Wednesday, August 3, 2016

More than a Baby

It may be a bit odd to critique Donald Trump for his baby run-in yesterday when he’s also been talking about using nuclear weapons, but I came across this mini-essay on why his response to a baby crying is more disturbing than one might think at first.

It’s by a woman named Amadi Lovelace:

In talking about Trump and the baby, people seem to be focusing on the idea of "who yells at a baby?" And it is kind of in line with our questions about his temperament to frame this as Trump yelling at a baby.

But he didn't yell at a baby. He yelled at a woman who had a baby.

And more importantly, he didn't just yell at her, he gaslighted her, telling her at first that it was OK that her baby was fussing, and then acting like she was nuts for taking him at his word and should have somehow divined magically that he actually wanted her to leave.

This was an example of three horrible things all wrapped up in one. First, Trump's tendency toward doublespeak, saying one thing, meaning the exact opposite and acting like everyone else is bizarre and ignorant for taking his words at face value. Second, the aforementioned gaslighting, which is an always an abuse tactic, full out.

Third, and this is a little more nuanced, it's a prime example of the insidious way in which parenting forces women, especially, out of public life. When babies aren't welcome somewhere, when babies start crying, it is mothers who are expected to stay home, mothers who are expected to take the baby out, mothers whose lives are interrupted.

It's not "Trump yells at a baby."

It's "Trump uses abusive tactics and reinforces marginalization of women with children by yelling at mother of young baby."

Sometimes brevity is the enemy of an accurate picture of just how bad something is.

1 comment:

Gina said...

Thanks for posting this. When I saw the clip of Trump on the news, I was appalled by the way he first told the woman it was OK, then turned around and said, no, she had to leave. How can you trust what this guy says? Plus, he seems to think that people can read his mind. That's a hallmark of an abuser. The guy has more psychological issues than any presidential candidate in my memory.