PBS's Smiley and Guest Muse Over 'Self-Loathing' Women Voting for Trump

As liberal playright and Vagina Monologues creator Eve Ensler appeared as a guest on Wednesday's Tavis Smiley show on PBS, she and host Smiley ruminated over why so many women voted to make Donald Trump President in spite of his history of harassing women, with the two drawing a parallel between women and blacks who are "self-loathing" or have "self-hatred."

As the discussion meandered around to different subjects, Ensler also declared that she hopes America's "empire" will fall soon, ranted against "post-Reagan" America, proclaimed that "there's no way that you can deny white supremacy" or that "capitalism has failed," and hyperbolically fretted that Trump is a "madman" who is "destroying every aspect of our Earth that we live on."

 

 

In the first part of the interview, Ensler discussed the issue of many women facing sexual harassment from men, and theorized that many Americans were willing to vote for Trump because he reminds them of their own overbearing, abusive fathers. 

She soon fretted: "How is it we elected a predator-in-chief who was an open white supremacist and bragged about grabbing women's genitals?"

After Smiley injected, "And a bunch of women voted for him," Ensler added: "So how is that possible? Part of it is looking at what is in this culture -- like in the bottom layer of the culture that is allowing this to happen."

A bit later, Smiley asked if women who supported Trump are "self-loathing" as he followed up:

I know a bunch of black people and everybody black knows some black people who are self-loathing. I'm just going to be honest about it -- politically incorrect, but it's the truth. They really ain't crazy about being black -- they don't want to be black. There's a whole pathology behind that.

He soon added:

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So that there's some people that are black who are just self-loathing. Is that the same case with women -- that women harder on themselves, loathe themselves, loathe -- I'm just trying to figure out why it is that you would vote for some guy that you know --

Ensler insisted that "it has to be based on self-hatred" as she theorized that women who voted for Trump have been victims of abuse:

Absolutely, it has to be based on self-hatred. Look, we are all brought up on patriarchy, right? How many of those women grew up in violent families? How many of those women have suffered sexual abuse that has not been examined? And when we don't examine things, we keep perpetuating it, and we keep staying in line.

After the two mused over whether America's "empire" was about to fall, Ensler insisted that "white supremacy" in the U.S. and the failure of capitalism had been proved before going into a rant about the possibility of the world being destroyed by Trump. Ensler:

But I think in a way, like we have an opportunity now because everything has been revealed. Like, it is obviously -- there's no way that you can deny white supremacy now. There's no way you can deny horrible sexism. There's no way that you can deny that capitalism has failed. These things are evident.

After expressing hope that people will now start to solve the world's problems, she continued:

I see a lot of people who are really beginning to do introspection -- to think, "How are we going to live with a planet that we've destroyed? What are we going to do as we have this madman who is systematically destroying salmon and destroying every aspect of our Earth that we live on?" How are we as a people going to make a decision that the need to compete and the need to strive and the need to win and the need for just for war and war and war, cannot be what is driving us anymore?

The liberal playright went all the way back to fretting over the Reagan eras as she added:

That the need to connect and the need to feel and the need to share and the need to build up everyone around us is the point of our existence. And it is a moral leap out of the individualistic, selfish, Reagan, post-Reagan drive towards self-centeredness. And that is the leap we have to make, I think.

Below is a transcript of relevant portions of the Wednesday, November 1, Tavis Smiley show on PBS:

EVE ENSLER, PLAYWRIGHT: How is it we elected a predator-in-chief who was an open white supremacist and bragged about grabbing women's genitals?

TAVIS SMILEY: And a bunch of women voted for him.

ENSLER: Exactly. So how is that possible? Part of it is looking at what is in this culture -- like in the bottom layer of the culture that is allowing this to happen.

(...)

SMILEY: I know a bunch of black people and everybody black knows some black people who are self-loathing. I'm just going to be honest about it -- politically incorrect, but it's the truth. They really ain't crazy about being black -- they don't want to be black. There's a whole pathology behind that. I'm going back to this because you made (inaudible) race in -- I know this story better than most, certainly as well as others -- so that there's some people that are black who are just self-loathing. Is that the same case with women -- that women harder on themselves, loathe themselves, loathe -- I'm just trying to figure out why it is that you would vote for some guy that you know --

ENSLER: Absolutely, it has to be based on self-hatred. Look, we are all brought up on patriarchy, right? How many of those women grew up in violent families? How many of those women have suffered sexual abuse that has not been examined? And when we don't examine things, we keep perpetuating it, and we keep staying in line.

(...)

SMILEY: Every empire in the history of the world -- my read of history suggests that every empire eventually has a reckoning. Every empire eventually falters. At some point, they fail. Read your history. Every empire has its day. So you're asking some tough questions now about who we are as Americans. How much of our unwillingness to even be introspective in that way -- to be socratic in that way -- how much of our unwillingness to do that has to do with the fact that we don't want to even consider how close to the edge our country could be.

ENSLER: Oh, I think we're one step away from empire fall. And I don't know if that's a terrible thing, by the way, because I'm not really happy about --

SMILEY: But they'll call you tomorrow -- you'll be called anti-American for saying that.

ENSLER: I mean, I've never loved the empiric reality of this country.

(...)

ENSLER: But I think in a way, like we have an opportunity now because everything has been revealed. Like, it is obviously -- there's no way that you can deny white supremacy now. There's no way you can deny horrible sexism. There's no way that you can deny that capitalism has failed. These things are evident. So we have an opportunity now to begin to say, "What do we want this world to be? And how are we going to make that world happen? And I think it's a time of imagination as well as a time of crash. And I think -- and I look around and I see a lot of people who are really beginning to do introspection -- to think, "How are we going to live with a planet that we've destroyed? What are we going to do as we have this madman who is systematically destroying salmon and destroying every aspect of our Earth that we live on?" How are we as a people going to make a decision that the need to compete and the need to strive and the need to win and the need for just for war and war and war, cannot be what is driving us anymore? That the need to connect and the need to feel and the need to share and the need to build up everyone around us is the point of our existence. And it is a moral leap out of the individualistic, selfish, Reagan, post-Reagan drive towards self-centeredness. And that is the leap we have to make, I think.


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