Stench of sexism in 2016 presidential election

Alexis Simmons

Trump’s now-notorious quote is greater than himself.

It is a quote that represents a sexist American culture hiding in the woodwork of board rooms, law offices and now in the options on the ballot for president. Some try to deny the presence of sexism in American culture, but evidence proves otherwise. Peter Beinart wrote an especially scathing piece on sexism in the 2016 presidential election, titled “Fear of a Female President,” published in the October 2016 issue of The Atlantic.

Beinart described the merchandise at the Republican National Convention as a great demonstration of the sexist undertones, sometimes overtones, of this election. Much of the merchandise displayed sexism, sometimes overtly graphic, and always shocking. Pins emblazoned with phrases such as “Hillary sucks but not like Monica” and t-shirts depicting Clinton on the ground being beaten by Trump filled the halls of the RNC. Furthermore, he wrote that in 2010, more Republicans told the Public Religion Research Institute that “there is a lot of discrimination” against white men then went onto say “there is a lot of discrimination” against women.

“Americans who ‘completely agree’ that society is becoming ‘too soft and feminine’ were more than four times as likely to have a ‘very unfavorable’ view of Hillary Clinton as those who ‘completely disagree’ and the presidential-primary candidate whose supporters were most likely to believe that America is becoming feminized was Donald Trump,” Beinart said.

The issue here comes partially in the idea that being feminine is inherently a flaw. This mindset ranges from foreign policy expectations to, again, the board room.

A 2010 study by Victoria L. Brescoll and Tyler G. Okimoto concluded that people respond differently to ambition based on the sex of the person holding it. More specifically, both men and women responded more positively to a theoretical male senator described as ambitious than to a female counterpart. This could be the reason so many voters view Hillary Clinton as unlikeable and unfavorable. They may view her ambition, as demonstrated throughout her career, to be demonstrative of negative character traits.

Terri Vescio, a psychology professor at Penn State, came to a similar conclusion.

“The more female politicians are seen as striving for power, the less they’re trusted and the more moral outrage gets directed at them,” Vescio said.

An obvious case of sexism that nearly every woman running for office has heard, or possibly asked themselves, is being questioned on how they will be able to care for their children. Men are noticeably excluded from this concern, likely because women are consistently assumed to be the primary caretakers of children, as though men are incapable.

Take a step back from your assumptions and observe the campaigns of each candidate through the lens of an outsider, completely unfamiliar with the election. Regardless of political affiliation, there is no denying the sexism pumping through the blood of voters, as well as Trump, this election season.