How can women like Donald Trump

Why have women voted Donald again?

According to initial data, Donald Trump's campaign scored points with minorities and white women of all places. Overall, the decline among male voters compared to the last election was more pronounced than among women. Many people are therefore again irritated about the relationship between women and Trump. After all, he had not only bragged publicly about sexual attacks, but also received a large number of corresponding lawsuits.

For example, the SPD politician Ralf Stegner said on the evening of election day on Markus Lanz's broadcast that one wonders "that women can even vote for him." According to Edison Research, there was an increase of around six percent among white women with a university degree, while Trump lost one percentage point among white women without a degree. For white men, on the other hand, academic education was a factor in turning away from Trump.

Stegner's reaction is exemplary of a widespread misunderstanding about the nature of sexual and gender violence. It says that a woman who experiences this form of violence should turn against the perpetrators, against patriarchal violence, and even against men in general. We tend to translate our response to other forms of violence into this specific form: if someone slaps us in the face or is robbed, we react with anger. After all, our negative feelings enable us to resist, for example. We could then fight back or pursue and hold a thief, acting in a way that we normally do not do to our fellow human beings. Only these negative feelings, the turning away from someone, enable an appropriate reaction.

But the widespread, specifically gendered violence against women works differently. Be it sexual harassment or distress, misogynistic jokes or violence against partners * such as beatings or rape: They usually generate the opposite reaction to that we are used to from the examples above. It is not anger, physical resistance, contempt or flight with which many women react to this form of violence. It's loyalty.

This counterintuitive reaction makes sense in terms of victim psychology: it protects against mental breakdown, separation and divorce and the feeling of endless powerlessness. Affected people tend to blame themselves for what happened, if they even take notice of it. Because whoever is guilty was powerful: The feeling of guilt is a survival strategy with which power is simulated where the insight into powerlessness would be appropriate. If you feel guilty, you will endeavor to redeem the guilt. One begins to withdraw from oneself, to value the interests of the violent person more highly or to take measures to avoid a repetition of the bad experience: one conforms, flatters the perpetrator, makes one's worldview one's own. You protect yourself through loyalty - men do that too.

This mechanism can also be used for an analysis of patriarchal societies. Anyone who approves of Trump despite his contempt for women negates their own threat of contempt for women, i.e. the danger of being made the object of male interests. It is a mixture of consent to objectification and its denial, through which women and voters can assure themselves of their own subjectivity and their own power. Women who aspire to the top are even more exposed to this pressure to adapt. They demonstratively take the side of the guardians of the rules of the game in the unequal gender ratio. Finally, they want to secure the bronze medal.

By the way: If you understand this mechanism, you should look again at studies on the extent to which women are affected by violence. They are based on self-assessment.

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