A former Miss America and eating disorder survivor is speaking out about why Donald Trump’s comments about women’s weight are so hurtful and urging Republicans to condemn their party’s standard-bearer.
“Whether a woman has a job as a beauty queen or an engineer, weight should not be part of the evaluation of whether or not she is good at her job — unless it is explicitly stipulated in a contract,” Kirsten Haglund, who was Miss America in 2008, wrote in an op-ed in The New York Daily News.
“For the sake of the future of the party, Republicans with resounding voice must condemn this treatment of women,” wrote Haglund, who said she identifies as a blend of conservative and libertarian. “This is about more than the next election; it’s about the world I want the daughter I’ll have someday to grow up in — one where she’ll be valued for her character and intrinsic worth rather than her weight.”
Earlier this week, Trump didn’t back away from criticism of Alicia Machado, a former Miss Universe whom he called “Little Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping.”
“She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem with her,” Trump said on “Fox and Friends” on Tuesday.
Haglund, a former dancer who says she survived a “fierce battle” with anorexia, wrote that there is no excuse for Trump to criticize Machado’s weight.
“Even if beauty were the only criterion, that doesn’t give anyone the right to consider a few extra pounds disqualifying,” she wrote. “We need to think about our children. They are young and impressionable — as Machado once was. Their world is shaped by the attitudes of their elders, and, even more so, by our nation’s leaders. The man at the helm of the Republican Party, a man who wants to be President, publicly shamed a teenage girl for gaining weight, broadcast her forced workouts on television, and to this day defends that decision and evaluates her ability to do her job based on her weight.”
“What message does this send?” she added.
Trump has a long history of fat-shaming. After Trump’s comments about Machado, Jodie Seal, another former Miss Universe contestant, came forward to say that Trump had also been critical of her weight and would put women down.
“He said to me, ‘Suck your stomach in, or suck your gut in,’” she told “Inside Edition.” “He always wanted us to be sexy.”