It is a simple matter of what you will do when the chips are down, my friend.
As the world has been glued to their screens to gasp at the reality show called ‘the Aftermath of the US Elections’, notes have been taken on the Ol’ Continent. Some European leaders have started flexing their rule of law-mocking dictatorial muscles, no doubt feeling empowered by the antics across the Atlantic the past four years.
I am absolutely sure that there have been female sociopath leaders in the history of humanity, but at the moment the vast majority tend to be democratically elected men. Emphasis on democratically elected, risen to power with a considerable support of women. It puzzles me why so many women take the conscious decision to vote against their self-interests. It’s not that there isn’t always some other possibilities – in most free elections there are number of candidates to choose from.
Much has been written about the 55% of white American women who still, after four years, decided to support the incumbent president. Even as the US elections will always dominate the global media market that makes us believe it’s the only game in town, similar trend in Europe is starting to show its devastating consequences. Look at Poland. See what’s going on in Hungary, or in Belarus.
Many women will certainly still be comfortable with voting first of all a party and the movement it has traditionally represented, and this is understandable and legitimate, regardless of where on the political spectrum the said parties fall into.
Political mass-movements founded to advance a cause have moved towards being parties that unashamedly bolster the whims of their charismatic leaders. When everything else in the world has become about the self, it should come as no surprise that politics would eventually follow.
And yes, not every woman in public office is out there to advance the cause of other women (Amy Coney Barrett comes to mind). Many male politicians drive more women-friendly agendas. But what we do know for a fact is that every man in a public office will, first and foremost, look after the interests of other men.
“Maybe they just didn’t want to compromise on any of the privileges they already had“, goes the first analysis of the puzzle that is the 55% white American women. That they are quite OK for being subordinate to their white male counterparts, but did absolutely not want to either slide further down – or include people of colour – into their assigned slot in the society. Who knows.
“Many women, I think, resist feminism because it is an agony to be fully conscious of the brutal misogyny which permeates culture, society, and all personal relationships“, offered feminist writer Andrea Dworkin. This could well be. Despite the glossy, girl-bossy instagram feminism, it’s difficult to admit being a feminist these days. Strike that, admitting to being a woman is becoming a gamble, as the Guardian columnist Suzanne Moore learned the hard way earlier this week.
Following her column in March this year, over 300 colleagues in the liberally leaning newspaper signed a petition opposing her views (free speech and all that, yawn) and she’s been free game to attacks ever since – that is, until she packed her stuff and left the paper.
We can have all sorts of opinions about Moore or indeed feminism, none more or less justified than the other, but let me ensure you that there is an absolute winner in this, laughing all the way to, well, everywhere, and that’s the patriarchy. It loves nothing more than dividing and conquering women, and at the moment it looks like we’re actually doing it ourselves.
Slightly related, or possibly not, you might have read the Vanity Fair piece about Ivanka Trump, written by her former bestie Lysandra Ohrstrom. In the long-read Ohrstrom details the golden years of their Upper East Side adolescence spent on luxury holidays in Europe and in the various Trump-estates. It’s actually an entertaining piece whose point, I guess, is to demonstrate that Ivanka’s not all that (she used to eat at McDonald’s, if you can believe it, and this is supposed to be one of the proofs of her “rougher, Trumpian edge”).
Ohrstrom admits that such a kiss and tell -account including a mention of plucking ingrown hairs off each other’s bikini lines is not a very WASP-y thing to do, but apparently had to be done. (Thanks for the mental image by the way!) I don’t think any thinking person in this world needs further documentary evidence of Ivanka Trump’s moral compass being absolutely off, if not missing altogether. The article merely reminds me of the Sex and the City -scene in which Samantha triumphantly announces to Carrie at a posh ladies’ luncheon that she’d just heard Big’s fiancée Natasha was overweight in high school. Ta-fucking-ra.
Ohrstrom kept her memories under wraps while her ex-bestie was in a position of power (still receiving fancy gifts and invitations, mind) but immediately upon her descend rushed to share rather pathetic details how Ivanka “never wore a Halloween costume that wasn’t flattering” (which teen does?) It tells a lot about Ivanka, surely, but also about the ex-bestie.
It’s classic Vanity Fair -tattle, of course – handing an extraordinary amount of space and attention to the white and privileged to wallow in their luxury problems. Judging by the many articles commenting on the VF-piece in other media outlets (excellent marketing for the original, of course!), it’s very clear that no amount of well- or ill meaning character analyses of any of the Trump family members is going change the majority’s point of view – four years in a public fishbowl is plenty time for the slowest of us to draw our conclusions.
“It is a simple matter of what you will do when the chips are down, my friend.
When the fat lady is singing.
When the walls are falling in, and the sky is dark, and the ground is rumbling.
In that moment our actions will define us.”
– Zadie Smith