How Trump talks about women – and does it matter?

Trump adviser Kellyanne Conway (left) and diplomat Marie Yovanovitch (right) have both been the subject of controversial comments by Trump GETTY IMAGES

In an interview, Mr Trump referred to career diplomat Marie Yovanovitch, the former ambassador to Ukraine, not by name, but as “the woman”.

Mr Trump added that his staff felt they had to be kind because “she’s a woman – we have to be nice.”

Professor Marianne LaFrance, a psychologist at Yale University, says this remark is a prime example of gendered language.

“That referencing says she’s not an individual, she’s not a professional, she’s first and foremost a woman,” Prof LaFrance says.

“One of the things that’s interesting about women and language is that women are ‘marked’.” Men, she notes, are not usually referred to as a “male person”.

“But we find it often easy and useful to describe a person first and foremost as a woman. Not a politician – she’s a woman politician. You don’t often say he’s a male politician.”

Even before he became president, Mr Trump had a history of controversial comments about women. His comments in a 2005 Access Hollywood tape about grabbing women “by the pussy” are perhaps the most notorious, and made headlines in 2016.

Debbie Walsh, director of the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutger’s University, says these latest remarks are part of a pattern.

“The kind of things that he said about Hillary Clinton, Carly Fiorina, Elizabeth Warren, Heidi Cruz – the list goes on – he talks about women, any prominent, powerful woman, in the most demeaning of ways, trivialising them.”

Article URL : https://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-50563106

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