Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump has proven himself an equal-opportunity degrader, but his denigration of women stands out for its special emphasis on the physical. Trump would refer to a woman as a “a slob,” describe a woman’s face as “fat, ugly,” and note of a woman that “she ate like a pig.” Indeed, he has said all of those things.
And now Hillary Clinton’s camp has set those phrases, in Trump’s own voice, to images of adolescent girls looking at themselves in the mirror, in a striking new campaign ad that asks: “Is this the president we want for our daughters?”
The visuals alone make for a distressing sight: adolescent girls are especially vulnerable to comments about their physical appearance. Up to 88% of them are unhappy with their bodies, and many of them suffer from eating disorders as a consequence. With Trump’s words piped in, the effect quickly goes from distressing to dehumanizing.
So many women will recognize themselves in these girls, and remember that growing up meant hearing—from TV, ads, and culture in general—everything that was wrong with their bodies. This generation, Clinton reminds America’s parents, risks hearing it from the president, too.