There is one thing we don’t need to debate about concerning Monday’s September, 2016 Presidential Debate: If Donald Trump is elected as our next President, his anti-woman ideology will trickle down into the ears of our nation’s little girls.
The way Trump handled himself on the Debate’s stage may have seemed overbearing, but his insecurity was palpable and uncomfortable. Even the backdrop on the debate stage felt the need to comment on Trump’s extremely fragile masculinity, taunting the word “men” over his head.
The debate conveniently followed the release of Hillary Clinton’s most recent campaign ad, featuring some of Donald Trump’s most famous insults towards women, sounding over images of young girls. You can watch it here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vHGPbl-werw
From Trump’s attitude towards Clinton to his lack of preparedness to befit a Presidential Debate, Hillary Clinton once again proved to be the right choice as a positive, forward-thinking influence on our nation’s youngest citizens.
If Donald Trump becomes President, America’s youngest feminists will have their fiery equality cause doused out by 4 years of our nation’s leader telling them that The Oval Office was not made for women and will never be meant for women. These are some of the messages he has been, and will be, shouting in the ears of America’s Feminists, big and small:
1. What you say will never be as important as what boys say.
The Debate was basically just a long line of Hillary trying to present her ideas while Trump yelled over her from the other side of the stage. In the first 25 minutes of the debate, Donald Trump interrupted or talked over Hillary Clinton over 26 times. He didn’t have anything interesting or insightful to add to the conversation, but he couldn’t stand that Hillary was taking the light away from him. Why does Trump get so much attention for acting like a child? Why does the media flock to him when he whines and calls people names? How can Hillary stand on that stage with him and debate intelligently and respectfully and lose the public’s interest? What lessons are we trying to teach our children? We should be telling our little girls that people will listen to what they have to say. We should be filling their minds with the idea of endless possibilities and infinite platforms to share what they think, not asking them to be quiet and to let that rowdy boy over there take the stage and shout out his racist ideas and conspiracy theories. We should be telling our little boys that our girls have just as much insight and opportunity as they do.
2. You are weak.
One of the more memorable of the insults shot at Clinton during the debate was when Trump addressed her at the beginning of the debate by saying, “Secretary Clinton- yes, is that okay? Good. I want you to be very happy.” He acted as if he were doing a favor for Mrs. Clinton by regarding her as “Secretary,” completely ignoring the fact that it is, you know, her job. Trump, a man with no notable title, disrespects Secretary Clinton by reducing her “Secretary” title to some kind of euphemism to demean her authority. It seemed that Trump was almost afraid of being seen as inferior to a woman who holds so much more esteem and notoriety than he does. This exchange was accepted as completely normal, and the debate moved on quickly after it. We are teaching our little girls that it’s okay for men to put you down, to make you feel lesser than them, to use their sheer masculinity to undermine your brilliance. Women and girls are expected to bite their tongues, sit back, and let the men take the lead. By allowing Trump get away with this, we are allowing our girls to learn that it is best if they stay quiet.
3.You are not smart.
In the course of the 90 minute debate, the candidates were expected to share their ideas for new policies and strategies about a variety of topics. It was so obvious that Clinton did her research, carefully formulated a plan of action, strategized her debate speech, and successfully shared her platform during the debate with a certain level of grace, humility, and confidence. With the amount of preparation that Clinton seemed to have put into the debate, you would think that it would give Trump one hell of a run for his money. Rather, the more Clinton progressed ahead of Trump with her intelligence, Trump pushed his way past her again with his loud, out of place remarks that would set the whole conversation back a few paces. Why are we letting our nation’s leaders demonstrate the idea that a man will always rise above a woman, no matter how smart or prepared the woman may be? And how can we expect to expose our daughters to this and have it not ruin their sense of confidence about their education and their passion for curiosity?
4. The only thing that should matter to a girl is her looks.
Donald Trump has been no stranger to demeaning, offensive, crude, and inappropriate comments about women since the very start of his career. As Hillary remarked in Monday night’s Debate, “This is a man who has called women pigs, slobs and dogs, and someone who has said pregnancy is an inconvenience to employers, who has said that women don’t deserve equal pay unless they do as good a job as men.” Trump even flippantly remarked that Clinton doesn’t look “presidential,” which could easily be interpreted as a jab at her femininity. He has prided himself on having trophy women on his arm, and has made many women feel insecure as he labels them with demeaning nicknames and tosses inappropriate remarks at their bodies. He is sending the message that if you are beautiful, that is all you should be. And if you are not beautiful, then you cannot be anything. In a society that has already burdened little girls with the pressures of perfection, having our nation’s leader reinforcing that idea could be the final kick at the Feminist movement under Trump’s reign.
As a nation of feminists, we need to ensure that our Tiny Future Feminists have a beautiful country to explore and better with their gifts of knowledge and creativity. We cannot let a man take over our nation’s influence who will undermine everything feminists have been trying to build for over a hundred years. We cannot let our daughters listen to a man tell them that they are not good enough and will never be good enough. As Hillary Clinton simply said in the Debate, “words matter.” Our Tiny Future Feminists need to know that their words matter, that their words can have as much of an impact on the world as the President’s words have on them. We need to teach them that they matter, that they are strong, that they are smart, and that they are beautiful.
The first step toward a world of change is at the polls this November. Whether you choose to vote for the Democratic Nominee or the Republican Nominee, take this chance to vote. Feminists have fought to give you the right to vote, take it.
Editor Note: The views and opinions expressed in this article are the journalists’ alone. They do not represent Her Campus at the University of Utah or Her Campus on an international level. Thank you for your devotion and dedication to our magazine.