In March 2016, women created a powerful ad that attacks Donald Trump’s treatment of women. The ad is simple in its construction: women read public statements that Trump has made about women. As the ad goes on, it gets more and more disturbing. Trump objectifies women’s bodies, makes snide remarks about period blood, claims that he has no responsibility to care for his children as a father, and at one point explicitly says, ‚ÄúWomen. You’ve got the treat them like sh*t.‚Äù
Donald Trump is a problem for women. He is also a problem for people of color, non-Christians, and immigrants. And kids are noticing. In her article ‚ÄúHow to Talk with Your Kids about Donald Trump,‚Äù Allison Briscoe-Smith says that her 7-year old son¬†is¬†nervous about Trump winning the election because ‚Äúhe wants to send people back to the countries where they are from ‚Ä¶ So what is he going to do with me? Send my arm and leg back to Africa, send my other arm and leg to Mexico, and the rest of me back to different countries in Europe?‚Äù
Talking to your children about racism and sexism in the media is difficult, but it’s not impossible. I personally am fascinated by the way that Trump values his daughter, Ivanka, while taking on trophy wives and making comments about women’s worthlessness. I think there are ways to use Trump’s hypocrisy to have a conversation with your children about privilege, and about fear. When your daughter (or your son, for that matter) asks why Trump says mean things about girls, have a conversation about stereotypes about women, and the ways these stereotypes¬†are flawed. When your child asks about Trump’s racism or Islamophobia, talk to them about fear of change and the unknown. Kids understand stereotypes, and they understand being afraid of change ‚Äì and at its root, Trump’s campaign uses these two methods more than any other to build solidarity among a rural, uneducated populace.
Trump is a dangerous force, because he feeds on ignorance and fear. But, because of that, he becomes an excellent example for children on how to be open-minded, loving, and accepting. Use Trump as a conversation starter. Use him as a way to teach your children how to listen to new points of view. Briscoe-Smith says in her article, ‚ÄúIt‚Äôs a great opportunity to talk about how [your children] feel when they see such behavior and how we think about it‚Äîand it‚Äôs a way for us to draw lines about what kind of behavior is appropriate.‚Äù
Perhaps the best way to defeat Trump is to create a new generation that believes that violence, fear-mongering, and hate are ineffective and inappropriate ways to rise to power. Girls around the world break stereotypes and do amazing things every minute of every day. When talking to your daughter about Donald Trump, remind her that she is changing the world just by following her passions and being the strong and courageous person that she is every day, and that alone is a way to fight against Trump’s specific brand of ignorance. I urge you to allow your daughter’s to write letters to Trump, and to write and speak about Trump. We can fight ignorance with education. We can listen to our children and lead by example. We can teach our kids how to recognize injustice, and how to take a stand against it.
Girl Museum Inc.