The Donald Trump campaign has been anything but politically correct, and that seems to be a part of his appeal to voters. I’m not here to list all the controversial things he’s said or try and sway your vote, but instead to point out the spirit of misogyny in his campaign and why that matters.
Misogyny is at its core, is an ingrained and often subconscious prejudice against or even hatred against women. Usually, misogynists don’t realize they have these feelings because, you guessed it, society has perpetuated certain common beliefs.
On a large scale, misogyny can often affect women in the public eye and can turn downright violent. More often than not though, misogyny comes out in the little ways we think and what we say about women.
Donald Trump’s overall rhetoric about women has been misogynistic because it has criticized women on the grounds of their gender. He’s used degrading words like slob, pig, dog, bimbo and piece of ass – none of which he’s used toward men.
A common misconception of feminism and misogyny is that you have to be totally politically correct and you can never insult a woman. That’s just not true. It’s okay to dislike a woman or to have a negative exchange with a woman. I definitely don’t like all women and I’ve had my fair share of less than polite encounters, but that doesn’t make me a misogynist. It would be misogyny if I formed and expressed my negativity feelings on basis of gender or if I didn’t like what a woman was doing just because she’s a woman. Prejudices and stigmas toward what women should and shouldn’t do come from years of societal patriarchy and gender roles designed to keep women “in their place.”
Let’s take what happened between him and Fox News reporter Megyn Kelly. She asked him about some of his comments toward women and later he criticized her. He didn’t say anything negative really about her skills as a journalist or her behavior or anything else concrete, he directly targeted her for being a woman. He made a comment that essentially attributed her demeanor to her period in an attempt to discredit any criticism she had of him because she’s a woman. How could she possibly be rational or capable when she menstruates?
In the first presidential debate, Trump said Hillary Clinton didn’t have the look or stamina to be president. The stamina claim was what was really focused on, but the issue of appearance lines up directly with her appearance. The only thing that separates Hillary’s appearance is her apparent feminine expression. If we ask ourselves why he thinks that looking like/being a woman makes you not look like the president, all signs seem to point to an inherent, probably learned idea that women are no supposed to be viewed in this certain way and if they are they’re bad: Misogyny.
This isn’t just an issue for men to worry about. Women can be misogynistic toward others and practice horizontal hostility or toward themselves which is called internalize misogyny. So no matter who is being misogynistic, the outcome is ultimately perpetuated stigma against women. The more public the misogynist, the more people become accustomed to it as a societal norm, but it is up to people on an individual level to be aware of the origins of thoughts, actions and beliefs.
Im not telling you who to vote for or how to feel about this election. I’m simply showing you how and where to find misogyny in the mass media so hopefully this feminist principle is more accessible and understandable.