The New York Times article "White Women Helped Elect Donald Trump," states that "more than half of the white women who voted in the presidential election cast their ballot for Donald J. Trump" according to exit poll data they collected. Most of these women did not have college degrees.
Anne Peterson of Buzzfeed called these women who secretly voted for Trump "The Ivanka Voters." This woman is "not in the photos of Trump rallies. She doesn’t have his sign on her lawn. She doesn’t like everything he says. But she’s voting for him." She has highlights, nice jeans, and shops at Nordstroms, Macy's, or Marshall's, Peterson continued. She might be your Aunt.
It's easy to spot the outward Trump supporter. She calls herself a Trumpette. She's wearing a "Make America Great Again" hat. Her Twitter avatar is probably an egg, she might be getting in a fight with you, and she's outspokenly attracted (and uninformed) about Trump's power and prestige. But it's more than these women who voted for Trump, apparently a lot of women (not me, I swear) did. But why? Writer Hannah Giorgis tweeted, "white women love proximity to white men's power." We're socialized to believe that it is the truth, and intrinsically fear straying from that. For them-- Trump is daddy.
But can evolutionary psychology also explain why women ended up voting for Trump?
Hot take: Trump is bad
There are no ifs, ands, or butts around this: Donald Trump disrespects women. You can read about his very real comments here. This "sexism tracker" by The Telegraph alleges to have every offensive comment he's said in one place, as if that's even possible. To name a few-- he fat shamed a Miss America contestant and said it's okay to grab women by the pussy. He also wants to punish women who get abortions, has rape allegations against him, blah blah blah, there's too much to mention. Apparently, more than half of white women who voted in this election turned a blind eye to this.
Why? Here is the thing about Donald Trump: it's not even like he is good looking. Even when the website Above Average tried to photoshop him to look as hot as possible, he ended up looking like Donald Trump wearing a Benedict Cumberbatch coat. He has small hands. His skin looks like mine that time I got a Groupon pack for spray tanning and used them all in one day. His hair doesn't need to be mentioned.
He has filed for business bankruptcy 6 times.
But clearly-- something is working for him in the female department. He has been married to three verified babes: Marla Maples, Ivana Trump (loved you in First Wives Club!), and now, our First Lady, Melania (lol.) He's also dated a slew of models, not to mention allegedly sexually harassed others.
A profile of Trump in The New York Times (1976) describes him as such:
"He is tall, lean and blond, with dazzling white teeth, and he looks ever so much like Robert Redford. He rides around town in a chauffeured silver Cadillac with his initials, DJT, on the plates. He dates slinky fashion models, belongs to the most elegant clubs and, at only 30 years of age, estimates that he is worth “more than $200 million.”
It's like a magic trick: we miss the slight of hand (the racism, misogyny) because we are distracted by the bright shiny object-- a new hotel, an unsubstantiated promise, a hot, poised daughter.
But why are women, white women, white women without college credentials, falling for Trump-- when in reality, he is their greatest enemy?
The Dark Triad
It's called the Dark Triad, and it's how someone like Trump, who is dislikeable in both personality and looks, ends up succeeding in life.
The personality traits associated with the Dark Triad include Narcissism, Psychopathy, and Machiavellianism-- and together, they might create the allure of "the bad boy."
The hallmarks of narcissism include dominance, a sense of entitlement, and a grandiose self-view.
Psychopathy is comprised of callousness, a lack of empathy, and antisocial, erratic behavior.
Machiavellianism is comprised of duplicity, insincerity and extraversion. The manipulative, coercive, and opportunistic ways of these individuals are also advantageous in short-term mating; studies do reveal that Machiavellians have been found to be more promiscuous.
Trump exhibits all of these qualities, most of them in spades. Dominance, entitlement, grandiosity: check. Lack of empathy and erratic behavior- yep. Duplicity, manipulative, opportunistic? Promiscuity? Absolutely.
These qualities are definitely terrifying in a world leader, and they were also terrifying in your college ex boyfriend- the one you desperately wanted to like you. The one who had no respect for your time and would show up whenever he wanted to (entitlement/erratic behavior.) The one who said he cared, but then would disappear for days at a time (duplicity/insincerity.) The one who thought he was the shit, but was actually failing all of his classes, and would have to borrow money from you to get a burrito.
Liking men who are bad for us is nothing new. For some reason we seem to turn a blind eye to red flags, we have a sick belief that we can change people, and when a man tells us that they are capable of doing something-- since we live in a man's world where men are deemed inherently trustworthy-- we believe them.
When a man, however seemingly incompetent, tells us that he is capable, and then tells us we have a problem, and then tells us he knows how to fix it, we somehow fall lovingly into his arms.
WHAT'S WRONG WITH US?!
We are predisposed to like bad guys
Dr. Neave, an Evolutionary Psychologist, explains that the female attraction to dominant males goes back to the Stone Age. "If a woman had a relationship with a socially dominant male, she would immediately get greater access to resources because her social standing would be elevated, too." So while science isn't exactly saying we're biologically adapted to gold dig, it's also not NOT saying that. This brand of psychology does suggest that women do seek the comfort of men who culturally have high standing. We have a biological urge to procreate and protect our young- and we view socially dominant males as ideal protectors.
Trump uses his Dark Triad personality type to portray himself as a biologically successful dominant male, and thus-- potentially--women are attracted to that.
It doesn't end there.
Bustle reports that, "According to a study published in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology in 2014, ovulation hormones lead women to view "sexier," more "alpha" men as better potential mates and fathers than their less sexy, but obviously more dependable, counterparts."
Those exhibiting the Dark Triad personality type are often seen as "alpha" due to their grandiose self-view. Additionally, the callousness and sense of entitlement can lead to increased risk taking, which is also seen as both a "sexy" and "alpha" quality-- especially to women who are ovulating, apparently-- you sickos.
Evolutionarily, we want to impress this alpha male, lock him down, make him ours-- at any cost. Even, say, if it harms other women. Among several other issues (institutionalized racism), it appears that women, particularly white women, still want to please men, and have a greater fear of displeasing them. Hence, out of fear or maybe survival instinct, we (not me!!!!) do crazy things like vote Trump.
We need to get over that fast.
What do we do
Under the Trump/Pence Administration, women's rights (and especially the rights of PoC, and those in the LGBTQ community, among others) are fated to change drastically. Paul Ryan seeks to overturn the Affordable Care Act and defund Planned Parenthood, Republicans want to ban abortion, the education system is in danger, our climate-- the list goes on and on.
Isn't it about time we show that bad boy who's actually boss for good?
What can you do to help?
Well, you can donate to Planned Parenthood. You can take part in one of the Women's Marches happening Saturday, January 21st, all around the country and the world. You can also donate to Emily's List, which helps get pro-choice Democratic women elected to office. You can also donate to the American Civil Liberties Union.
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