In the 2016 election, gender has had a great impact on how the candidates were presented in the media and to the voters. This lens of gender has become increasingly important as the recent comments by Republican candidate Donald Trump came out.
The candidate was caught on film making lewd remarks about a woman that he was working with Access Hollywood. Both women and men were upset by these comments. Because these issues now are at the forefront of the discussion of the candidates it is important to unpack just how detrimental they are in our trust that he will support women’s issues. These comments and the recent allegations make me question the kind of standards that we hold politicians to, or even public figures in general. Because of the nature of these claims, it is important to take these into considerations and to independently research these issues.
According to CBS news throughout this election Trump has made insulting comments about an array of women including Rosie O’Donnell, Megan Kelly and Alicia Machado. These comments by Trump sparked the moderators at the second debate to ask Trump if he has ever done the things he describes on the tape to which he responded that he did not. According to CNN many women have come out since saying that Trump sexually harassed them.
These women claim that Trump was inappropriate with them, and that hearing him deny that to Anderson Cooper compelled them to come forward. According to CBS News, former Miss Universes are claiming that Trump walked into their changing room without warning. This is a claim that Trump confirmed himself on Howard Stern’s show. On that same show, there is audio of him giving permission to call his own daughter a demeaning sexual comment. This is not “locker room talk” as these words have obviously become actions.
There is a difference between people making dirty jokes and someone who actually believes that he has the right to do those things. The types of things that Trump said are things that most women are very familiar hearing. It is the kind of thing that women also hope that the politicians that we are electing are going to be sensitive to those issues, and we hope that they will be committed to working against those kinds of ideas.
Trump says on that audio about how he can do anything to women because he is famous. The things he says are all too familiar to the kinds of things that victims of sexual assault have heard. Trump is perpetuating the normalization of this kind of language and actions. According to CNN, Trump in denying these allegations implied that they are untrue because the women was not attractive enough. He is perpetuating a culture where it is acceptable to talk about women like objects. In dismissing the women on the grounds of their looks he is minimizing his actions, which is unacceptable.
I do not want anyone to believe that the point of bringing attention to Trump’s behavior is to shift political beliefs. I do, however, think that it is important to bring attention to the fact that this kind of language and actions still exists. I hope in the next election there are politicians on either side that understand women better and respect their problems.