Misogyny Won the 2016 Election
Despite the fact that about 3 million more people voted for Hillary Clinton to be President than Donald Trump, he was inaugurated to the office January 20. He is historically unpopular, with 51% of Americans disapproving of him transitioning to the office. He insulted, offended, or otherwise attacked many groups of people: women, the disabled, Muslims, Mexicans, the American free press, African-Americans, Asians, even prisoners of war — but somehow here we are… He is the most powerful man in the world. How did this happen? If he is THAT offensive, then how is he in this office? Well, in part (a big part, if you ask me) misogyny won the 2016 election. Not him.
Misogyny acted in two ways in this election. Not only did misogyny allow people to over-look the disgusting things that one candidate said about women, it also caused people to hold the woman candidate to a whole host of unprecedented standards. Though Hillary did earn more women’s votes than Trump as a whole, she lost big with white women (especially uneducated white women, 64% of which supported Trump). Hillary Clinton won in every single other racial demographic of women’s votes. The reason being, minorities and otherwise marginalized people are the ones that saw him as a threat more clearly — since they were the ones that he was specifically attacking. Hispanic women are the ones that might see their families ripped apart in the event Trump goes through with his illogical, and logistically near-impossible deportation plan. African-American women are the ones that will be effected if Trump tries to bring back stop and frisk policies which disproportionally targets African-Americans and was found to be unconstitutional on account of it being an “unreasonable search and seizure” (which, of course, is prohibited by the fourth amendment).
On top of his policies that would hurt all people, Donald Trump is someone that has repeatedly spoke horribly about women. In a video recording that should have certainly ended his campaign, he boasts about sexually assaulting women. He was recorded saying, “I just start kissing them … Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.” — our President admitted to being a sexual predator… and, somehow, a lot of women did not seem to mind when Election Day came around. Something he said that was perhaps just as disturbing was about the several women that accused him of assaulting them. On multiple accounts, he suggested that the women coming forward were not attractive enough for him to assault them. Of Jessica Leeds, he said, “believe me, she would not be my first choice”. Many people made excuses for his more obscene comments like “Grab ’em by the pussy” by excusing it as “locker room” talk. That is not “locker room” talk, that is admitting to sexually assaulting women. Some professional athletes even took to social media to condemn his comments and to point out that no, that is not how men talk about women in locker rooms.
Touching someone without their consent is sexual assault — whether you are famous or not. A lot of people know this, but unfortunately because of internalized misogyny in our society, a lot of people also do not see this kind of vulgar behavior and speech as an issue. Tasha Williams writes, “When we mislabel misogyny talk as locker room talk, we are co-signing the assertion that this type of exchange is something that males naturally engage in when alone with each other. Consequently, we sanction the collective dehumanizing of women and girls as a normal form of male social bonding. By implication, we say it is acceptable for any male dominated space … [to] become an unsafe place for women and girls,” further pointing out that this is not a form of casual male chit-chat, this is the systematic growth of rape culture in today’s society. We can not afford to normalize sexual assault, but that is exactly what happened when 63 million Americans pulled the lever for a man who thinks he can “grab em’ by the pussy”, because, hey, “when you’re a star, they let you do it”.
The second way that Misogyny Won the 2016 Election was by causing people to hold Hillary Clinton to a whole host of unprecedented standards never seen by any man in her position. These irrelevant things they were critiquing her on allowed the media and the people to ignore her actual policies and it distracted from all the thorough plans that she had to help this country. For example, people have said that she shouts, shrieks, and screams and that is what they discuss. Not what she is saying but how she is saying it. Further, when she speaking excitedly in a speech about her victory in Iowa, she was described as “unpleasant and screaming”. After debates especially, the media focused on her mannerisms, her tone, even her outfits, but did not acknowledge those things about immature Trump. When the focus of her campaign becomes non-policy related things, it delegitimizes her as a candidate and it distracts from the fact that she had better and (undeniably) more thorough plans than Trump on every single issue. Trump himself openly critiqued her for being “shrill”. Unfortunately, his base ate this up… one supporter said, “I never felt like anyone was telling the truth before now”. A prime example of another thing that she had to answer for solely because she is a woman was a host of “how will being a grandmother effect you running for President?” questions after her daughter announced that she was pregnant. In contrast, when running for President in 2012, Mitt Romney was a grandfather of 20 kids, and added two more grandchildren through the race but was not once asked how that would affect his campaign. Additionally, when Hillary Clinton had walking pneumonia (a very common illness that is no cause of concern when treated with anti-biotics and rest), questions immediately began but, “those questions seem more like concern-trolling — using questions as a tool of shame”. In many cases, there were questions being asked about her health when the answer was not even listened to. It did not matter what she or any campaign representative said, it just mattered that people were talking about her health and bringing it in to question. Women have been so underrepresented in our national political stage that they have to work much harder and appear to be much stronger than men to even be considered in passable health. Even just the societal connotations we have of being a grandmother come with an underlying implication of being a frail, even week old woman — Trump, on the other hand (who is older than Hillary, I might add) is a grandfather but that was not used in any way to paint him as weak or unable to be a leader.
In 2016, misogyny won the election. It made women vote against their self interest in the sense that they voted a man in to office that very obviously does not respect them. It made people not see that the insulting way that he talks about many minority groups is dangerous to us all. But, more importantly, it made people skew their perception of the most qualified person in the race. There was very little conversation about her policies and more about the over examination of incidents that have already been resolved — or should have been non-issues to begin with. As a woman, she was held at a different standard on almost every single aspect of her persona — her dress, her tone of voice, her family relationships, and even the way that she smiles. When the public is engaged in ways varying from memes mocking her facial expressions to entire news segments about how she is dressed, it distracts from her value as a candidate — ultimately delegitimizing her and handing the Oval Office to him.