Since the election, I’ve read a number of posts and articles implicating white feminists in Trump’s victory: claiming that ultimately, white women voted for their race above their gender. Huge numbers of white women did, indeed, support Trump. Feminism absolutely must be intersectional. But what all of these posts ignore, neglect, or perhaps are simply unaware of is another fact: that a huge percentage of those white women who voted for Trump are Evangelicals, and they voted for Trump not because they are “white feminists,” but because they do not identify as feminists at all.
A number of mainstream Evangelical denominations actively oppose feminism. They oppose it because it confronts the rigid structure of women inhabiting separate
spheres from men, being literally created for different physical and spiritual
purposes from men. Evangelical women are taught that inhabiting these roles
eliminates the need for feminism–that feminism is actually a counterfeit of true
femininity as designed by God and depicted in the Bible. Feminism is counter to God and therefore sinful. Feminism is the F-word.
The white female demographic absolutely was key in getting Trump elected. But simply calling out white feminism misses a huge part of the issue. Evangelical women don’t value their race above all else. They value their religion–a religion that teaches that the value of women is–if not less than male worth–somehow categorically different. When it comes to feminism vs. faith, faith wins every time. It has to, because the consequences are eternal.
As a former Evangelical, I cannot even begin to describe what it’s like to deprogram from a lifetime within that belief system, to make the shift from anti-feminism to feminism. It is a long, hard process, and this election has opened my eyes as never before how deeply internalized the misogyny of Evangelicalism is. And how much compassion we need to have as we confront these differences.