Gender Discrimination Still Alive

Samuel Ganten, Staff Writer

A now-infamous video of presidential candidate Donald Trump revealing his true colors, particularly with regard to how he views women, was leaked on October 7.

Trump was captured talking with Billy Bush of “Access Hollywood,” describing women in lewd terms and claiming that his celebrity status allows him to kiss and grope women without their consent. Trump has dismissed these remarks, labeling them as “locker room talk” and saying that they are not representative of his actual beliefs.

Americans shouldn’t buy that.

This isn’t locker room talk. At Campolindo, sexism, racism, or discrimination of any kind is not tolerated. If students were caught engaging in behavior such as that of Trump, it would result in severe punishment. Standards that we students are held to should necessarily apply to presidential candidates as well.

Sexism has had a long history in almost every human society, and slow progress has been made to achieve the limited equality we currently have. Trump and his supporters seem to favor a regression back to an earlier time.

Trump has an extensive record of sexist behavior. He referred to his own daughter as a “piece of ass” in a 2004 conversation with radio host Howard Stern, and has commented unnecessarily upon her physical appearance many times. During the Republican primary process, he attacked debate moderator Megyn Kelly as being an incapable journalist due to her “hormones.”

But the problem extends beyond just Trump. Julianne Ross of Identities.mic, a non-profit women’s group, reported on June 4, 2014, that 65% of women have been catcalled and 41% have been victims of aggressive catcalling, which is defined as groping, flashing, being stalked, or being forced to participate in sexual acts.

Worse, a non-profit women’s support group known as Hollaback found that 14% of catcalling occurs at school. Sexist attitudes begin at a young age, even in places like Campolindo, and are reenforced by, among other things, the careless and criminal behavior of politicians like Trump.

With Hillary Clinton being the 1st female nominee of a major political party, issues of gender equality such as the wage gap and her “fitness” to be president have come up. Broader questions of sexism are serious problems that have been largely ignored.

Some critics might argue that women enjoy being catcalled, and that this issue isn’t a serious problem. But Hollaback found that the most common response to catcalling is anger, disgust, and nervousness on the part of the victim. Simply having a female president won’t solve the pressing gender issues plaguing the nation, but will allow America to address them in a way that male leadership has not.

As a teenage boy, I know that my peers can be ambivalent about issues like these. But we, as a community, cannot simply wait for change to come. We are morally obligated to act now. Legally, women are on the same footing as men and can argue in court if gender discrimination is present. The social stigma that women face is the one of the biggest issues plaguing the country.

It is impossible to legislate behavior; Prohibition and the War on Drugs have proved this point beyond reasonable doubt. It follows then that the only way to change people is if people want to be changed. Campolindo students must think before speaking. Gendered insults that are used to disparage other people perpetuate negative views of femininity and ultimately hurt both genders as a result.