Professor explains importance of feminism under Trump presidency

She says ambitious women viewed as less qualified than men


JONI COBARRUBIAS | The Daily Evergreen

Amy Allen, author and scholar from Penn State University, discusses the role of feminism in the 2016 presidential election and how it may evolve under the Trump administration.

DEENA MIGLIAZZO, Evergreen reporter

A visiting speaker told students that Americans are living in a country that is run by an unqualified, temperamental, inappropriate man who has bragged about sexually assaulting women and belittled disabled individuals.

Amy Allen, a professor in the Department of Philosophy and Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies at Pennsylvania State University, said that the results of the 2016 presidential election showed that feminism is a critical issue in America.

Women, such as former presidential candidate Hillary Clinton, aren’t viewed as capable as men in their ability to fulfill the duties of the presidency, Allen said. She added that during U.S. President Donald Trump’s campaign, there was an underlying sexist narrative toward women in general, elaborating with a quote from Clinton’s book, “What Happened.”

“A whole lot of people listened to the tape of [Trump] bragging about sexually assaulting women, shrugged and said, ‘He still gets my vote,’ ” Allen read from the book.

According to the New York Times, 53 percent of white women voted for Trump, along with 62 percent of white women without a college degree, 26 percent of Latina women, and 4 percent of black women.

Allen said those statistics show that many white women don’t prioritize feminism or consider its impact in their lives.

“The voting results for white women show either a large number of women are sexist, or don’t care about sexism,” she said.

People believe that women are not capable of performing the same tasks as men, Allen said. It appears the more ambitious women are, the less likeable, authentic and trustworthy they seem, she added.

Kathryn Sutherland, a WSU student attending the event, said that under Trump’s administration the word feminism has become divisive. When people hear it, they automatically believe that women are bringing up a problem that has been solved.

“[We need] to continue to reach out to people in our everyday lives who are not on the same board,” Sutherland said. “Explain that feminism is not being better than men or complaining or being whiny. It is to hear the actual problems, the wage gap. It’s the political, social, economic equality of the sexes. Trying to get them on board is so hard under Trump.”