When Donald Trump publicly mocked Dr Christine Blasey Ford for accusing his Supreme Court nominee of sexual assault, a woman sat behind the president holding a placard: “Women For Trump”.
As his mockery hit a crescendo, so too did her placard, held over her head, as he put the boot into Dr Ford for attempting to hold another powerful man to account.
Of all the WTF moments of the current US administration, it is these Women For Trump who are the most cognitively dissonent. Men for Trump is a no brainer, because Trump is for men, so long as the men are white, straight, and conservative.
But Trump is patently not for women. So why would any woman support a power structure built on misogyny (“Lock her up”), and led by a man whose contempt for women is part of his appeal to men?
Let us look to Trainspotting, to a Renton soliloquy: “It’s shite being Scottish. Some people hate the English, but I don’t. They’re just wankers. We, on the other hand, are colonised by wankers.”
Swap ‘Scottish’ for ‘women’, ‘English’ for ‘men’, and you have an approximation of internalised misogyny. Where women allow themselves to be colonised not just by men, but by each other.
So why would any woman perpetrate the oppression of another woman? Are they treacherous idiots, cultural throwbacks, self-hating and unwoke — or is dismissing such women simply another layer of this byproduct of toxic patriarchy that seeps into all of us lady people?
Pitching ourselves against ourselves. Judging, criticising, applying outrageous double standards. Or is being disgusted by Women For Trump a baseline of female sanity?
Trump didn’t invent internalised misogyny, nor did his female supporters. So while acknowledging patriarchy as its root cause, it’s not like we aren’t complicit.
Women criticise each other’s choices all the time: working, birthing, breastfeeding, dressing, dating, marrying, performing, creating, writing, existing.
We devote entire media outlets to gimlet eyed appraisal of how we look; there is no aspect of the female existence which has not been judged, ridiculed, critiqued, picked apart, micro-analysed, and dismissed — by ourselves, by women.
Why? Internalised misogyny. It’s so old. When will it die?
Here’s author Gillian Flynn on the lengths women will go to for male approval: “Being the Cool Girl means I am a hot, brilliant, funny woman who adores football, poker, dirty jokes, and burping, who plays video games, drinks cheap beer, loves threesomes... Cool Girls are above all hot. Hot and understanding. Cool Girls never get angry; they only smile and let their men do whatever they want…. Men actually think this girl exists. Maybe they’re fooled because so many women are willing to pretend to be this girl.”
With regard to gender politics, Women For Trump and Cool Girls are one and the same.
Both so internally bent out of shape by patriarchy that they betray their own gender. They betray themselves.
As Trump would say – sad.