Study: Trump's Misogyny Is Having a Negative Impact on Girls' Self Esteem

In one Hillary Clinton ad, girls look at themselves in mirrors while Donald Trump, in voiceover, says disparaging things about women. “She’s a slob.” “She ate like a pig.” “A person who’s flat-chested is very hard to be a 10.” The message is clear: in the impressionable young faces onscreen, we see some of those who are affected by Trump’s misogynist talk. “Is this the president we want for our daughters?” the ad asks. Research showing Trump’s ugly words have real-world consequences for girls’ self-esteem suggests the answer is a resounding no.


The New York Times, in collaboration with Pollfish, conducted a survey of 332 girls age 14 to 17 at high schools in Portland and Moro, Oregon. Forty-two percent of girls questioned said Trump’s comments about women, such as vulgar insults about their looks and weight, have negatively affected how they view their own bodies.

“That hits me hard when people like Trump say people who are skinnier than I am are too big,” Morgan Lesh, 15, told the outlet. “It makes me feel extremely insecure about myself.”

“You look at pictures of the Miss Universe and she’s not fat at all, and him saying that makes you feel different about your body because you might be bigger than her,” Jaelyn Justesen, 14, said.

“I’m like really scared if Donald Trump becomes president,” 14-year-old Georgia Wolfe said. “He’s pro-life and he very publicly disrespects women, and it seems like no one really is taking a stand. They’re just letting it happen.”

Twenty-two percent of the girls polled told the Times that “Mrs. Clinton’s candidacy has made them more likely to seek positions of leadership.” Conversely, more than a quarter said Trump’s candidacy has made them less likely to attempt to fill leadership roles. Though they aren’t yet of voting age, 44 percent said they would cast their ballots for Clinton if they could, while just 15 percent support Trump’s candidacy. Seventeen-year-old Sarah Hamilton said a Trump win would make her feel like the country is sending her a message of defeat.

“I really would feel like the leadership in my country doesn’t want me to succeed," Hamilton told the Times. “And even though I know the things he says about women aren’t true, I can’t help but feel disrespected and just kind of bummed out by it.”

[h/t New York Times]

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