess, but I believe that they have somehow convinced themselves that all you have detailed here about his horrific treatment of and attitude toward women takes a second seat to their hope that he will help enact the legislation they believe is needed to save them from “the other”. To preserve their privilege. To protect them from a stronger fear they harbor of losing all they feel they are entitled to because they were born into what has been the majority in this country. The pie is finite, in their view, and their piece of it shrinks when anyone not like them does well. Somehow, in their minds, that poses a greater imminent danger that the threats to their gender. My experience tells me that it’s pretty much a hopeless cause to dialogue productively about this. I’m staying focused on energizing those who know the importance of changing the trajectory his being in power has put us on.

    • Exactly…I think you hit-the-nail-on-the-head…they are afraid they will lose some of their power.
      Fear, bigotry, hate, and control all fit into the origin of their beliefs and behaviors. They ARE comfortable, so in their eyes they think things are ‘JUST FINE’. They feel they ARE better. Privilege can be very ugly and often times does not foster strong character or broad, enlightened views…or generosity of the heart. They are also group-thinking like a ‘gang’ or a mob. They are followers with very little original thought. And after that said, they are ignorant! Sad thing is they don’t know it.

  8. Many of these women are doing well and believe Trump’s regime will guarantee their continued lifestyle. They are more interested in seeing that they and their kids maintain the same level of financial success that they believe they deserve. Not particularly deep thinkers and probably feel they contribute enough to society by way of taxes. I know women like this and have always wondered where they get the blinders they wear in order to ignore the rest of society.

    I very much appreciate the work you do.

  9. What the others have said plus he is a mean girl. Ever notice how in grade/middle/high school there was a least one head mean girl that led a bunch of others in bullying and ostracism of others? He’s an ugly Regina George, and they are all behind that.

  10. They are supporting the status quo in which they are not threatened. If Trump makes it hard for minorities, the poor, non-Christians and anyone else who lives across the tracks, they’re fine with that. Morally, they are repressed and docile. It’s all good.

  11. The most sensible explanation I’ve seen boils down to, “Vicarious privilege is better than no privilege at all.” In other words, take a lady sixty years old. She started working for $.59 on the white male dollar. FIFTY years after the Civil Rights Act made wage discrimination illegal she might be–possibly–earning $.80 on the white male dollar (if she’s white), after decades of seeing less qualified men being promoted past her, and being sexually harassed in the work place.
    Her health care is sabotaged by a medical profession that doesn’t take women’s pain seriously.
    Her security in old age is sabotaged by a system that never paid her fairly, provided no family leave, didn’t let her control the size of her family very effectively, and made her hit re-set on the corporate ladder every time she “took time off” to have a kid.
    She’s not safe, being among the one in three women who’ll be sexually assaulted in her life time. Maybe she’s not been assaulted YET, but that’s just a matter of a street light being out when she walks to her car on Friday.
    In other words, telling to her vote for equality, for women’s rights, is a big, fat insult. There is no basis in her experience (and not a lot in fact) for believing that pipe dream will EVER come true. All the “good guys” strutting around congratulating themselves because they would never grab a woman without permission, have done precious little to see that this old gal has the respect, security, and safety she’s supposed to believe some liberal politician can finally, finally make real. Those liberal politicians have had many, many chances to wave their magic wands, and we get statistics like police officers being charged with 400 rapes in the past 9 years (meaning about one every week, folks).
    So she’s dependent on her oppressors, she has been betrayed by those self-congratulatory good guys over and over, and she’s opting for a sure thing: as long as her menfolk retain some privilege, she’ll probably be OK. If they lose those privileges, then all she’s left with are the artifacts of oppression, because heaven knows, the good guys have NOT been able to legislate equality for her, or any other oppressed demographic.
    But don’t expect those good guys to understand her, because even the good guys are good privileged guys.
    These women are not crazy, but the system they’ve had to survive surely is.

    • Wow! Your response floored me. I read it, and then just sat, stunned. It rang true. Heart-wrenchingly true.
      How sad that I can’t think of any way to change or empower a woman in that space. I’m thankful I come from a family of strong women, often building matriartical families, or at the least standing as complete equals with the men in our lives.
      I’ve watched my step-family’s, and other’s, dynamics and have been baffled and disgusted, and angry at times, at the embraced powerlessness of the women, and the undeserved elevation (and arrogance and entitlement) of males simply because they male.
      I just didn’t ‘get it’. Now I do, thanks to your explanation. And I feel sick.

    • Patricia, I think you’ve got it right. Every word is true. The only thing o would add is that religion has a place in her acceptance of the situation: women are supposed to be subservient.

  12. I think this is a similar question to why women stay with abusive men in general. An interesting piece I read recently talked about a woman who stayed with a man who beat her up fairly regularly. She had grown up dealing with predatory men and being victimized by them. Though this man beat her, he did not allow anyone else to mistreat her. He threatened and assaulted others who tried. It didn’t matter that he did this only because he saw her as an extension of himself, that she was his property, or belonged to him. In her mind, she was choosing abuse she “knew” over dangers that were unknown. This rings bells with me for Trump women. They have accepted the leering, the groping, the disrespect, the condescension, as part of their existence. They understand it and they see Trump as another man who will protect them from the UNKNOWN dangers. The dangers that come with terrorism and “others” coming into their spaces. they have made a deal with the devil. And now the devil will own them.

  13. I would give a different thought than I’m seeing a lot of here.

    I don’t think it’s self-loathing/self-worth issues. I don’t think it’s about thinking of themselves as “less” in any way.

    I think it’s actually the opposite. They see themselves as “not those women, the women who deserve it because they…” got pregnant young or out of wedlock, didn’t get the same education, come from “nothing”, etc etc etc.

    These women don’t equate themselves with the women Donald Trump demeans bc they don’t see women as a group. They are “more” and so they are not who he is attacking, belittling, or taking from.

    When I read the Handmaiden’s Tale in the 90s I thought, “This would never happen. Women wouldn’t let it.”

    I know believe they would. Those of them who don’t count themselves among the every-woman. Those who see themselves as above them.

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  15. What makes me sad as a progressive, egalitarian, compassionate Christian woman is that the supporters of Trump are often not recognized as what they are. One sect of Christianity, primarily evangelicals. Episcopalians, Methodists, Presbyterians, and many other Mainline Christians are liberal progressives in general. And for goodness sakes, Jesus Christ himself was the biggest liberal Progressive of his day!

  16. Because they’re good Christians. Christians in every group, except African Americans and Hispanic Catholics, voted over 55 percent for Trump. Had only Christians voted, Trump would have won the popular vote easily. You are delusional. You want desperately to avoid the ugly history of Christian violence and oppression in “the Americas,” which has caused the deaths of millions of Natives and Africans. Give it up.

  17. Mr. Pavlovitz would greatly improve if he’d expand his knowledge of patriarchy as THE socio-cultural construct within which our species becomes socialized (tellingly, there are no matriarchies on this planet).

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