Talking Cultural Diversity

a discussion board for cultural and diversity issues by Thomas Kochman and Jean Mavrelis

Why Would any Woman Vote for Romney?

By Jean Mavrelis - 10.27.2012

Several men have asked me lately, “Why would any woman vote for Romney?”

What they have in mind is, “Why would a woman vote for the government to decide what they can and can’t do with their bodies?

My hunch is that in some of the swing states, as a recent AP study showed, a perfect storm of racism and religious conservatism drive an anti-Obama vote from women, especially from the time Obama was elected President.

As for religious conservatism, Steven Pinker wrote an interesting piece, “Why are States So Red and Blue?” in which he identifies the world view of individuals in red states as having what he calls a “Tragic Vision” of  human beings, while blue state individuals tend to have a more “Utopian Vision”.

He also suggests that  social conservatives put a premium on deference to authority, conformity to norms and the purity and sanctity of the body.

Consequently, if human beings are flawed, “their behavior must be restrained by custom, authority, and sacred values.”

Those with a more Utopian view of human nature, on the other hand, “believe individuals are capable of wisdom and reason and can determine for themselves what is fair, harmful or hurtful.”

Pinker goes on to offer theories as to why these different world views might be tied to geography.

Much of his argument is reinforced in Jim Webb’s enlightening book, “Born Fighting” about Scots-Irish settlement and migration.

I would like to hear from readers, especially, women readers, why they think women would vote for Romney.

6 Responses so far

There are women who psychologically need a paternalistic figure to feel safe and protected. I am still surprised at the number of women i meet who defer to males for no apparent reason.

Women often defer to other women as well, but for another reason: fear of loss of relationship. (Perhaps fear of loss of relationship w mother?)
Girls, and later, women, who aren’t “caring and nice” (those who have agency, and put their own wishes ahead of what somebody else wants them to do) are targeted by other females.

Don’t you just love it when we talk psych stuff?

I also read Pinker’s article and found it very interesting. I am wondering if there is something in the psyche of women that stems from the experience of having been historically victimized by society/men that somehow resonates with the tragic view? Almost like wishful thinking that if men’s behaviors could be controlled via “custom, authority and sacred values” they might be safer? I also wonder if this isn’t evidence of “learned helplessness?”

Makes sense to me that victimized women would turn to the church or to the law for protection, but why would they turn to church or law to be victimized again?
I heard on NPR that religious law in Afghanistan requires women to “submit” to their husband sexually at least every four days.
Sounds like the Catholic church in my Mother’s generation.: no birth control, because the fear of hell was greater than the wish for control over your body.

Many women believe that women’s rights are the most important facet of the election. Most notably the right to have equal pay to men, which has never occurred. Deciding on who will become the next president does not affect women’s rights to equal pay as much as it dictates the women’s right to choose. That ultimately will determine who women will vote for in the election.

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