Since this summer, we have all been bearing witness to the circus that is Donald Trump’s race to be the next president of the United States. In a Feb. 27 article from The New York Times, Frank Bruni posed an extremely interesting and thought-provoking question: What if Trump was a woman? The writer named this imaginary character “The Donna.” Just picture it: Donna’s a real estate executive on her third marriage with at least one child born out of wedlock. The Donna resorts to superficial insults to other candidates, has no experience in politics and uses aggression and a loud voice to overpower everyone else. Personally, I think The Donna would be a laughing stock. Women aren’t taken as seriously in the public sphere, and this is another example of a gender deficit that is not popularly addressed in our country. I feel like a woman who spoke out of turn and made sexist and racist claims would not get away with it simply by the fact of her sex, making it unfair that Trump, a man, says hurtful comments without any retribution.
This article raises a provocative question about inherent sexism in politics and the public sphere. I don’t think The Donna would make it past the first stage of running for president. Because of her taunting and tough attitude, she would be labeled a b—-. With her lack of political experience, she would be laughed right out of the polls. A woman who makes fun of other candidates and references her lady parts would not have come even close to making it to the real race. Doesn’t that seem pretty shocking that a man who is actually doing these things has a real chance at not only becoming the Republican presidential candidate, but the possible leader of our nation? I think it’s pretty bleak that we could have a president who is inherently sexist. It would set back all of the progress we’ve been fighting for to achieve gender equality such as issues regarding women’s health and the wage gap.
Even though we have made progress, there is still a great inequality between the sexes, particularly in politics. Bruni writes, “I’m not arguing for a greater chastity in men. I’m arguing for a fairer and more forgiving attitude towards women.” And I agree with that statement, not just in the realm of politics, but women in the public eye in general. Many of the debate questions have been focused on “the war on women” and the evident gender inequality that is still very present in our nation. The success of Trump’s campaign speaks more toward gender inequality than anything the candidates have to say about it, which I find to be ridiculous when considering how well his campaign has done.
If you think about The Donna and how the public would react to a woman who treats men like pieces of meat, it would be completely different to how the public and the voters are reacting to Trump. In the article Bruni writes, “…because he [Trump] thrives in spite of overtly sexist language and remarks that routinely objectify women.” Recently, there have been many statements from Trump’s past that have revealed what a sexist he truly is and how he clearly views women as sexual objects. Trump has declared that after taking over the Miss USA pageant he wanted “the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher.” He’s also been known to make unsettling comments about his daughter’s beauty, going as far to say, “If I weren’t happily married and, ya know, her father.” It seems to me that Trump can make extremely inappropriate comments in the public sphere with no other explanation than that he is a man; I don’t think a woman would be able to make the same statements and garner similar success that Trump has.
Yet somehow, he is still winning state after state in the primaries. If as a country we are ever going to have gender equality, we should stop praising men who act sexist and objectify women. Especially when thinking how if the scenario was reversed, an inherently sexist woman would be run out of the public domain quicker than we could imagine.
I live in fear of being a young woman in the United States under the presidency of Trump for the next four to eight years. Thinking about a president who does not take gender inequality seriously and would do next to nothing to ensure that I am treated equally to my male counterparts is not my idea of a good president.