Why did white women vote for Trump?

Women are still encouraged to oppress themselves.

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This is what self-oppression looks like.

Since the Election of Doom prominent liberals have expressed shock and dismay at the 53% of white women who voted for Trump. Tina Fey sort of joked, “A lot of this election was turned by white, college-educated women who now would like to forget about this election and go back to watching HGTV.” Samantha Bee told white women they “have a lot of karma to work off.” And Lena Dunham lib-splained on The View that white women are “not only voting against the interests of their sisters, of women who may not look like them, who they may not understand, but whose rights are just as important,” but also “voting against their own best interest.”

And they’re totally right, even about HGTV.  The nesting instinct is strong in them.

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When some of the ladies pushed back at Lena’s scolding she, to her credit, said:

“So many women aren’t raised with the rhetoric of self-empowerment. The messages they’re hearing from Donald Trump may be similar to the messages they’ve heard from their fathers, their brothers, their husbands. They haven’t been given the message that they do matter.”

Absolutely. Lena can be a bit artless, but her aim is true.

I live in the Deep Dirty South. Southeast Tennessee, an hour and 45 minutes drive north of Atlanta. One of my friends lives next door to snake handlers and it only takes 50 minutes to drive to my house in the burbs. Suburbs that are getting increasingly poorer and filled with people who are overworked, bullied and getting an average of $9 or $10 an hour.

There are no services here. No affordable daycare, no good mental health services or treatment centers for drug abuse, which is rife. There’s not an abortion provider within a 200 mile radius of where I live and schools still teach the oppressive lessons of abstinence-only education. Churches are everywhere, but not very accepting of people’s differences and struggles at all. Medicaid wasn’t expanded here and I fall in the gap since I have decided not to have children. Only mothers get help- and not much of it. The courts fight hard to not give people any type of disability or financial support when they need it. It’s an $8/hour town and everyone serves the tourists and gentrifiers. A trace of weed will put you in one of the worst private jails in the country.

 

This is why it’s so interesting for me to watch the rest of the country collectively plotz over losing rights I’ve never known! It’s all academic to me. Planned Parenthood might get defunded? I’ve never even seen one! Free women’s health services are scarce and/or underground here. All the “clinics” are propaganda studios set up to look like helpful people. They aren’t. We have a lot of Catholic-run hospitals too.

Lots of pundits immediately took a strongly worded stance against the working-class poor who supposedly ushered him into office. No one was surprised to see certain types of men in certain states vote for a human molotov cocktail, but coastal feminists seemed deeply shocked that educated (and not particularly poor) white women sold themselves out so enthusiastically.

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I am Jack’s complete lack of surprise.

I remained extremely, delusionally hopeful that Hillary, as much as I dreaded HER=>, was in the lead. I even felt a strangely nice, proud, floaty feeling for about five hours and went to see my mom and tell her I just voted for the first woman president – in America, that is. I felt the relief that many of us did after we cast our fateful votes in November.

BUT . . .

I was born and raised in the South and, as Dave Chappelle says, “I know the whites!” For instance:

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At least they give each other orgasms down here.

I don’t actually know if Mount Pleasant is in the South, but that pretty much sums up the attitude people take towards those who, “don’t live their lives the right way.” I live next door to two old farts who are “one issue voters,” namely, the abortion issue. They also hate gays with a fiery vehemence that can quickly sour the meals my family occasionally invites them to. These are people who strictly limit the amount of time their grandchildren can visit – to almost never. It’s great fun.

And they sure as hell ain’t poor. But I have a feeling that these radical views are mostly the wife’s thing. Projected shame is still a sport for many bitter women.

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This woman would get more votes.

In a nutshell, women down in America’s steamy under-carriage haven’t been woke yet, and are still unable to see the conventions that bind them. It’s no guarantee that every woman who even goes to college will “encounter” the right reading material or social awareness groups.

More insidiously, there persists a culture of religious sexual shaming coupled with highly sexualized media. Women are still under-represented in positions of power and are socialized to compete with perceived scarce resources among themselves. Gender expectations remain very binary in red states. Only two years ago I still thought of myself as only competent enough to do secretary-like work.

When oppressed women (who don’t know they’re oppressed) see a woman like Hillary Clinton who “thinks she’s all that” while genuinely being a deeply flawed candidate “get above herself” they will balk and gladly vote for a buffoon who only reflects the same sexist attitudes the men they love possess. Add in all the years of Fox News explaining how Hillary is the worst human female to ever stride about in public discourse, and you’ve got a bunch of women who are going to vote along with their husbands for Trump despite any “locker room talk.”

The more misinformed you are, the more likely you are to be unable to see the various types of discrimination that affect you personally.

While I have not been able to find any  numbers on the percentage of single (or divorced, widowed, or gay) women who voted for Trump over Hillary, most post-election articles site these stats:

 

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The differences in education are important and clear, but what they indicate under the surface, where most female oppression takes place, is that education is important for women to have so they can “have their consciousnesses raised” as our Boomer feminist forebears would say. A lack of education in a woman’s life leads to increased financial dependence on traditional gender roles. In other words, the less educated you are, the more likely you are to be unable to see the various types of discrimination that affect you personally. (It’s interesting to note that more non-educated black women voted for Clinton than educated black women.)

Rather than blaming less educated, older, and married women for putting Trump in office, we need to publicly acknowledge that women are intimately oppressed in America to a degree that drastically affects our elections as well as other American institutions.

The Other Shoe Just Dropped

The 21st century just got realer.

I minored in history while at college in the late 90s/early 00s. I had an amazing American history professor who brought it alive with passion and sarcasm. He made us read Horatio Alger and Alvin Toffler’s Future Shock. It was a pre-Bush, pre-9/11 different time when music was angsty, but life was not (in hindsight). But I remember something he said then that I balked at initially – he made a point of telling us that the Internet would change the world in ways we couldn’t possibly imagine happening.

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Not with all the monkeys and typewriters in the universe.

This was not long after the time AOL took off and everyone had to wait for hours to dial-up their connection. I couldn’t imagine how something that putted along at that bandwidth could cause the kinds of changes – and realizations about ourselves – that he warned us about.

I thought he was being an old ninny, but I was a real asshole then.

The world didn’t end at the millennium and the computers didn’t take over or die. Then when I was in grad school 9/11 happened. An understandable sense of doom and newfound vulnerability swept over people old enough to grow up afraid of nuclear winters. Then unending wars, Hurricane Katrina, economic collapse, and totally stagnant wages. Me and the local wags who sit outside coffee shops thought every new catastrophe was “the other shoe dropping” after the towers came down.

We were wrong every time. The real other shoe just dropped and it has steel toes and swastikas.

The extremeness of 9/11 should’ve tipped us off that the 21st century is a whole other bowl of nuts. My favorite period in history is the 20th century. You’ve got to admit as wild as all of history is, the 20th century was super awful and super exciting. Two major reasons – technology and genocide. The entire paradigm of our scientific view shifted and we started waging massive wars against civilian populations. We created more moonscapes than we explored.

As for the 21st century, such as it now is, I don’t know what the hell the major themes will be but I suspect we are genuinely in a pickle here. Looking out my window right now the street is hazed with choking smoke from the forest fires raging near my home in Tennessee. The Tennessee Valley hasn’t had a drop of rain in months and fires lit shortly after Halloween are making the air barely breathable.

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And everyone around me voted for a tangerine primal scream. 

 

 

 

The vital missing parts of drug treatment

via Obama Administration Offers Desperately Needed Help For People Addicted To Opioids

When I grew up in the 80s, drugs were no less than a demon scourge come to take your soul away if you so much as got a contact high. Nancy Reagan went a long way to make a lot of people really miserable. But the guiding philosophy on drug abuse was that it’s  up to you to kick it’s ass – anything less than total sobriety is a moral failure on your part. You didn’t try hard enough. The AA Big Book famously states

“Our description of the alcoholic . . . makes clear three pertinent ideas. . . (b) That probably no human power could have relieved our alcoholism.”

-AA Big Book, pg. 60 (right after the 12 steps)

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It also has one chapter called “Women Suffer Too”

It goes on to say that the only way to recover from alcohol addiction is through a spiritual awakening. Presumably, you come to realize you are a terrible sinner and it magically cures toxic shame, trauma, and mental illness. But heroin is the end boss of addictions. It directly rewires the reward centers of the brain and can condition a sufferer’s mind to obsess over everything about the habit (including the gross parts). It turns lovely, brilliant people into cringing thieves, serial liars, and corpses. I’ve seen it first hand and I’ve had terrible run-ins with opiate addicts. Never, ever take one in out of pity if you value your valuables.

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You can buy them back cheap though.

I’ve also been to court ordered rehab myself. I was there for booze issues, and I know I didn’t envy all the women who came in addicted to needles and pills. They were quickly put on suboxone and just as quickly weaned off of it. They seemed fine, but most relapsed when returned to the compromising living situations they wanted to escape.

Obama is trying to get money to states for MAT, or medically assisted treatment, for opiate addicts. Almost all treatment facilities use faith-based methods and 12-step principles (which are also faith-based). However, there is zero evidence that these programs are any more effective than trying to quit on your own. Medication is changing the way heroin addicts are treated though. Suboxone is a maintenance opiate that prevents dope-sickness and can be controlled to wean the brain off of the changes in dopamine production that make getting clean so vexing and, frequently, otherwise impossible.

And there were a lot of sufferers, especially among the women I encountered. In fact there was a triad of opiates, alcohol, and eating disorders I kept noticing. All of us had problems with at least two. I’m sure it bears better investigation. Anyway, I’ve been sober for three years and dealing with the criminal justice system and state rehab was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Staying sober has been a breeze, by comparison.

A female addict’s real problems are seldom addressed.

One class we had in rehab was a revelation to me. It was oddly called “gender,” just “gender” class and it means the men and the women (insultingly labeled by staff as males and females like we are on in a Mutual of Omaha special and not adult humans) were split up to discuss our unique issues. I figured out it was especially important for the ladies to go into a safe place to discuss aspects of our addictions, and what they’d done to us and made us do, that we would hardly bring up in court-ordered mixed company. Once the floodgates open in a counseling environment where problems related to relationships with men, LBTQ struggles, and our difficulties in society can be explored, it is apparent that any one of us would naturally turn to chemical solutions to deal with what we had survived. Experiences such as domestic violence, sexual abuse in childhood and adulthood, work discrimination, heart-breaking childcare challenges, the effects of rape and rape culture, neglect, financial morasses, and our submerged status start to tumble out.

By the end of the short class (which usually went on long after the men were done) I knew that more of this type of consciousness raising was absolutely a seldom-used tool for getting to the underlying trauma and powerlessness that leads women (and many men) to relapse. A female addict’s real problems are seldom addressed. 12-step programs focus overly on how relapse and the initial drug experimentation that led to addiction are our fault. It is clear that most of these women were not receiving the kind of educational awakening and support services that would profoundly improve their chances of staying clean and avoiding more contact with the criminal justice system.

The focus typical of modern treatment programs is on “triggers” and how to deal with them. But quickly one realizes in the program that life is a trigger and the majority of women there will not be able to escape the “people, places, and things” that remind them of using. What they really couldn’t escape were the life circumstances that led to addiction in the first place. They would be returning their small towns with no employment opportunities or community centers, their abusive domestic situations, their untreated (unacknowledged) traumas, their grief over the custodial loss of their children, and their very poor financial prospects.

I hope that we can come to see addiction and relapse also as failings of society. I hope we can change treatment to include medications for addiction maintenance and mental health problems. I hope we can tell women that life isn’t always hard because they are failures. It’s because life is hard for a lot of women and not enough, not nearly enough, is being done to improve their circumstances.

Moon Unit: Missouri House Passes a New Abortion Bill

via Missouri’s racist rape trolls: State GOP introduces horrendous anti-choice bill — complete with an unforgivable affront to rape victims – Salon.com

It seems like every time I check out the news (admittedly less lately), there’s a new bill having to do with legislating people’s private lives and parts. All while doing less than nothing about sexual and racial violence, in favor of proposed and often passed state legislation which encourages violence and oppression.

Missouri doesn’t sound like “misery” for nothing. Aside from being the place that sparked the Civil War, the state has recently been torn apart by systemic racial violence on the part of the police, anti-choice policies and attitudes, as well as the proposed “bathroom bills” sweeping certain states. As if we just discovered that trans people exist and excrete waste just like every other organism. [Note: They’ve already been using your bathrooms all this time and you probably didn’t notice!]

 

The man at the center of Missouri’s proposed bill is Mike Moon. A Flanders if ever there was one. His efforts to define a fetus, indeed even un-implanted zygotes, as people having “a natural right to life, liberty, the pursuit of happiness and the enjoyment of the gains of their own industry” is redundant.

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This expert on female problems.

Missouri already passed similar legislation in the past only with the caveat that the existence of that pesky Roe v. Wade decision can override it. The new bill attempts to overturn the federal court decision on the state level by excluding it from the bill’s language. Like a similar bill passed in Oklahoma a few years ago, it will likely be struck down in the next stage as unconstitutional. At least I hope so.

However, Missouri is left with a single clinic which can perform abortions, and this legislation, if passed, would do away with that one and also restrict Plan B and certain contraceptives that prevent a zygote from implanting. Because zygotes have the right to enjoy the profits of their “industry.” The only work a zygote does is replicate DNA and float around. It is not sentient and cannot feel pain like a full term post-pubescent woman does. Medically, an egg may be fertilized, but can fail to implant and be passed out in the woman or child’s next cycle.

Speaking of pregnant children, a law did just pass to require minors to get written permission from both parents before the mandatory 72-hour waiting period begins. In reality, where these people do not live, a girl’s home situation can be volatile and there are far too many cases where perhaps a parent or relative is the father. There is no provision for rape or incest. Or the risks of childbirth to girls. Or the dire mental health problems that she would suffer. This should be called “forced pregnancy.” If “pro-lifer’s” can conflate a medical procedure with murder, why don’t take back the language and call these bills “reproduction control.”

To pile insults on the most people possible, Moon named his bill the “All Lives Matter” bill. Yikes. Yeah, all lives do matter. But can we agree that the life of a woman or child already among us is more important than a microscopic cell cluster? Is a possible life more important than a well-established sovereign, fully-developed person? Apparently so.

For more outrage, read what a typical anti-choice site has to say about it. In that article, Moon is quoted saying, “The silence of those who want to protect the unborn is similar to the silence of Germans who stood by and allowed Jewish people to be slaughtered by the Nazis.” Way to inflame the rhetoric, douche-nozzel.

Jesus, hear my prayer and protect us from your followers. Amen.

 

 

 

Women of the Day: Cristina Garcia & Ling Ling Chang

via ‘I’m Tired Of Being Taxed For Being A Woman’

Actually, I should say California Assemblywomen Cristina Garcia and Ling Ling Chang. They are the united (and delightfully multi-ethnic) front in bringing attention to basic female needs which have certain outdated barriers to accessing them. Uh . . .that pretty much sums up a whole lot of things that have to do with women’s bodies. But access to pads, tampons, and the newer (and awesome) cups is not a given for a startlingly large number of women you may never think about. These wonderful ladies did think about them.

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Families and women in poverty have to make some rough choices. The women in the household have to use hygiene products as long as possible to conserve them. This leads to leaks, odors, and infections. That is even if they can afford them in the first place. Homeless women resort to newspaper and random absorbent materials which are not effective or clean. I have been in several drug stores and seen opened boxes of feminine products. Maybe someone had an emergency and no money, but probably the implication is sadder. (I’ve also seen opened and empty pregnancy tests. Did I mention my town has no low-cost women’s services?)

Schoolgirls have a wicked embarrassing time getting to the bathroom when they need to. If their teachers let them leave class with no explanation (and what pubescent girl is going to announce to the class that she needs to change a leaky pad?), the machines in the bathrooms require money. (In my time as a student teacher in an inner-city middle and high school, we were cautious about letting kids go to the bathroom too much for some understandable reasons. Yet most of the requests, to my memory, came from the fidgety boys who were sick to death of class.) Or girls have to go to the school nurse which is stressful and mortifying to many of them.

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I’ll let this bear demonstrate how that feels when you’re twelve.

The part about an actual tax on tampons, whereas items of medical necessity are not taxed, was news to me. I never even knew that was how things were set up! So menstrual products are taxed as luxury items in 40 states. How much do you wanna bet that a man set up that distinction? As women know, your period (and it’s subsequent absence) is a lifelong responsibility, and in our stilted culture it is viewed as a horrifying and abnormal condition. We already have terribly mixed emotions about our bodies since men and media put so much emphasis on us as objects. I won’t even go into the fact that men discredit women all the time because “she was on her period.”

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How dare her body do something that turns me off!

This bill is a beginning to legitimizing our personal needs and allowing women to have more dignity. It would be foolish to assume that every state is going to adopt and pass this kind of legislation. Other states (especially the red ones) are, as I type, in the midst of a backlash against all the renewed pushes for women’s health rights. Few legislators are women, and frequently they are not the helpful kind.

Ways You Can Help!

  1. Write letters ladies!!! To your state lawmakers! School teachers – tell about classroom incidents. Women’s health providers – provide evidence of the infections underserved women and girls get. Be heard and make them accountable for female dignity!
  2. Contact the nurse’s office at your child’s school and ask if they provide free products where girls don’t have to ask for them. If they don’t, complain about it in PTA meetings!
  3. Most importantly, donate good pads and tampons to local shelters, jails, and schools!

Woman of the Day: Olivia Benson

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The unthinkable happens and a bad man harms you. Never fear, Olivia’s here. If you live in New York, that is. Before you know it, a tall woman with the doe eyes of a movie star will tell you, unequivocally, that none of this was your fault and we are going after him like Leo goes after the Oscar. {Congrats Leo; you should’ve won for Gilbert Grape.} Your case will receive the utmost priority and Olivia will be at your beck and call with soothing sympathy and big-sister hugs. God, I love her. I wish Special Victims Units were a real thing that actually existed. I wish the process was as fast as a 42 minute show. I wish all dangerous people were prosecuted and put away the first time they are charged with a terrible crime.

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I think my monkey’s paw is defective.

But Olivia Benson is actually Mariska Hargitay. She’s an actress on a TV show. An awesome actress, but not a person you will ever see at the worst time of your life. Some grizzled cop with a drinking problem will take down your story and then ask a bunch of questions about drugs and alcohol. What were you doing out late, partying? Do you have a boyfriend? Why didn’t you fight him? Are you sure those marks weren’t self-inflicted? Huh? Why did you say goodbye after it was over if it wasn’t consensual? Why did you decide to go to work before you went to the police? Why aren’t you standing in the rain screaming at the cruel heavens?

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Simmer down, Leo!

And, for the most part, those guys will get away, go about their business, and never even see the inside of a jail or courtroom. Mostly because women (and men) know the cops won’t be sympathetic, or won’t believe you, or will actively protect the interests of the accused instead of the traumatized. Mostly because it’s hard to face the justice system and risk being torn apart again. Olivia Benson and the attractive, yet flawed warriors of SVU are a collective wish fulfilled. Much like Aaron Sorkin’s The West Wing, SVU is a palliative that has reached many, many people, to assure us that sanity rules in these areas of life when the reality is far messier, discouraging.

In fact, Mariska tells of the shock she got when she began receiving direct letters from people who have seen the show. “I remember my breath going out of me when the first letter came, and I’ve gotten thousands like it since then. That these individuals would reveal something so intensely personal—often for the very first time—to someone they knew only as a character on television demonstrated to me how desperate they were to be heard, believed, supported, and healed,” says she on her site for the Joyful Heart Foundation.

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Providing spa retreats for rape counselors since 2004.

That’s what happens when you are the only show on TV that spotlights victims of exploitative and sexual crimes. No lie, victims don’t know where to go. In my city we have one state-sponsored rape crisis center that is very hard to find or call.  No Planned Parenthood and the nearest clinic to get any kind of abortion or free birth control is hundreds of miles away in every direction. The police are known to be sexually abusive to women. Not many rapes go to trial here, but they happen here a lot. Scores of exploited women go to jail, but the Johns and pimps don’t have any consequences.

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Not an empowered career choice.

So what do you do? You reach out to who you do see talking about a problem you have. Olivia Benson is a bit pushy sometimes, but she’s always understanding and patient. Cops are just pushy and usually male. Olivia is empowered to sling a rape kit right to a sympathetic ME for fast results. She can bully a perp into confession without so much as a request for a lawyer. She has no pesky paperwork to grind through. She can be on call all the time (before baby Noah came into there life, that is). No lawyers or obtuse officers succeed in stopping SVU from getting to the bottom of the truth.

Thanks for your years of service Olivia Benson.

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