White women who voted against Hillary

By Jean Mavrelis - 11.11.2016

Who are the white women who did not vote for Hillary, when they did vote for Barack Obama, and probably would have voted for Michele Obama if she were running instead of Hillary.

They didn’t like Hillary.  They voted against her more than they voted for Trump.


They saw Hillary as a male identified mean girl who isn’t caring and nice. From the beginning, when Bill Clinton was running, she was taken to task because she said she didn’t bake cookies.  This was seen as an affront to homemakers.

“Who does she think she is?”

“She’s after power, or she would have left Bill.”

“She makes too much money for her speeches.”

“She’s hawkish.”

“Her voice is annoying”.

The litany goes on.

Little girls in elementary school will create an “I hate so-and-so” club if any girl acts too powerful.  White women are not encouraged to be competitive.  White women on my tennis team struggle with their own competitive instincts, and don’t like the other team if they seem mean and don’t smile.

I have written about 5 categories of white women in Corporate Tribalism: Narcissists, White male identified/assimilated, Obedient rule governed, People pleasers, and Evolved. The biggest category is the people pleasers.

Hillary is not in that category.  She seems more male identified to me, and what I’ve read about her childhood with her father backs that up.  But she could also be in the “evolved” category of women who can be for themselves and also, be for the good of the whole.  Hillary certainly showed she could be evolved in so afar as she can be for herself, and for women and children.  And she proved that legislatively.  But something about her was a little too male identified for many white women.

Hillary doesn’t exude warmth. People who have met her says she does one-on-one, but the camera couldn’t reveal that, and Hillary was held by white women to a standard of perfection around being a people pleaser – someone who is caring and nice.  She didn’t make it for many white women. They saw Hillary as part of the establishment.

What does the establishment mean to white women?  It means members of the “good old boys club”.  I voted for Obama rather than Hillary because I saw him having more womanist values than Hillary.  He was raised by a grandmother, while I’ve read that Hillary identified with her father.

Studies have shown that women in top executive positions are more male identified.

Well, that’s the game, she “leaned in”.  I have talked to women executives who said they had an epiphany, “At some point in my career I realized that if I wanted to get ahead, I was going to lose friends.  I couldn’t be for myself without shame or guilt the way white men can”.

Well, Hillary lost “friends”.  She didn’t have that elusive something white women “people pleasers” look for when they judge other women.

Trump didn’t have it either, but he is held to a different standard. Many women don’t expect him to “get it”.  They expect bravado, and their sense of a powerful man isn’t necessarily one who is caring and nice.

We need to begin raising sons and daughters who are valued for being evolved: being able to have agency (the ability to know what they want and go for it), and still keep in mind the good of the whole.  Hillary does that, but many white women didn’t trust it.

Evolved women, who saw Hillary as the subject of her life, had less of a problem, but still wanted her to be more “likable”.  They relate better to Elizabeth Warren who doesn’t come across as establishment male identified, even though both women combine caring with passionate advocacy for issues larger than themselves, something women identify with and respect generally.

Trump can be for himself without shame or guilt, but certainly has no idea how to be for the good of the whole group.

We will have to watch him like a hawk.  Or, as our Buddhist colleagues might say, we need to extend loving kindness.

I’d like to do both.

“What Other People Think About You Is None of Your Business”

By Jean Mavrelis - 04.29.2010

As I wrote in Corporate Tribalism, white women who are “people pleasers”, often feel more defined by what other people might think about them than by what they think about themselves.

Interestingly, first born sons of white woman people-pleasers are also likely to be like their mothers in this way, most likely because mom had more time for her firstborn, male or female, so those first born tend to be like her.

This need to have others like us gets “people-pleasers” into hot water when interacting with anyone except other people pleasers.

I had my own experience with this yesterday. I wrote on a cousin’s blog site that the view in the piece was “naïve”. Then I realized she wrote the piece.

This sent me into people pleaser apoplexy – Oh my god!  I’ve offended! This will ruin our relationship! Like a good people pleaser, I wrote to apologize, saying I didn’t mean to call her \”naïve\”. She responded that she didn’t feel insulted until I suggested that I insulted her.

The ultimate goal of a people pleaser is not to please others so much as it is to make sure other people think we’re caring and nice so that they won’t talk about us behind our back. Read more »

Mocking Sarah Palin

By Jean Mavrelis - 07.09.2009

Mocking Sarah Palin isn’t a new sport. Tina Fey made a comedic art of it during the campaign.

This week Maureen Dowd mocked Palin in her column “Sarah’s Secret Diary”. I’ve noted that the act of mocking raises a cultural issue for some white women. I’ll explain what I mean. As I poured through the responses to Dowd’s article one caught my eye, because it speaks directly to the cultural concern I’m talking about.

It read, “Please move on or you will start having people feeling sorry for her. Too many already are.”

Based on my experience I would guess the respondent is a white woman. I say that because I have seen this attitude all too many times in my seminars.  If you want to get a type of white women I call “people pleasers” to side with you, you need to be a victim.  And if you want them to hate you, you just have to pick on someone, or “be mean.” 

For example, in one of my seminars years ago a white woman raised her hand and complained about a Black woman who hurt her feelings.  I explained the cultural differences that tend to play out between white women and black women and the way they handle conflict. Black women, like white women, do gossip, but when they do they start with, “And I’ll say this to her face.”  For African American women, backstabbing is a sign of weakness.  White women, on the other hand, are almost forced into backstabbing.  If you tell another white woman  that you are upset with her, she’ll thank you for coming to her, and then tell everyone else (behind your back) that you attacked her. I discuss these differences in depth in our book Corporate Tribalism. Read more »