During a presidential campaign, most people have extremely strong feelings about their candidate of choice — and about the candidates that they do not want to win. It’s natural to fiercely advocate on behalf of your preferred candidate, but this year, the advocacy has crossed the line into outright misogyny.
It was on full display at last month’s Republican National Convention. Vendors sold buttons, bumper stickers and t-shirts denigrating Hillary Clinton in the crudest of terms — and convention-goers proudly purchased and wore these items. From mocking her physical appearance to calling her vulgar gender-based names, these items were appalling. It does not reflect well on a political party when its supporters resort to this type of name-calling and blatant sexism.
Misogyny is not limited to conservatives, however. Many on the left have mocked Donald Trump’s wife Melania based on her looks or career as a model, insisting that she cannot possibly be bright or shaming her for her past work. While the spouses of candidates can be criticized for their participation in the political process — such as when Mrs. Trump gave a speech at the convention — they should not be subjected to insults based on their gender or their physical appearance.
This political season, don’t base your opinions or commentary on someone’s gender or looks. It is perfectly acceptable to dislike a candidate for her policy positions — but it is not OK to mock her looks or use gendered terms to disrespect a person. Republican, Democrat or Independent, we are all better than using misogyny to score cheap political points. Refuse to participate in sexist talk about candidates or their spouses. If someone calls Hillary Clinton a b*tch or refers to Melania Trump as a wh*re, speak up. We can raise the political discourse in this country, and avoid sinking into the muck — if we all make a commitment to change on an individual level.