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"I'm A Feminist And I Voted For Trump": 5 Female Trump Supporters On Where They Stand Now

Politics

For the past month, SWAAY sought out women who voted for President Trump in the 2016 election. Our mission was to ask these female voters – who represent various regions across the country – the same six questions to better understand their perspective and to see if they still stand behind their vote.


We anticipated this might be difficult, but what we discovered along the way was that many were hesitant to speak out for fear of being ridiculed, worried that it might affect their personal and work relationships.

One woman was not interested in answering the questions, but did have this to say about the “silence" from female supporters of President Trump: “Being a slightly conservative woman in MSM is like being a communist in 1955. If anything, I hope you include in your story how difficult it is to find women who did vote for him to speak because we are treated like social pariah by anyone who didn't vote for him."

It took several weeks to find women willing to share their views, and the majority requested we not publish their names. There were a few who were proud of their vote and happy to attach their name to their responses, but for consistency and to prevent any potential targeting, we opted to make all the women anonymous. The below reveals their perspectives.

Northeast; Yoga Instructor; Early 30s
During the election, did you openly express your support for President Trump?

Honestly, it was extremely difficult for me to be open about who I was voting for in most social settings, even though I was extremely informed politically and very involved in keeping up with the election. People assumed me to be the type of person who was in alignment with the super liberal vibes of NYC. A well-traveled 30-something female feminist yoga instructor who literally loves everyone, with friends from every walk of life, could only naturally be "with her," right? When I was open, or thought I was in a safe space to be open, more often than not I was judged or interrogated or argued with. It was expected, and I didn't take it personally after a while. I knew that I had to be true to myself, but knew that sometimes it was best to stay quiet rather than start conflict. There were a few people who truly stuck to their liberal/democratic ideals of tolerance and understanding, and I really found that refreshing and wonderful, as I respect, listen to and understand everyone's point of view. It's part of who I am as a practicing yogi.

I guess to make a long story short, I was really strategic about when to open my mouth based on the situation and the group I found myself in. It's hard for people to understand that someone who preaches and practices love could also be voting for Donald Trump.

What are the primary reasons you voted for President Trump?

Taking the risk for one big change for me was worth much more than more of the same. I honestly needed something completely different. I haven't loved the direction of our country over the last 30 years or so, honestly. Nothing had changed in Washington: same red tape, same greedy pockets, same old bull. I didn't love Donald Trump, but I said even if things got worse before they got better, at least we tried something different.

Did you have any concerns about a Trump presidency?

Oh, of course! He sticks his foot in his mouth – a lot. He's not an eloquent speaker, he's a pop culture icon with a very public past and a very specific reputation. He's unpredictable. He's done and said some things that are embarrassing and, well, straight up ridiculous; things I'm sure he's not proud of. Haven't we all though? Thank heavens my awful moments aren't on camera or the Internet because I'm sure I would be made into a villain among many other things. I thought he was genuine in his explanation of why he wanted to run. It was unbelievable to many, even me, but I thought maybe he can really get something done.

Do you believe that President Trump supports women and women's rights?

Yes, I do. I think he loves his wife and daughter, and granddaughter. I have seen many women talking about how he's a great boss, how he listens, how he's helped them or their families. His own daughter is his assistant, so he has to value her greatly! If I don't know someone personally, there's no way I can judge them on things I have heard in the media and the press. Even some things I have seen are twisted for an agenda or edited to fit the message, though some for sure are exactly what they are, and they're not great.

I personally think he treats women and men like they're on an equal playing field – no special treatment (as ugly as it may be sometimes). He tells it like it is, like it or not. I don't always like it myself, but I respect it. When he called Rosie O' Donnell a pig, that was his opinion and he had a right to it. Pretty? No. Real? Sure. He's called men plenty of names, as well. Also not pretty, but I've seen him do the same for both sexes. I'm not condoning the message or saying name-calling is acceptable here – just explaining why I don't think that comment made him a misogynist.

Are you happy with the job President Trump is doing?

I have mixed feelings at the moment, but I am always positive for the future. Hopeful. It's just passed the 100 day mark and so much has happened already, yet so much needs to be done. It seems like every day it's something new. I am happy in many ways that I see changes – with the DOW being up, being put back on the geopolitical map, and unemployment steadily going down. Within some of these categories…

Oh man. Yes, I would have done things very differently.

In my head when I'm watching things unfold I say things like, “I really hope he's thinking this through;" “Be more transparent Donald;" "That tweet really wasn't necessary;" "Please just answer the question! Stop repeating yourself;" "Maybe try to tone it down now? You're really making yourself look bad and sound stupid;" "Please, please, please do what you say you're going to do for our country."

I do have frustrations, but overall change is actually happening for the first time in a long time. It might be in a messier, uglier, less refined package, but it's change nonetheless.

Do you still stand behind your vote?

Yes, I do. I really do. I've questioned it a few times, even been nervous, naturally, but I always come back to yes. What's done is done. This is where we are and there is no sense in looking back.

Anything else you'd like to add?

If you are part of a group that preaches tolerance and inclusivity, you can't choose who you want to include. It has to be everyone, including those who have different views than you.

Midwest; Stay At Home Mother; Early 30s
During the election, did you openly express your support for President Trump?

I openly expressed my support in general conversations with people, but steered clear of it on social media outlets as I always do with politics. Especially since it got so nasty this past election.

What are the primary reasons you voted for President Trump?

First, the thought of Hillary Clinton being president made me sick to my stomach. The way she talked about more gun control due to kids getting ahold of guns and dying, but supported abortions. Just no. Second, I won't lie that I wasn't Trump's biggest fan, but I stand behind my political party and always am a bit more on the conservative side. Third, I think he has the wisdom and knowledge to really help America from a financial aspect, and pray that all the other people appointed to other areas guide him in the right direction (healthcare, war, etc). Fourth, he was the underdog that no one thought stood a chance. He got less talk time in every debate and dogged for every possible thing. Yes, he chooses his words poorly at times, and has been derogatory towards women, but we all have skeletons in our closet and I believe he can be used in a good way. For Pete's sake, Bill Clinton cheated on Hillary and had so many cover ups, but no one batted an eye at that. Fifth, I truly wanted a change – a change in power, a change in positions. A positive change for America. I believe Obama and the media have segregated this country so much that I hope once people see what Trump is really about, it will close that gap and we can become the county we used to be.

Did you have any concerns about a Trump presidency?

I am concerned that the healthcare is so ridiculously messed up that it will be hard for anyone to fix that. Wouldn't matter who the president is; I would still would have this concern.

Do you believe that President Trump supports women and women's rights?

I 100% believe he supports women and women's rights, and you can see that in his daughter. Enough said. Women need to get over themselves and stop thinking we are so poorly treated.

Are you happy with the job President Trump is doing?

It is way too early to answer this question, but so far yes.

Do you still stand behind your vote?

Absolutely.

Anything else you'd like to add?

I would've loved to see Ben Carson where Trump is at now, but Trump can't do any more damage to America than Obama did.

Southeast; Customer Service; Late 20s
During the election, did you openly express your support for President Trump?

Yes. I am not ashamed of what I believe or who I vote for.

What are the primary reasons you voted for President Trump?

I wanted a change in America. I liked that Trump was outside of the norm of politicians. He tells you what he thinks and isn't afraid to be different or defy the norm for candidates or politicians.

Did you have any concerns about a Trump presidency?

I have had concerns because of how much he has flip-flopped on things in the past. I also think that the reasons why I like him, can also hurt him.

Do you believe that President Trump supports women and women's rights?

I think this is very controversial with the things that Trump has done when running for office. However, I do think he supports women. I think the biggest example of that is Ivanka Trump and all that she does for him.

Are you happy with the job President Trump is doing?

Yes. I like the big moves he has made. I like that he is making a change and isn't afraid to speak out.

Do you still stand behind your vote?

Yes.

Midwest; Business Entrepreneur; Early 40s
During the election, did you openly express your support for President Trump?

No, I did not openly express support for Trump. Being an owner and operator of three small business, I would more than likely lose customers from the other side. Also, although I did vote for Trump, I don't know that I would say I was a big supporter. I truly did not know who I was going to vote for until I actually stood there at the table with the pen in my hand.

What are the primary reasons you voted for President Trump?

I was hoping for change. I also voted for Obama in 2008 hoping for the same thing. The way our government currently operates is disheartening. In the end, my vote was cast for an outsider. Someone who was going to change things up, and going to push to get things done. My biggest political agenda was that the the Affordable Care Act (ACA) isn't affordable for anyone I know. I also, do not agree with paying penalties for not having health insurance. I was hoping for a change to this program. Not sure I agree with the "new" plan either. I also know, our country cannot continue on the path that it is on. We simply cannot afford all the programs and regulations created by both Republicans and Democrats in the past. The fact that Trump is a businessman, and not a lawyer, made me hope that he would be able to look at our spending as a nation and cut the fluff. Sometimes I feel all the lawyers in the system try to make it more complicated than it needs to be. The fact that he thought he could win purely on confidence and business experience, without a large political party backing him, was quite amazing. He had very few supporters in the beginning – no one from even his own party. He said he was going to win the primaries and he did. After he won the primary, Republican officials still did not support him, and yet he persevered and triumphed. It's quite amazing that this could happen in our current two-party system. Lastly, I prefer that he skips the media, which is regularly biased to whichever side each channel works for. He may say things I don't agree with, but at least you know they weren't a modified version of real events.

Did you have any concerns about a Trump presidency?

Absolutely. He definitely says a lot of things I don't agree with, but that's not limited to him as a presidential candidate. I doubt I will ever vote for a president that I do not have some concerns about.

Do you believe that President Trump supports women and women's rights?

Again, I realize he has said inappropriate things about women, and to women. Which was one of the reasons I had issues with voting for him. However, I don't believe the way Hillary handled her husband's infidelity was supportive of women, either. I was also quite offended that I was expected to vote for Hillary just because I was also a woman. I vote for the issues, not the party or the candidate's gender. This, to me, was very offensive. Given the choice between the two, I hoped to choose the one who supported my policy views. I don't, however, believe Trump's priority is to take away women's rights.

Are you happy with the job President Trump is doing?

I'll be honest. The whole election was so aggressive and bitter on both sides that I hardly watch any news any more. I am disappointed the Republicans did not have a better health care plan after seven years of preparation. However, I don't think you can put that all in Trump's hands. I would appreciate if he would think a bit longer before sending any tweets.

Do you still stand behind your vote?

Currently, I stand behind my vote. I don't think I will truly know if it was right or wrong for another three and a half years.

Anything else you'd like to add?

Just that I cross party lines. I'm not a Republican or a Democrat. I tend to lean towards the left on moral issues and the right on fiscal policy. I always vote, even in smaller local elections, and definitely educate myself on the candidates. But after building out our last business and the regulations and fees that had to be paid, I was heartbroken. This is supposed to be the land of opportunity where anyone can start a business with the right idea or recipe. That just isn't so anymore. There is so much regulation, taxation, and inspection; it's beyond comprehension unless you've been through it.

South; Preschool Teacher; Early 30s
During the election, did you openly express your support for President Trump?

I expressed my support for Trump to a select few people. I mostly spoke of my support of Trump to people who also supported him. I did not openly show my support to people who supported Clinton, because I wanted to avoid any conflict. I do not feel that friendships should be ruined because of political beliefs. I also feel that a lot of times, people are so closed minded to others' beliefs that they shut down and don't listen to another person's point of view.

What are the primary reasons you voted for President Trump?

I have two main reasons that I voted for Trump. One reason was I feel that if my religious beliefs differ from anyone else's, I am not allowed to express that. We are in a day and age where anything goes, and I don't believe I have the freedom to express my religious beliefs without being ridiculed. However, I do understand that controversy surrounding religious beliefs just comes with the territory and is as old as the beginning of time. I really want everyone to be accepting of each other regardless of beliefs and viewpoints, even if we don't agree with them or understand them. I want people to know that though I may not agree with their choices, lifestyles, or practices, I do love them, accept them, and I will continue to be kind to them no matter what. My second reason I voted for Trump was that I was scorned by Obamacare. My family had the Cadillac of insurance policies up until 2014. We relocated across the state and went from paying $360 a month to $925 a month. I feel that Obamacare caused this spike, and I voted for Trump because I wanted a change in healthcare. I do believe in a universal healthcare program, but I don't feel that the middle class should have to suffer and scrape by to make ends meet to make this happen. I hope someday that a plan can be put in place that will lower insurance premiums, and also offer reasonable healthcare to everyone in the United States.

Did you have any concerns about a Trump presidency?

Yes, I do have concerns about Trump's presidency. It has not gotten off to a good start. I often feel like Trump thinks with his heart, not his head. He says exactly what he is thinking, and sometimes we need to hold those thoughts inside. I also feel that President Trump is often too rash in his actions. I hope that he can spend less time on Twitter and worrying about what other people think or say about him, and really get down to focusing on "Making America Great Again."

Do you believe that Donald supports women and women's rights?

I don't think that Trump is focused too much on supporting women or women's rights. I do think that he supports women, in general. Of course, he wants women to thrive and succeed. I haven't seen any evidence that he doesn't support women. But, I don't think that he is focused on supporting women and women's rights at the forefront of his presidency. I didn't vote for Trump because I wanted more rights as a woman; I feel like I already have a lot of rights and can do most of the things that men can do.

Are you happy with the job President Trump is doing?

I cannot say that I am thrilled about the job Trump is doing right now. He is causing a lot of discontent in the world. I would prefer that everyone be in harmony, but it's not the case and is never going to be the case. I do realize that some of the things he is doing are necessary evils. Others won't feel that way, but Trump is doing a lot of the things that he said he was going to do.

Do you still stand behind your vote?

I still stand by my vote for Trump. Truth be told, I would have loved to have seen a different Republican on the ballot for president, but I voted for who I thought was the better of the two candidates.

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Fresh Voices

My Unfiltered Struggle of Introducing a Product to a Neglected Market

Sweaty Palms & Weak Responses

Early spring 2018, I walked into the building of a startup accelerator program I had been accepted into. Armed with only confidence and a genius idea, I was eager to start level one. I had no idea of what to expect, but I knew I needed help. Somehow with life's journey of twists and turns, this former successful event planner was now about to blindly walk into the tech industry and tackle on a problem that too many women entrepreneurs had faced.


I sat directly across from the program founders, smiling ear to ear as I explained the then concept for HerHeadquarters. Underneath the table, I rubbed my sweaty palms on my pants, the anxiousness and excitement was getting the best of me. I rambled on and on about the future collaborating app for women entrepreneurs and all the features it would have. They finally stopped me, asking the one question I had never been asked before, "how do you know your target audience even wants this product?".

Taken back by the question, I responded, "I just know". The question was powerful, but my response was weak. While passionate and eager, I was unprepared and naively ready to commit to building a platform when I had no idea if anyone wanted it. They assigned me with the task of validating the need for the platform first. The months to follow were eye-opening and frustrating, but planted seeds for the knowledge that would later build the foundation for HerHeadquarters. I spent months researching and validating through hundreds of surveys, interviews, and focus groups.

I was dedicated to knowing and understanding the needs and challenges of my audience. I knew early on that having a national collaborating app for women entrepreneurs would mean that I'd need to get feedback from women all across the country. I repeatedly put myself on the line by reaching out to strangers, asking them to speak with me. While many took the time to complete a survey and participate in a phone interview, there were some who ignored me, some asked what was in it for them, and a few suggested that I was wasting my time in general. They didn't need another "just for women" platform just because it was trending.

I hadn't expected pushback, specifically from the women I genuinely wanted to serve. I became irritated. Just because HerHeadquarters didn't resonate with them, doesn't mean that another woman wouldn't find value in the platform and love it. I felt frustrated that the very women I was trying to support were the ones telling me to quit. I struggled with not taking things personally.

I hadn't expected pushback, specifically from the women I genuinely wanted to serve.

The Validation, The Neglect, The Data, and The Irony

The more women I talked to, the more the need for my product was validated. The majority of women entrepreneurs in the industries I was targeting did collaborate. An even higher number of women experienced several obstacles in securing those collaborations and yes, they wanted easier access to high quality brand partnerships.

I didn't just want to launch an app. I wanted to change the image of women who collaborated and adjust the narrative of these women. I was excited to introduce a new technology product that would change the way women secured valuable, rewarding products. I couldn't believe that despite that rising number of women-owned businesses launching, there was no tool catered to them allowing them to grow their business even faster. This demographic had been neglected for too long.

I hadn't just validated the need for the future platform, but I gained valuable data that could be used as leverage. Ironically, armed with confidence, a genius idea, and data to support the need for the platform, I felt stuck. The next steps were to begin designing a prototype, I lacked the skillsets to do it myself and the funding to hire someone else to do it.

I Desperately Need You and Your services, but I'm Broke

I found myself having to put myself out there again, allowing myself to be vulnerable and ask for help. I eventually stumbled across Bianca, a talented UX/UI designer. After coming across her profile online and reaching out, we agreed to meet for a happy hour. The question I had been asked months prior by the founders of my accelerator program came up again, "how do you know your target audience even wants this product?".

It was like déjà vu, the sweaty palms under the table reemerged and the ear to ear smile as I talked about HerHeadquarters, only this time, I had data. I proudly showed Bianca my research: the list of women from across the country I talked to that supported that not only was this platform solving a problem they had, but it's a product that they'd use and pay for.

I remember my confidence dropping as my transparency came into the conversation. How do you tell someone "I desperately need you and your services, but I'm broke?". I told her that I was stuck, that I needed to move forward with design, but that I didn't have the money to make it happen. Bianca respected my honesty, loved the vision of HerHeadquarters, but mostly importantly the data sold her. She believed in me, she believed in the product, and knew that it would attract investors.

From Paper to Digital

We reached a payment agreed where Bianca would be paid in full once HerHeadquarters received its first investment deal. The next few months were an all-time high for me. Seeing an idea that once floated around in my head make its way to paper, then transform into a digital prototype is was one of the highlights of this journey. Shortly after, we began user testing, making further adjustments based off of feedback.

The further along HerHeadquarters became, the more traction we made. Women entrepreneurs across the U.S. were signing up for early access to the app, we were catching investor's attention, and securing brand partnerships all before we had a launched product. The closer we got to launching, the scarier it was. People who only had a surface value introduction to HerHeadquarters put us in the same category of other platforms or brands catering to women, even if we were completely unrelated, they just heard "for women". I felt consistent pressure, most of which was self-applied, but I still felt it.

I became obsessed with all things HerHeadquarters. My biggest fear was launching and disappointing my users. With a national target audience, a nonexistent marketing budget, and many misconceptions regarding collaborating, I didn't know how to introduce this new brand in a way that distinctly made it clear who were targeting and who we were different from.

I second guessed myself all the time.

A 'Submit' button has never in life been more intimidating. In May 2019, HerHeadquarters was submitted to the Apple and Google play stores and released to women entrepreneurs in select U.S. cities. We've consistently grown our user base and seen amazing collaborations take place. I've grow and learned valuable lessons about myself personally and as a leader. This experience has taught me to trust my journey, trust my hard work, and always let honesty and integrity lead me. I had to give myself permission to make mistakes and not beat myself up about it.

I learned that a hundred "no's" is better than one "yes" from an unfit partner. The most valuable thing that I've learned is keeping my users first. Their feedback, their challenges, and suggestions are valuable and set the pace for the future of HerHeadquarters, as a product and a company. I consider it an honor to serve and cater to one of the most neglected markets in the industry.