The results from the recent election shocked the political platform as we knew it. In an election the seemed so shifted in Hillary Clinton's favor, Trumps victory sent shockwaves through America. Ms. O'Connell's presentation addressed one of the questions that I was most interested in? She asked, "Why did Hillary Clinton lose the white women vote?" I asked myself that question after seeing the election results in November, and came to conclusions in my head. They were along the lines of - Donald Trump did not single out or specifically objectify white women, and they were not able to trust her. I come to the conclusions, but never truly believed they were the whole answer. Ms. O'Connell looked at this from a whole new perspective.
Ms. O'Connell looked at the history of white women in America, and attributed that to why Hillary Clinton lost their vote. After taking her American Studies class last year, much of her presentation was review, but how she analyzed it was superb. She began by talking about the idea of Republican Motherhood. The idea is essentially the framework for the women's rights issues of the future. It was that women would stay at home and raise the kids, educate, and were "special keepers of the nations conscience." They were put up on a pedestal, and told that they were responsible for the future of America. She continued to move through history, and eventually landed in the women's suffrage movement.
Ms. O'Connell taught the women's suffrage movement last year, but left out key points from the argument she made this past Monday night. I was shocked to hear that the biggest enemy of the women's suffrage movement was white women themselves. Many women did not want to vote. They were concerned with social disruptions, changing the system in which they were privileged, and did not want to vote, among many other reasons. This was the first time I had heard this, and I wondered why this is not taught more. As the world and America continues to break down barriers barred by gender norms, I believe that it is important to teach young students that often the greatest barriers are themselves. One of Ms. O'Connell's concluding points was that white women did not believe that their could be a women President. This was perplexing to hear, but the more I thought about it the more I believed it. As we look back at the rollercoaster of this election, I hope that there is more to be gained than lost.