10 Commentaries on Being A Woman in Donald Trump’s America

Washington / AP

1. Fear of a Female President -By Peter Beinart | The Atlantic (Oct 2016 Issue)
Except for her gender, Hillary Clinton is a highly conventional presidential candidate. She’s been in public life for decades. Her rhetoric is carefully calibrated. She tailors her views to reflect the mainstream within her party. The reaction to her candidacy, however, has been unconventional. The percentage of Americans who hold a “strongly unfavorable” view of her substantially exceeds the percentage for any other Democratic nominee since 1980, when pollsters began asking the question.

At the Republican National Convention, this fervent hostility was hard to miss. Inside the hall, delegates repeatedly broke into chants of “Lock her up.” Outside the hall, vendors sold campaign paraphernalia. As I walked around, I recorded the merchandise on display. Here’s a sampling:

Black pin reading “don’t be a pussy. vote for trump in 2016”. Black-and-red pin reading “trump 2016: finally someone with balls”. White T-shirt reading “trump that bitch”. White T‑shirt “reading hillary sucks but not like monica”. Red pin reading “life’s a bitch: don’t vote for one”. White pin depicting a boy urinating on the word Hillary. Black T-shirt depicting Trump as a biker and Clinton falling off the motorcycle’s back alongside the words “if you can read this, the bitch fell off”. Black T-shirt depicting Trump as a boxer having just knocked Clinton to the floor of the ring, where she lies faceup in a clingy tank top. White pin advertising kfc hillary special. “2 fat thighs. 2 small breasts … left wing”.

Standard commentary about Clinton’s candidacy—which focuses on her email server, the Benghazi attack, her oratorical deficiencies, her struggles with “authenticity”—doesn’t explain the intensity of this opposition. But the academic literature about how men respond to women who assume traditionally male roles does. And it is highly disturbing. Read more.

2. An Exhaustive List of the Allegations Women Have Made Against Donald Trump -By The Cut | New York Magazine (Oct 27)

It was just weeks ago that a tape emerged of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women. Since then, Trump has been accused of harassment and assault by a number of women, with several coming forward to share their harrowing stories of alleged misconduct by a so-called “megalomaniac” who also happens to be running for president. The Cut has compiled a list of all the new allegations against Trump, as well as past accusations of assault, harassment, and discrimination by women. Read more and compare to NPR’s “Full List” of women who have accused Trump of unwarranted sexual advances, assaults, and otherwise inappropriate misogynistic behavior.

woman-w-signA woman holds a sign explaining why she doesn’t support Donald Trump during a gathering in Washington Square Park on November 9, 2016, in New York City. (Photo: Drew Angerer/Getty)

3. Donald Trump Sexism Tracker: Every Offensive Comment in One Place -By Claire Cohen | Telegraph UK (Nov 9)

Fat. Pig. Dog. Slob. Disgusting animal.

These are just some of the names that Donald Trump has called women over the years.

The newly elected President of the United States has been widely called out for his objectification of women – he has a tendency to criticize them for their looks – and sexist remarks. From saying no one would vote for his former rival Carly Fiorina because of her face to saying women should be “punished” for having abortions and “joking” that he’d date his daughter… you really couldn’t make this stuff up. There are also increasing number of sexual assault claims being made by women, dating as far back as the 1980s – all of which Trump has strongly denied. Here, Telegraph Journalist Claire Cohen highlights every sexist, offensive comment Donald Trump has made. Brace yourself.


Claire Sheehan has the words “Not My President” written on her forehead as she takes part in a protest against the election of Donald Trump, on November 9, 2016, in downtown Seattle. (Photo: Ted S. Warren/AP)

4. What a Donald Trump Victory Means for Women -By Jessica Sarhan | Al Jazeera English (Nov 9)

The 2016 election cycle was like no other America had seen and one where gender was often at the forefront. It was a shocking outcome for many, an uncomfortably close race. As results came in, one state after another turning red, the optimism of Hillary Clinton’s supporters soon faded and the realization set in – that Donald J.Trump was now president-elect and that the dream of America having its first female president had swiftly dissipated.

The nearly two-year-long election season that led to the surprising announcement early on Wednesday morning has been one of the most volatile, controversial and bitterly contested ever to take place, with many women now left mourning over the loss of a potential landmark in feminism and fearing what a Trump presidency means for them.

“It is not just the Trump win but the fact that Republicans now control Congress that bodes ill for progressive politics …reproductive rights, minimum wage … policies against sexual assault, marriage equality … healthcare – all are likely to be overturned,” said Sujata Moorti, feminist studies professor at Vermont’s Middlebury College.

“As for women’s rights, Trump’s victory has in effect legitimized misogyny – the sexism, particularly the violent imagery directed at Clinton, racism, ableism, homophobia and transphobia that characterized so many Republican campaigns have now been authorized by voters,” she said.

Feminist writer, Amy Richards shared similar concerns. “What [Trump] has indicated by who he has chosen as his closest advisers is that he will hold true on rolling back access to healthcare, access to abortion, access to equal pay, affordable access to higher education – and by that women will suffer greatly,” she said. Read more.

5. As a Black Woman: I’m Taking Donald Trump’s Victory As a Call to Action -By Char Adams | Bustle (Nov 10)

Throughout his campaign, marred with hatred, xenophobia, racism, sexism, ignorance, self-service, fear-mongering, white supremacy and the like, I never thought Trump would win. And as he won state after state on election night, I couldn’t help but think, “OK, he can’t really win, right? I mean, people know this is absurd, right?”

To be honest, I expected more from America. I expected more from the millions of white women and men whose votes assured Trump the presidency. These loyal Trump supporters seemed most concerned with one thing: preserving white privilege. And the disgusting statements Trump has made about Mexican-American immigrants, women, war veterans, women’s rights, and more are eerily reminiscent of America’s horrific, racist, sexist history.

Although many white women who support Clinton were devastated to see the election of a man who blatantly insulted women’s reproductive rights, the election results were a special slap in the face for Black women — who experience a threefold bond of oppression due to race, sex, and class. As the votes for the Republican nominee came rolling in on election night, I thought of Ida B. Wells, who fought fiercely against lynching; Mary Church Terrell, one of nation’s most well-known Black suffragists; women’s rights activists and abolitionists Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman; Claudia Jones, who fought for Black women workers; Shirley Chisholm, the first Black woman elected to the U.S. congress and the first to run for president as a major party candidate, as well as all of the other Black women who took on politicians and entities more dangerous than Trump. Read more.


This slideshow requires JavaScript.

6. Why Did Women Vote for Donald Trump? Because Misogyny Is Not a Male-Only Attribute -By Suzanne Moore | Guardian UK (Nov 16)

It is impossible to be feminist and not be appalled by the complicity of women in their own oppression. But it is impossible to be a woman and not have some knowledge of how this works. If one grows up in a culture in which one’s self-worth is measured primarily by one’s desirability to men, then your energy is consumed into this horizontal competition with other women that can never be totally won. One way to be desirable to men may be to align oneself with their interests in the hope they might protect you. I would wager that every woman who dismissed Trump’s treatment of women as just “the way men are” has also defended a man in her life who has done just the same thing. Trump talks of “cherishing” women. The women he surrounds himself with make it clear how this operates: Ivanka, the daughter, talks publicly of female empowerment while defending a man who sexually fetishises her. Melania, the wife, who was put on a catwalk at age five, once boasted to Howard Stern about how much sex she has with her husband. She is valued for her beauty and her desire to be a housewife, unlike Ivanka’s mother, Ivana. Melania agreed with her husband that Barack Obama should be made to show his birth certificate. She is now being rebranded as “gracious”.

Voters can see this display of surrendered femininity and yet dismiss it as less important than the economy or their hatred of “illegal rapists” (Trump code for all non-whites). Here, in this collision of internalised misogyny and white dominance, is Trump’s appeal. At best we might say some of this is unconscious.

For power is never simply a possession but an exercise; power is about how we understand ourselves. Feminism seeks to unpick all the tiny ways in which we are bound. Everywhere we look, there are women hating other women for business or pleasure: those who don’t want a female boss; who don’t want positive discrimination; who like strip clubs and porn as much as the boys; who don’t want to worship in churches with female priests; who want to force other women to give birth to children they don’t want; who say FGM is “cultural”; and who get off on body shaming. On and on it goes. How can we be surprised that misogyny is not a male-only attribute?

Far from it. As the American satirist HL Mencken defined it, a misogynist is “a man who hates women as much as women hate one another”.

Which is immeasurably. Read more.



7. Trump’s Cabinet Is Mostly White and Male. What Will That Mean for Policy? -By Gretchen Frazee & Kenya Downs | PBS Newshour (Dec 16)
President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team have received scathing criticism for putting together one of the least diverse cabinets in recent history. The cabinet is nearly all-white and all-male — and mostly older and affluent. This lack of cabinet diversity could have concrete consequences on everything from criminal justice to health care policy, according to advocates and experts who study diversity and interviews with current and former cabinet officers.

So far, only three of Trump’s 13 cabinet picks are not white men: Ben Carson, Trump’s nominee for the Department of Housing and Urban Development, Elaine Chao for labor secretary and Betsy Devos for education department.

Gov. Nikki Haley (R-S.C.), who is Indian-American, has also been named ambassador to the United Nations, and Linda McMahon was tapped to head the Small Business Administration. Both of those positions are not in the immediate cabinet but are considered cabinet-level.

Trump has also been criticized for not choosing a diverse range of people when it comes to wealth and age. According to a Quartz analysis, the president-elect’s 17 cabinet-level picks have a net worth of at least $9.5 billion — that’s more money than the poorest third of Americans, or 43 million households, combined.

“[The President-elect’s] selections are more of a reflection of what he values, which is money,” said Lauren Burke, a political analyst at Politic365. Read more.

8. Abortion Privilege Under Trump -By Olga Khazan | The Atlantic (Nov 17)

When asked by CBS’s Lesley Stahl earlier this week about his vision for the Supreme Court and abortion rights, President-elect Donald Trump responded with a common pro-life wish:

“It would go back to the states,” Trump said, if Roe v. Wade, the court decision that legalized abortion, were overturned.

“Yeah, but then some women won’t be able to get an abortion?” Stahl asked.

“Yeah, well, they’ll perhaps have to go, they’ll have to go to another state,” Trump responded.

Let’s leave aside the fact, that, as my colleague Peter Beinart and many others have pointed out, Trump doesn’t stick to a coherent position on abortion. If we take him at his word that his goal is to use the Supreme Court to revert decisions about abortion back to the states, then some states will ban abortions, and some women will “perhaps” have to travel to other states for the procedure.

The simplicity of Trump’s phrasing belies the logistical and financial nightmare that traveling for an abortion has been for many women in states with restrictive laws. There’s no need to engage in hypotheticals to see how this would play out. In 2013, Texas passed tough restrictions on abortion clinics, which were struck down by the Supreme Court this summer. In the intervening years, the law caused the number of abortion clinics in the state to dwindle from 41 in 2012 to just 17 in 2015, and the distance to an abortion clinic for the average county to shoot up from 72 to 111 miles. Read more.

9. The Future of Women Under President Trump -By Margaret Talbot | The New Yorker (Dec 19 & 26 Issue)

There are many reasons to worry about what a Trump Administration holds in store for women. The President-elect has vowed to appoint Justices to the Supreme Court who will overturn Roe v. Wade. Some states will be emboldened to impose restrictive new laws that can become test cases; the Ohio legislature did so last week, passing a bill that effectively bans abortions, with no exception for rape or incest, after six weeks of pregnancy—a point at which many women do not yet know they are pregnant. Janet Porter, an activist against the “criminalization of Christianity,” who has been pushing for the Ohio law since 2011, said, “It’s a brand-new day with a Trump-appointed Supreme Court, and we are very hopeful.”

Meanwhile, congressional Republicans are feeling bullish about finally achieving a goal that they’ve sought for years: getting rid of federal funding for Planned Parenthood, which provides health services like cancer screening and contraception, as well as abortion. If a Trump Administration succeeds in dismantling the Affordable Care Act, or simply in eliminating the mandate that health plans include contraception coverage, many more women will lose access to health care and, especially, to more expensive, but also more effective, long-acting contraceptive methods, such as the I.U.D.

There is a popular notion that Trump’s daughter Ivanka, a self-proclaimed avatar of “women who work,” will ward off her father’s worst excesses…In her unelected, unappointed capacity, Ivanka Trump calls to mind a daughter not so much of American democracy as of nepotistic autocracy. In the U.S., if family members who don’t hold office get too mixed up in governing, hackles are raised, as Bill and Hillary Clinton discovered when he put her in charge of health-care reform. And in countries where ruling families have used elected office to promote their own business dealings democratic freedoms tend to be correspondingly weak. Read more.


The grave of women’s suffrage leader Susan B. Anthony is pictured covered with “I Voted” stickers from the U.S. presidential election at Mount Hope Cemetery in Rochester, New York, on November 8, 2016. (Photo: Adam Fenster/Reuters)

10. Hillary Clinton Officially Wins Popular Vote by Nearly 2.9 Million -By Alana Abramson | ABC News (Dec 22)
The now officially-certified votes from the 2016 presidential race show that Hillary Clinton surpassed Donald Trump in the national popular vote by nearly 2.9 million votes. According to vote tallies from The Associated Press, Clinton amassed 65,844,610 votes across all 50 states and Washington D.C., 48.2 percent of all votes cast. Trump received 62,979,636 votes, 46.1 percent of all votes cast.

The Associated Press announced today that all votes had officially been certified.

Clinton had 2,864,974 votes more than Trump, the largest popular vote margin of any losing presidential candidate in U.S. history, according to the AP. Trump won the presidency by clinching 304 electoral votes, well over the minimum 270 needed. Clinton won 227 electoral votes.

Clinton is the fifth presidential candidate in history to win the popular vote and lose the Electoral College. The only other time this has happened this century was in 2000, when Democrat Al Gore came up short in the Electoral College but won the popular vote by 540,000 more votes than George W. Bush, the AP reported. Source: ABC News.

Read 10 Commentaries on Racism & Being Black in Donald Trump’s America

Also Recommended…
Why Would Any Woman Vote for Donald Trump? Here’s Why -By Anne Kingston | MacLeans (Oct 12)

✿ 2016 Manifest Misogyny -By Margaret Talbot | The New Yorker (Oct 24)

✿ Why Misogyny Won -By Emily Crockett | VOX (Nov 11)