Very interesting article about an inconvenient truth that still haunts our political landscape. Last year 53% of white women voted for Trump; earlier this month in Virginia 51% of white women voted for Gillespie, the Republican candidate who ran a vicious race-baiting campaign for governor. Nine years ago Hillary Clinton herself engaged in race-baiting in her campaign against Obama, and 29% of those who voted for her in the primary voted for McCain over Obama that fall. My point is that the majority of white women in this country are not progressive and are susceptible to racist messaging. While they might prefer to have legal and easily accessible abortions, equal pay, paid family leave and stronger enforcement of laws against discrimination, harassment and rape, many of them would sooner do without these things than to be associated with the “women’s movement.” (And for that matter, many women who are proudly associated with the movement bristle at the suggestion that there needs to be special advocacy for racial issues within its agenda.)
As a result it seems absurd to even speak of a women’s movement. There is no reason to expect that an entire gender should be considered a monolithic political force. There is certainly no reason to expect that a woman would necessarily be a better advocate for “women’s issues” than a man simply because of her sex. (Senators Joni Ernst, Deb Fischer, and Shelley Moore Capito have Planned Parenthood Action Fund scores of 0%, while there are many male senators currently serving with scores of 100%.) And yet the quixotic idea that women need to or can be “united” stubbornly persists.
It certainly doesn’t persist among women of color. There were many reports of racial tension surrounding the Women’s March last January. The voting statistics are certainly not analogous (91% of Virginia’s black women voted for Northam.) And look how quickly the white-women establishment of the DNC threw Donna Brazile under the bus when she dared to voice an independent opinion she earned the right to have after decades of loyal service to the Democratic Party.
If Senator Felton were alive today, harboring the exact same views, there would be many women who would characterize her as a feminist and welcome her into the “movement”. It’s not far-fetched to predict that, when we finally elect our first woman president, she will follow in Felton’s ideological footsteps.