The Election: Boys Are Watching, But Are Parents Saying Anything Meaningful?

“The routine use of dehumanizing descriptions of people who Trump “others” has caused anxiety, despair, and anger in many people. In terms of women—many of whom are already affected by his xenophobic and racist rhetoric—his language is not only denigrating, but, because he is directly competing with a woman, often mimics the linguistic patterns of verbal abuse that so many women are familiar with. Name-calling, telling people what do to, playing “word games” (i.e. interrupting, mimicking, mocking, changing the subject), asserting superiority, threatening, and intimidating. He doesn’t only do this in terms of women, but also in terms of how he talks to and responds to people of color, immigrants, Muslims, and the disabled.

Learning to interrupt, mimic, mock, and change the subject are, for boys, often seen as markers of masculinity. They display these patterns in classrooms, dinner tables, and in other social settings, such as playgrounds, and when they do, they are often assisted by adults. That doesn’t mean that all boys are abusers or will grow up to be, but it does mean that by the time girls become women, they often experience these behaviors as tolerated expressions of dominance.”

“Studies show that more than 75% of parents never talk to their children about intimate partner violence and sexual assault. What are they doing during this election season, when one of the presidential candidates exhibits the verbal and physical characteristics of an abuser?”

Chemaly, Soraya. 2016. “The Election: Boys Are Watching, But Are Parents Saying Anything Meaningful?Role-Reboot, October 24.

[I originally saw this posted on my Facebook newsfeed by the excellent page “The Mask You Live In,” which, I think, is run by the same people who did the also-excellent film of the same name. Links in original, the picture is not.]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: