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Let’s first start with defining what a feminist is: or rather, who is a feminist. For me, a feminist is someone who wants equality among all. At the same time, my feminism is not exclusive. It recognizes that women are complex and their experiences should be looked at in historical and cultural contexts. Race, sex, and gender affect everyone’s lives differently, so we should recognize the multitude of lived experiences. In the words of Simone Beauvoir, “One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman.” But why does it matter if the Donald is a feminist? It matters a lot, actually. Feminism is not a “women’s issue,” it is a human rights issue and it is time our country comes to realize that.
So, let’s talk about your question. Can you be a feminist and support Donald Trump? No. I think it is important to criticize the way in which the Donald has demonized women. However, it is also important to ac-knowledge the way in which the media has demonized Hillary for being a woman, and how that has affected the feminist discussion surrounding the Donald in general. So to me, no, you cannot be a feminist and sup-port the Donald, and our political atmosphere only continues to breed hegemonic ideals and perpetuate misogynistic and sexist rhetoric.
Let’s get more specific. At Monday night’s debate, the Donald opened the night with devious chivalry, saying, “Now in all fairness to Secretary Clinton…yes? Is that good? Good, I want you to be very happy. It’s very important to me.” He asked the questions, but never left room for an answer. The Donald is adhering to the sexist notion that men answer for women. However, in the very next question he referred to the former Secretary of State by her first name. Furthermore, when asked what he meant when he said Hillary doesn’t have a presidential look, the Donald responded by saying, “She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina. I said she doesn’t have the stamina. And I don’t believe she does have the stamina. To be president of this country you need tremendous stamina.”
Now, I see the word “stamina” as a way of saying that Clinton is a woman, and therefore weaker. Clinton called the Donald out, saying, “He tried to switch from looks to stamina, but this is a man who has called women pigs, slobs, and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers…” she got cut off (the Donald interrupted Hillary 70 times during the debate) by the Donald, claiming he never said that. Clinton goes on: “who has said women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men, and one of the worst things he said was about a woman in a beauty contest…he called this woman Miss Piggy. Then he called her Miss Housekeeping because she was Latina. Donald, she has a name.” Let’s pause here for a second. All of the statements he was quoted on were fact checked and found to be true.
Okay, back to the debate. The Donald accused Hillary of having a bad temperament, just further perpetuating the perception that strong women are aggressive or angry. If these instances aren’t enough to convince you he doesn’t support the fundamentals of feminism, let’s look at how he exited the stage. He patted Clinton on the back as they waved to the crowd, another form of physical micro aggression. The Donald blatantly goes against my definition of feminism. He adheres to the patriarchal ideals of society, claiming Hillary is weaker because she is a woman. He is racist, failing to recognize Latina women, or minority groups in general, as individuals, and instead objectifies them based on race.
Not brought up during the Monday night debate, or really by any media this campaign season, are the sexual assault allegations against the Donald. Why are we not talk-ing about these claims, one being a child rape claim? I could go on for pages and pages about all of the specific quotes the Donald has said that objectifies, undermines, and demonizes women, but that is a waste of time. I now want to go on to look at the way the media has shaped the feminist discussion as well.
Hillary is untrustworthy, Hillary flip-flops, Hillary is part of the establishment, Hillary cheated, yada, yada, yada. We have all heard these lines countless times throughout this presidential campaign season. Hell, since the last time Hillary ran. This campaign season has been riddled with scandals, but it is naive to believe Hillary and the Donald are equal in that regard. Of course, it is valid to be irritated with Hillary; however, the Donald’s scandals should make you irate. A former New York Times editor discusses the way in which the media has created a gender related double standard that is applied to Clinton. If a female candidate, or Hillary, behaves like other politicians and changes positions, it is painted as dishonest. I am not saying the system that we have, or the standards we hold our politicians to are okay; I am saying that the media creates a sexist double standard for women