An Open Letter to Women Who Voted for Trump

Dear women who voted for Trump and have nothing good to say about the Women’s Marches across the world,

I hope you take the time to read this because just days ago I didn’t have the energy to write it. I was completely spent from years of educating others as a queer Latina feminist scholar and activist, not wanting to build bridges between women who voted against themselves, tired of speaking with those who willfully refuse to listen. But then, I marched. After, I went home and watched millions of people march in bright pink pussyhats and went to bed energized and ready to keep doing the work.

When I woke up the next morning, I read some comments on various social media platforms that left me with one question for you: What do you get out of tearing down other women? Pause on that for a second.

Men who hate women love when you do this because you make easy work of their continued domination (another form of unpaid labor). And even though you don’t recognize it or want it, we did/do represent you because we represent/ed *all* women’s rights…whether the most radical of us like it or not that includes straight, white, Republican, conservative, cisgender women’s rights. We fight for your autonomy, your integrity, and your liberation even though (and maybe especially when) you don’t feel that it is needed. We’ve got your back and all we ask is that you reconsider stabbing us in ours.

If you’ve been sexually harassed at work (1 in 3 of you), we got you; If you’ve needed a free breast cancer screening (360k per year at Planned Parenthood), we got you; if you’re a survivor of sexual assault (one every 98 seconds) or intimate partner violence (1 in 3 of you), we got you; if you’ve been paid a percentage of your male peers (anywhere from 50-80%), we got you. We don’t have to be friends for us to do this work on your behalf (hence the exhaustion I referred to at the start of this letter). In fact, you benefit most from our fight because you’re closer to privilege than we’ve ever been.

You don’t have to identify as a victim to recognize your victimization. You don’t have to be public about your victimization, but what you should consider is how you re-victimize millions of girls and women when you deny theirs.

Believe this: when you claim that we are crazy, stupid, overly emotional, and overly sensitive to distance yourself from us, you bolster misogynistic stereotypes that are then applied to you. No matter how you try to distinguish yourselves, you will continue to be categorized as sexual objects and second-class citizens only useful for reproduction.

Because we understand the toll heterosexist white supremacist patriarchal oppression takes, we recognize that being “woke” is an emotional commitment many of you reject. So you don’t want to fight for your own freedoms…fine. But please, if you’re not going to join us or build us up the least you can do is refrain from tearing us down.

In solidarity,
Jessica

128 comments

  1. I’m choosing to honor the wisdom of Joseph Cambell, who advised: “Participate joyfully in the sorrows of the world. ”

    This international coming together of so many inspires me to that, whereas prior to I felt depressed, isolated, hopeless– anything but joyful. Profound gratitude & appreciation to everyone who raises a voice against any and all assaults on universal human rights.

  2. Thank you Jessica. I’m a late 60’s white male who has been on board with women’s issues since my mother, college educated during the depression, raised me until she passed away when I was 10. I was then nurtured by 2 older sisters and a shared life with 2 younger sisters. Yes I’m a 60 something white male who is going be elated to watch women and minorities play a major role in taking Trump down. God (any of your choosing if you worship one) bless you and all of them.

    • Love your letter & your comments. i am a 70 yr. old woman who cannot get out & walk but I damn sure appreciated every single one of you who did. The response from women all across the country & the world was absolutely astonishing and wonderful to see.
      You are so right in your assessment and I have read a few comments by people whose thinking was running in the wrong direction. I always feel it’s a bad thing when one group opposes another’s attempts for recognition & equality. Good going & keep up the good work.

  3. Thank you, Jessica. I am having a hard time explaining to some of my family members about what I am trying to accomplish and why I marched. Your blog says it all for me. Thank you!

  4. the problems with great stuff like this is that the women who voted for Trump, heck the men who voted for Trump, are not reading it. All during the election I saw great anti Trump stuff, but we were all preaching to the converted. The challenge is the converting part. How do we reach those who have been tricked into believing that he would be there savior, those who indeed will become his victims. If we can figure out a way to do this, then we can make progress. Otherwise, I fear out efforts are for naught.

    • I agree. Women who vote for this facist do not read, do not know about the world. They are women who are not aware of progress and who do not think outside of their small little lives where perhaps they want a job, don’t want to live with people from other countries and don’t want people sneaking into the great country of America where over 400 000 000 people live in poverty. And they don’t want to know that after four years, they will have much less than they have today.

  5. This warmed my soul! As a marcher that woke up Sunday morning to the flood of anger and hatred toward us from women, I was angry, disappointed and saddened. I was shell-shocked at the way women tore down and took stabs at other women. Aren’t we suppose to lift one another up, even if we disagree? Your words said what I could not articulate, so thank you!

  6. Don’t forget…Women didn’t only march in support of women in the USA…They also marched for the same cause in lots of other countries and cities within those countries.

  7. Thank you for saying what I couldn’t find the right words to. I too am exhausted by how demoralized those of us who choose to stand up for what’s wrong are taunted.
    So yes as women let’s stand together.

  8. YES! Also, I would like to echo the comments re: who we were marching for in D.C. I was not just marching for women, or for white women like me – I was marching for my brown husband, for my friends who are people of color or from different countries, I was marching for my friends in the UK still in mourning over Brexit, I was marching for my friends of all backgrounds who will lose their health care under this administration. Thanks for your wise words, and let’s keep the pressure on!

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