Graduation Date

Summer 2018

Document Type



Master of Arts degree with a major in Applied Anthropology

Committee Chair Name

Rebecca Robertson

Committee Chair Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Second Committee Member Name

Prof. Mary Scoggin

Second Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Third Committee Member Name

Prof. Llyn Smith

Third Committee Member Affiliation

HSU Faculty or Staff

Subject Categories



In the American General election of 2016, the political discourse in the popular media demonstrated a nationwide expectation that female voters and their allies would elect the first female head of state on election day. As the President and his administration assumed control, many of those who had expected a different electoral result expressed bewilderment after learning that 53% of white, female conservative women chose the Republican male candidate Donald Trump for President. Narratives critical of the voting behavior of conservative women were prevalent. This discourse was informed by a blame and shame paradigm of accusations ranging from racism, lack of agency and selfishness. This project aimed to critically scrutinize this partisan discourse. I tested the veracity of these claims and obtained an understanding of the motives and political perspectives of conservative women in order to have an appreciation of their voting behavior. I designed an online survey and posted it on websites all over the country and I provided conservative women with a platform from which to speak for themselves. Additionally, I conducted one-on-one interviews with 11 women from the east and west coasts of U.S. The information and data obtained from these actions are the basis for my analysis and critique. The deep stories from the interview participants indicate agentive behavior, entrenched belief systems and a degree of estrangement from parts of the larger society. I believe that further scholarly study of this group is a necessity. The voting behavior of women in general is understudied as the unsubstantiated claim that they represent a voting bloc indicates. Additionally, there is a substantial dearth of research on conservative women in particular. Researchers can and should provide more valuable insights and increase the overall understanding of conservative women voters. If this understudied group briefly had a public platform of its own, then one part of my research goal will have been accomplished.

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