How Trump talks about women – and does it matter? – BBC News

How Trump talks about women – and does it matter? – BBC News

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From a psychology perspective, Prof LaFrance says when comments go into the realm of insult, they can be insidiously harmful.
A recent study looking at how women are affected by overhearing sexism found that even when a comment was not directed at the listener, it had a negative impact on a woman’s self-esteem, measured by how well she evaluated her own performance and abilities following the incident, Prof LaFrance explains.
“It sets up an atmosphere in which all women are targeted, not just the one person who was a target [of the sexist comment] – that’s what’s particularly damaging.”
With Mr Trump specifically, Prof LaFrance says when he criticises female opponents, he often reduces them to a sexual object or someone unworthy of respect or attention.
“Comments about a woman not being strong, a notion that she’s frail or weak – those appear to be much milder in comparison to talking about her pussy, but they have as damaging, if not more damaging effects on women,” Prof LaFrance says, as it taps into existing notions that women are perceived as less-than men. Trump – champion of women?
Despite the controversial ways he describes women – and the distinctly male look of his cabinet – it would be unfair to say that Mr Trump excludes powerful women from his inner circle.
In addition to Ivanka, who is a White House adviser, the highest profile members of the administration defending the president on a daily basis are Ms Conway and press secretary Stephanie Grisham. Ms Grisham’s predecessor too, was a woman – Sarah Huckabee Sanders.
When challenged on his attitude to women, Mr Trump has in the past pointed to his record in recruiting and promoting women in his companies. “I love women,” he proclaims. Image copyright Getty Images
His 2020 campaign is led by Brad Parscale, but according to Politico, the highest levels of the campaign team include over a dozen women as senior advisers and directors.
The BBC reached out to Women For Trump, one of the biggest pro-Trump women’s political groups, for comment but did not immediately receive a response. The women who love Trump
Analysis by Tara McKelvey
“I understand some of his quips are not popular,” says Virginia Derby Jordan, a lawyer who lives in Orange County, Virginia.
But she says she doesn’t mind. She and other conservative women in Virginia, Pennsylvania and other states say there are more important issues than the president’s remarks.
They applaud the way he has helped bring down unemployment among women and appreciates how he has fought against abortion through the appointment of conservative judges.
In addition, Jordan and other Republicans like the way he has hired women such as Kellyanne Conway, a counsellor to the president, for high-profile roles: “He has put women in very important places,” Jordan says.
Jordan attests to the fact that despite the controversial way the president talks about women, many of them still adore him and will vote for him again in 2020. Doesn’t he nickname men too?
If the president’s preferred nicknames for women are nasty, crazy, and low-IQ, his go-tos for men are in a similar vein.
“It’s always about demeaning men in order to make them less tough, less strong, in many ways, less masculine,” says Ms Walsh.
“He’s also pumping himself up as the uber-masculine figure at the expense of the men who are challenging him in any way.”
One of his favourites to level at male opponents is “little” – Little Marco Rubio, Little Michael Bloomberg, Little Adam Schiff, Little Rocket Man.
Prof LaFrance notes: “Once you’ve referred to a person’s size or standing as small or little, then you’re trafficking in the realm of gender terminology.”
For Ms Walsh, though Mr Trump does not discriminate in criticising men and women who oppose him, the attacks on women are more dangerous.
She says the instance where Mr Trump singled out four freshmen Democratic congresswomen of colour and told them to “go home” was particularly “threatening”.
“We know women are often targeted on the political front, threatened certainly online, and singling them out and using very loaded language about those four women was one of the most egregious things.” How might this play out in 2020?
An April Pew Research Center study found a stark gender divide for Mr Trump’s approval ratings.
Just under half of men said they approved of how Mr Trump was handling the presidency, compared to 32% of women.
Pew analysis of his first two years in office found his average approval rating to be 44% among men and 31% among women – the widest gap between genders since the George H W Bush presidency. Media playback is unsupported on your device Media caption After Trump’s first year in office, these women explained why they were sticking with him
And while Mr Trump found success with white women voters in 2016, he may find it more difficult to win them this time around, according to recent polling.
Ms Walsh says Mr Trump could see real challenges in winning over white, college educated, suburban women who are typically Republicans “in part because of this language, this behaviour and the way he treats women”. In the NBC/WSJ poll, 40% will definitely/probably vote for Trump and 52% definitely/probably for a Dem. Among whites:White women/college+

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