This campaign season has highlighted realities that women have known for a long time. What is both surprising and gratifying is that men are becoming aware of just how different the societal rules are for women. This may be the Trump’s gift to women. Things have become so extreme that they are obvious—finally.
The Double Standard that Trump Has Made Very Clear
Some of what Trump has dramatically brought to our collective attention, issues that women have been trying to address but with little success, include:
- Men talking over you in an important meeting. http://www.thedailybeast.com/articles/2016/09/26/donald-trump-raves-on-as-hillary-clinton-speaks.html. Yes, men have louder voices and are often more comfortable being aggressive. Many of us have experienced this phenomenon in work meetings and community events. How does this make you feel? As if what you are saying is less important, not as relevant? Angry?
- Men making derogatory comments in front of you about other women. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/18-real-things-donald-trump-has-said-about-women_us_55d356a8e4b07addcb442023. You cringed when a man at work felt entitled to call a woman fat, sloppy, old, blubbering. You struggled with whether you should confront him on this comment that had nothing to do with the woman’s work performance or let it go. This is a double bind for a woman: challenge a man in power for being unfair or just figure out how to deal with him, which often means ignoring him. How do you feel? Fearful of how you look? Angry?
- Men staring at your body and evaluating you. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/why-donald-trumps-vicious-body-shaming-of-women-matters_us_57eac4e7e4b082aad9b77be5. Even when denying he groped a woman on a plane and assaulted a woman in his home with his wife there, or when dealing with an assertive woman interviewer on TV, Trump demeans the looks of the women accusing him, as if this is relevant to what she is saying. And yes, you know what it is like to have a man stare at your breasts when he’s speaking to you, stare at your ass as you walk away or turn and obviously check out another woman instead of paying attention to your conversation. How does this make you feel? Demeaned? Fearful that those five pounds you gained is obvious? Worried about how your hair looks? Angry?
- Men invading your space to threaten, intimidate and assert their power. http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/donald-trump-invade-space-hillary-clinton-knocks-intelligence/story?id=42762132
We all know what it is like to have a man invade our personal space, repeatedly, whether this is at work, during an argument with a boyfriend or on the subway, and then deny that they were doing anything untoward. We also know how this makes us feel—vulnerable, intimidated and mad.
What do you do with all of this anger? Unfortunately, you turn it against yourself by eating too much, drinking too much or exercising excessively, and with what I’ve named girly thoughts—how you do to yourself what society does to you, what the men in your life do to you: judge yourself and find yourself deficient, wanting, unattractive.
As a male supervisor I once worked for helped me understand, it is important in a conflict to use the other person’s momentum to your advantage. In this world of double standards for men and for women, we have Mr. Trump to thank for repeatedly giving us high-profile examples of how unfairly women are treated so that we can all take a look at this and say, “No more!”
Patricia O’Gorman, PhD is a psychologist, speaker, author and blogger.
Learn more about overcoming girly thoughts at The Powerful Woman: Women and Resilience, and in The Girly Thoughts 10-Day Detox Plan: The Resilient Woman’s Guide to Saying NO to Negative Self-Talk and YES to Personal Power.