Intr o duct i o n 7 have used it effectively to shape the policy agenda and communicate with the public. Franklin Delano Roosevelt used radio addresses in the form of folksy fireside chats to calm a nation confronting the Great Depression,46 and John F. Kennedy became “our first television president,” with many crediting the medium for his election victory after his televised debate with Richard Nixon in 1960.47 President Trump favored using Twitter to communicate with the public with direct immediacy, circumventing or preempting the press.48 In the more than twenty-five thousand tweets he sent during his presidency,49 he often mocked and pilloried his critics and aggressively promoted his “America First” and “Make America Great Again” (#MAGA) agenda. In our chapter “The Commander in Chief and the Bully Pulpit,” we examine President Trump’s use of Twitter with a specific eye toward its implications for women. After identifying a couple of hundred of his most commonly used descriptors, we developed a mnemonic device, dividing them into six categories that spell out the word SILENT: (1) Stature and stamina, (2) Intelligence, (3) Looks and loathsomeness, (4) Emotional state, (5) Necessary qualifications, and (6) Trustworthiness. Though Trump by no means exclusively targeted women for attack with his barbed tweets, his mode of attack employed well-established tactics to discredit women, particularly those who challenged or criticized him. With staccato repe- tition and reference to sexist stereotypes, Trump’s tweets played on prior beliefs that women were not trustworthy or competent, that they lacked the intelligence and stamina of men—himself, in particular—and trivial- ized them by sizing up their appearance, repeatedly branding some women as ugly, irrational, neurotic, incompetent, and disgusting. As we discuss in the chapter to follow, such characterizations are damaging not only to the individual women who found themselves subject to attack but also to the collective persona of women as effective operators in the public sphere. Discrediting narratives about women, such as those promulgated in Trump’s tweets, can influence policy outcomes that have implications for women’s access to justice and treatment under the law. In the campus context, the Trump administration rolled back interpretations of Title IX, established during the Obama era, that had made it easier for students to report and seek redress in cases of campus sexual assault. Much of the dia- logue surrounding this policy change was built on beliefs about women lacking trustworthiness or competence when offering testimony about the incidence of sexual assault. Adversarial sexual beliefs and hostility toward women, two elements of Johnson and Johnson’s model of rape culture, arguably underpinned the policy change, which offered the solution to a
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