It’s wildly exhausting being a woman who pays attention to presidential politics in 2016. Nary a day goes by without presidential nominee Donald Trump making a repulsive comment about women.
On Friday morning, Trump continued his impeccably consistent track record of disparaging women’s bodies and sexual histories. He sent out a tweet calling former Miss Universe Alicia Machado “disgusting” because of her alleged “sex tape and past.”
It’s amazing it even needs to be said that:
a) Slut-shaming is never acceptable.
b) Alicia Machado’s supposed “sex tape” amounts to blurry night-cam footage from a “Big Brother”-like reality show.
c) Whether Machado has a sex tape or not has zero bearing on her character.
d) This woman’s ― or any woman’s ― sexuality is completely irrelevant to whether or not Trump is fit to be President of the United States. (Which, to be clear, he is not for many reasons other than his disdain for women who he doesn’t deem f**kable: His lack of knowledge about cyber-security! And the federal reserve! And climate change! His potentially illegal use of charitable funds to settle lawsuits! His endorsement of blatantly racist policies! Take your pick.)
But the fact remains that in the face of Trump’s misogyny, women are forced to clarify on a near daily basis that we are human beings who deserve basic respect, equal rights, and to be treated as though we have value beyond our looks. And this doesn’t even touch on the irony that the first woman to become a presidential nominee for a major political party in the United States ― who also happens to be arguably most qualified person to ever run for president ― is facing down the most ill-informed, blatantly sexist candidate in modern American history.
The Trump campaign has provided a platform for misogyny to be legitimized and amplified at the highest levels of our nation’s political process. And that has real consequences for American women.
One female reporter who covers Trump spoke to The Cut about the emotional toll of being around virulent misogyny every day:
“I think you don’t realize the emotional cost of every single day, twice a day, being in rooms where the norm has become people shouting out, ‘Hang the bitch,’ ‘Kill her,’ ‘Cunt,’” the second reporter said. “You shouldn’t be at the point where you hear ‘Cunt’ and you think, Oh, they’re angry at Hillary, or you hear ‘Bitch,’ and you’re like, Oh, they’re talking about our former secretary of State.”
This reporter’s experience is not an unfamiliar one. I have not been on the campaign trail with Donald Trump, and I cover many topics that have nothing to do with him or with politics. Yet over the course of this campaign I have been called a “dirty baby killing cunt,” “female cuck,” “evil traitor,” “stupid bitch,” “sick bitch,” and “stupid fucking bitch” who should “shut the fuck up” (among other things), by Trump supporters.
These sentiments aren’t new. It has been pointed out that Trump’s incessant “manterrupting” isn’t anything the average professional woman hasn’t confronted at the office.
Trump is basically the guy who catcalled you on the street, the bro who asked you if it was “that time of the month” at your place of work, the man who wondered what you were wearing when you were assaulted and the guy who called you ugly when you didn’t want to date him ― all rolled into one!
And he might become the person who determines the future of U.S. policy.
In 2016 we simply shouldn’t have to deal with this sh*t, especially from our potential future president. So, please, for the love of all things good, make it stop.
(You can help by voting on Nov. 8. Get registered here.)