Election 2016

Trump’s Sexism Is Literally Bad For Your Kids According To Experts

By Brian D. Johnson, PhD and Laurie Berdahl, MD

Donald Trump’s remarks about women during the presidential campaign and the years preceding it have often been termed sexist, cruel, misogynistic, and degrading.

While many parents are concerned about the negative impacts these comments may have on their daughters’ self-esteem and on equality for women in the workplace, we believe they have even farther-reaching, more deleterious implications for our children and society

As an ob-gyn physician and a child psychologist who raised our kids together, we’ve been increasingly concerned about the trend in sexualization of women and children.

We think that Trump’s behavior promotes this extremely detrimental process, which is linked to many problems including male aggression and violence against women and girls.

As opposed to undergoing healthy sexual development, girls are now pressured to grow up sexualized.

Interpreting the American Psychological Association’s Taskforce Report, any one of the following indicates sexualization of a girl: 1) she or others believe that her value is mainly or solely based on her sexual appeal or behavior; 2) her sexiness equates with a narrowly defined, unrealistic standard of physical attractiveness; 3) she is not a person but an object (a thing) to be evaluated and used by others for sexual purposes; or 4) sexuality is imposed on her (such as child sexual abuse).

Research clearly shows that sexualization imposes dangerous beliefs and behaviors on both girls and boys.

For girls, it’s associated with lower self-esteem, early initiation of sexual activity, depression, and anxiety, risk factors for being victimized by manipulation, and sexual, dating, and domestic violence.

Female sexualization makes both boys and girls more likely to be accepting of stereotypical gender roles and sexual aggression and violence against women, and to have lower empathy for victims.

When boys and young men believe that women are supposed to be sexual objects and men are to be dominant and aggressive, they’re more likely to mistreat women and commit rape.

Read More: What The Election Of Florida’s Racist, Conspiracy Believing Governor In 1916 Should Teach Us About 2016

Essentially, sexualization may function to keep girls “in their place” as objects of sexual use and beauty, while at the same time promoting aggression and violence against them.

Boys can but are less likely to be sexualized.

What does this have to do with Donald Trump?

Raising emotionally healthy and behaviorally smart children who don’t intentionally harm others based on gender or other differences requires that parents and other authority figures demonstrate belief in gender equality and respect for human dignity and work to stop the scourge of bullying.

Trump’s consistent, overt valuation of women such as former Miss Universe Alicia Machado, news anchors and reporters, celebrities, and political opponents based on body features like weight, buttocks, and breast size cannot be misconstrued—it clearly indicates belief that females are not equal to males but are objects to be rated by body type, demeaned, dominated, and used.


Trump after giving a speech at an October rally in Arizona. Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The double standard for male Trump surrogates, for whom physical characteristics like weight appear inconsequential, and hiring campaign associates accused of sexual harassment and domestic violence support this.

Donald even minimized and accepted sexual violence in the military as an expected consequence of having female and male soldiers working together.

This demonstrated his probable belief in a common rape myth: that rape is an impulsive, uncontrollable act of sexual gratification for men when they’re around women.

Yet he also benefits from women who may not fit his mold of acceptable, sexualized female “looks,” but who excuse his reprehensible remarks as silliness or blame victims for being too sensitive.

Read More: The One Thing Clinton and Trump Need During the Next Debate According To Business School Professors

These remarks aren’t silly, but deadly serious.

Trump has even shown sexualized attitudes toward children including his own daughters. When asked about one-year-old Tiffany, he remarked that she was a really beautiful baby who has her mother’s legs and then making a gesture indicating breasts, commented that time will tell if she got her mother’s breasts.

Who says that about their baby girl?

A believer and promoter of sexualization of girls would.

Inappropriate statements about daughter Ivanka’s beautiful body and desire to date her (if he weren’t her father) have also emerged.

Upon meeting his good friends’ daughter, Paris Hilton when she was 12 years old, he reportedly said, “Who the hell is that?” and recounting the story said, “At 12, I wasn’t interested. . . but she was beautiful, ” reflecting attitudes that can result in abusing children sexually.

He later claimed to watch Hilton’s teenage sex tape that was leaked against her will.

In addition, Trump bullies women, as he tries to humiliate and dominate by using taunts, threats, sexual comments, rumors, lies, and name-calling, including referring to them as animals like pigs or dogs to dehumanize and reduce empathy for them.

Dehumanization and reduced empathy are common elements of an aggressive or violent perpetrator’s psyche allowing him or her to intentionally harm others for personal gain, free from a pesky conscience.

Bullies often manipulate people.

We believe that when Donald says, “I love women,” it reflects his love for what they can do for him rather than any interest in their well-being.

After all, he verbally attacks women who disagree with him.

Likely narcissism doesn’t afford him the ability to consider opinions different from his self-serving ones, making it difficult to nonaggressively react to other people’s perspectives, or to perceived challenges to his ego.

He instead uses classic modes of male dominance: interrupting women when they’re talking, and dismissing concerns or questions as indicating mental instability, “neuroticism,” or even—yes, really—menstruation!

By the way, when adults in children’s lives promote bullying or sexualization, or don’t speak up against others who do, it condones these behaviors.

So you can really help your kids by recognizing and expressing your disapproval of these practices, and by expecting kind and respectful treatment of men and women as whole people with thoughts and feelings.

Presidents are prominent authority figures who influence the behavior of others, including youth, and who should represent a nation’s overarching values—at least in a democracy.

As the leader of the free world, our next president will be in a position to either help reduce violence and aggression and promote gender equality shown to be vital underpinnings of good childhood outcomes for both boys and girls, or, alternatively, to usher in new heights of degradation of our daughters, harming their health and safety.

Words matter, and parents need to speak out to protect their children.

For practical methods to squelch sexualization, bullying, and sexual violence, see the authors’ new book, WARNING SIGNS: How to Protect Your Kids from Becoming Victims or Perpetrators of Violence and Aggression and website warningsignsforparents.com.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in the world. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Jeff Turner/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

The One Thing Clinton and Trump Need During the Next Debate According To Business School Professors

By Mario Moussa and Derek Newberry

As we get ready to watch the second presidential debate, you might be scratching your head about a tale of two countries.

In Trump’s telling, America is a nation in decline that needs a turnaround.

Clinton sees a leading world power that should continue on the positive trajectory created under the Obama administration.

As business school professors who specialize in the human side of organizations, there is one thing – that many may find surprising – each candidate needs during this next debate: a story.

At this point, you might be thinking that elections are really all about pocketbook issues and politicians’ stories are just a bunch of fluff.

We have a different point of view: hard-nosed policies and strategies are worthless without a good story. Whether people realize it or not, they think in stories. The best communicators know this and make the most of it.

Storytelling: The Crucial Leadership Skill

A famous experiment by two psychologists in the 1940s showed subjects a short clip of two triangles and a circle moving around, and asked them to describe what they saw.

Where some described a bully terrorizing two children and a jealous father protecting his daughter, others saw different dramas.

The imagined scenarios differed, but what they had in common was that nearly all of the subjects told a story about the shapes without any prompting.

Why are stories so pervasive?

Because they are how people make sense of their environment and get along with co-workers or fellow citizens.

The most brilliant policy can fall flat if it is not communicated with a strong narrative that makes it real and compelling for the people who are supposed to implement it.

Far from fluff, good story-telling is a crucial leadership skill for motivating commitment and moving a strategy from abstract idea to action.

Hence the importance of the two recent political conventions.

Like an annual corporate retreat, their purpose is not only to explain a specific policy platform but also to tell a story that motivates and guides those who need to carry it out.

In this respect, we think Clinton right now is in a stronger position as she goes into his next debate.

She does three things especially well.

And the next time you need to get your point across, you should remember them:

Create Empathy

In any good story, the audience should empathize with the main characters.

According to screenwriter Robert McKee, the key to creating empathy is to portray a character who is overcoming a struggle.

This can make even an unsympathetic person relatable.

Steve Jobs wasn’t known for his humility, but his story about returning to Apple after having been pushed out is one we can all root for.

Trump has been focused on communicating his greatness, but not on talking about overcoming hardships to get there.

Just recently, he stumbled again by referring to the jobs he has created as one of his “sacrifices.”

Clinton creates empathy by acknowledging that she struggles with the “public” part of public service – that is, the aspect of it that involves public speaking.

She deftly turns this weakness into a strength by recounting how she pushes through it because she cares deeply about the service part.

Paint a Picture

If you boil any rom-com movie down to its most basic elements, they are all pretty much the same: beginning, middle, and end.

In other words, every story starts with a typical everyday situation, which is then disrupted by some new or unusual event, which sets in motion of series of actions that lead to a resolution and a return to normalcy.

So what separates a classic like Annie Hall from a flop like Gigli? The difference is in the detail.

Good stories use vivid imagery to make abstract ideas feel real and bring the audience along.

On this count, Trump misses the mark. When his family talks, their speeches provide a great opportunity to show the candidate’s lighter side.

While the Trump clan mentions plenty of great qualities, their speeches are light on anecdotes that would help us visualize how he lives these values in his everyday life.

By giving details about Hillary’s personal life, such as how she met Bill or how she stays connected to Chelsea while on the road, the Clintons paint a more compelling picture of the Democratic candidate’s values.

Make the Audience Your Hero

As speaking coach Nick Morgan reminds us, every story has a hero and when you need other people to help you get things done, you are likely to get more buy-in if you put them in the starring role.

Think of how rockstar Bono has driven support for his ONE campaign by imploring: “We can be the generation that ends poverty.”

This is why Trump’s declaration that “I alone can fix” the political system is perhaps the weakest moment of his debate.

Clinton, by contrast, hits on the theme of becoming “stronger together,” making voters the heroes of her campaign’s story.

Far from fluff, stories are a critical execution tool.

On the campaign trail, they help leaders communicate strategy, rally support and guide implementation.

Republican strategist Mark McKinnon, who headed up communications for the George W. Bush campaigns, once said that the successful candidate is the one who tells the better story.

So far, by this measure, we think Clinton is pulling away from her opponent.

Dr. Mario Moussa and Dr. Derek Newberry are the authors of Committed Teams: Three Steps to Inspiring Passion and Performance. Dr. Moussa teaches in the Executive Programs at Wharton School of Executive Education. Dr. Newberry is a lecturer at the Wharton School. Connect with Dr. Moussa at www.moussaconsulting.com, and with Dr. Newberry via Twitter, @derekonewberry.

Bernie Sanders Is A Sore Loser And It’s Hurting His Legacy

Bernie Sanders has every right to stay in the race, but the longer he stays in, the more trouble he is causing within the party itself, and therefore the greater chance Donald Trump has to be President.

In early May, the Nevada Democratic Convention saw violent outbursts following an announcement that a slight majority of the state’s delegates would be allocated to frontrunner Hillary Clinton.

Some supporters of the Vermont Senator in attendance expressed their displeasure with this by throwing chairs, screaming, and threatening state party chairwoman Roberta Lange.

Sanders response to these violent outbursts from his supporters is more worrisome than anything.

While he condemned it, he did not do much to convince his voters from refraining from it in the future.

The chaos in Nevada led some to predict similar reactions to the National Democratic Convention in Philadelphia come July.

To this idea, Sanders did not dismiss the extrapolation that such ferocity erupting at the convention would be terribly damaging to the Democratic Party as a whole.

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Instead, the senator told the Associated Press that the convention could be “messy.”

“I think if they make the right choice and open the doors to working-class people and young people and create the kind of dynamism that the Democratic Party needs, it’s going to be messy,” Sanders said. “Democracy is not always nice and quiet and gentle but that is where the Democratic party should go.”

The messiness that Sanders speaks to here was elaborated on more by the senator himself further.

“So what? Democracy is messy. Everyday my life is messy. But if you want everything to be quiet and orderly and allow, you know, just things to proceed without vigorous debate, that is not what democracy is about,” Sanders said.

This idea sounds nice. But his adage that his candidacy is going to change democracy is a tad overzealous.

He is not a bad candidate by any means, but it is becoming clearer every day that he simply does not know when to quit.

Clinton holds a ten percent lead in California, according to Real Clear Politics.

It is a key state should Sanders wish to stage the comeback he believes he can, but so far it looks as if that is another empty dream just as so many other states quickly became over time.

What gets Sanders and his supporters so angry is their unending insistence that some sort of foul play must have taken place and that it makes for the only possible reason that Sanders is not going to beat Hillary Clinton.

However, there is no real evidence of that actually happening on a scale large enough to make a difference. While it may seem that everyone and their brother is voting for Bernie, the results in many contests throughout the country show us that it is simply an untrue assessment of this race.

Now Clinton is by no means a perfect candidate and it would be unreasonable to expect all Bernie supporters to worship the ground she walks on once she wins the nomination, but the candidate himself citing this election, should it come down to Clinton and Trump, as a choice between the lesser of two evils is troublesome.

That statement along with so many others that have been made over the election will make it incredibly hard for any sort of endorsement of Clinton by Sanders in the future to seem genuine.

Clinton is simply not the lesser of two evils. Electing Donald Trump as the 45th President of the United States would make the country a laughingstock.

Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC by 2.0)

Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC by 2.0)

His brash and offensive campaign is not indicative of real American values and thus the notion that Clinton is somehow only slightly better than him remains utterly ridiculous.

Obviously Sanders wants to be president, but it becomes more evident every day that that will not become reality.

As he continues to attribute his losses to corruption within the system or other seemingly outlandish claims, it shows that he is unable to come to the realization that his “revolution” simply did not work.

Likewise, the violence that some of his supporters are inciting shows that they too are a part of the problem.

Of course, a majority of Sanders voters are sensible and will vote for Clinton come November even if it is done so begrudgingly.

Like this? You can write for us too

But the longer Sanders stays in and the more he claims that corruption has persisted because he has lost based in part on rules that have existed for decades, the more fuel it adds to the fire for the Bernie Bros and their Bernie or Bust mantra.

The Bernie Sanders Revolution, if it can even be called that, is not strong enough to make a lasting claim. While he has pushed the party and Clinton herself further left, it remains that that is all will come of his candidacy.

While whether or not the nominating process is fair is a worthwhile debate, there is just absolutely no substance behind the claim that the system is rigged to hurt Sanders in this election.

Successful politicians own up to losses and show an ability to compromise. That is what Clinton did when she lost to Barack Obama in 2008.

She swallowed her pride, accepted the loss, and even took a position in the cabinet of the very man who beat her to realizing her dream of becoming president.

Sanders is not showing an ability to do that here. His attacks on Clinton only become harsher over time, rather than a tad softer as it becomes clear he has no real path to the nomination.

While he cannot give up the values he has attested to so strongly throughout the campaign, he must do what every other runner up has done and show he has a strong enough ego to begin to work with his opponent rather than still trying to tear her down this late in the game.

If the polls as they stand today emulate any results that come out of California on June 7, it will become even clearer that Sanders needs to accept that he will not win the nomination.

But it remains important to his legacy that he does so sooner rather than later so his image as a sore loser can begin to be erased and so that his ideas can stand as his real legacy.

RISE NEWS is a grassroots journalism news organization that is working to change the way young people become informed and engaged in public affairs. You can write for us.

Cover Photo Credit: Phil Roeder/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

Watch Live: Hillary Clinton At The Benghazi House Hearing

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is on Capital Hill today facing questions from members of the Benghazi Committee in an important moment with serious implications for the 2016 election.

Watch the hearing live below: (Video from Federal Network/ UStream)

Adapt or Die: The GOP Should Embrace Gay Marriage So They Can Stay Politically Relevant To Young People

In June, same sex marriage advocates won a major victory when the Supreme Court ruled that same-sex couples had a right to marry in all 50 states. The ruling was a major step forward for the LGBT community and has become a massive political powder keg for the Republican Party.

As the GOP primaries continue, many conservative leaders and presidential hopefuls have come out strongly against the Supreme Court decision in the hope of striking a chord with the religious right.

Mike Huckabee has repeatedly denounced the Supreme Court decision, going as far as to compare the Supreme Court to King George III. Huckabee was also present when Kim Davis, a Kentucky clerk imprisoned for refusing to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples, was released from prison and has vowed to protect Davis’ constitutional rights.

Although Huckabee has been one of the most vocal in his outrage against the Supreme Court’s decision, he is far from the only opponent.

Gov. Bobby Jindal has said that the ruling “tramples states rights” and that “no earthly court” can alter God’s will. Sen. Ted Cruz also came out against the ruling, going as far as proposing a constitutional amendment that would make justices subject to “periodic judicial retention elections”.

Although statements such as these may prove to resonate amongst the conservative base of the party, the statistics prove that they are out of touch with the viewpoint held by the majority of Americans. According to research done by the Pew Research Center, 57% of Americans now favor making same-sex marriage legal. Among millennials this number increases to nearly 73%.

So why do so many Republicans still come out so staunchly against or apathetical to same sex marriage? To understand this political paradox, one need only remember that we are in the middle of the Republican primaries.

The party finds itself at the same crossroad that the Democrats were at during the 1960’s. The party was torn between the traditional Southern Democrats who stood opposed to Civil Rights, and New Deal Progressives who were adapting to meet the demands of the American people.

In politics as in nature, the side that most often wins is the side that is most capable of adapting to the new political environment. The more inclusive any political movement is and the more receptive it is to change, the more likely that political movement is to grow in size and strength. Those who oppose this change in favor of exclusive and absolutist politics more often than not will find themselves facing extinction, and relegation to the waste bin of history.

Like this piece? Rise News just launched a few weeks ago and is only getting started. Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to stay up to date with global news.

Cover Photo Credit: Michael Vadon/ Flickr (CC By 2.0)

“A Complex Story”: Hillary Clinton Posts Late Night Apology On Facebook

In a latenight Facebook post, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton apologized for her role in a deepening email scandal.

In the post, Clinton admitted that she should have used two email addresses during her time at the State Department-something that Colin Powell said he did during his time in the role.

Read Clinton’s full message below:

“I wanted you to hear this directly from me:

Yes, I should have used two email addresses, one for personal matters and one for my work at the State Department. Not doing so was a mistake. I’m sorry about it, and I take full responsibility.

It’s important for you to know a few key facts. My use of a personal email account was aboveboard and allowed under the State Department’s rules. Everyone I communicated with in government was aware of it. And nothing I ever sent or received was marked classified at the time. 

As this process proceeds, I want to be as transparent as possible. That’s why I’ve provided all of my work emails to the government to be released to the public, and why I’ll be testifying in public in front of the Benghazi Committee later next month.

I know this is a complex story. I could have—and should have—done a better job answering questions earlier. I’m grateful for your support, and I’m not taking anything for granted.

I understand that you may have more questions, and I am going to work to keep answering them. If you want to read more, including my emails themselves, please go here:


Thank you,


Cover Photo Credit:Marc Nozell/Flickr (CC BY 2.0)

Scroll to top