How Donald Trump Accidentally Killed A Sexist Stereotype During The First Debate

Donald Trump's presidential debate performance Monday night left a lot to be desired. The Republican nominee was rambling, ill-prepared, and disruptive, without much decorum or respect for the process or institution of presidential debates. By contrast, his opponent Hillary Clinton was a port in a storm, a calm and measured politician who kept the focus on the facts. The stark differences in their comportment showed just how unstable and easily flustered Trump is, and simultaneously bolstered Clinton's reputation as a strong and centered leader. It's one of the most crucial impressions Clinton needed to make Monday night. Arguably, Trump actually helped destroy the sexist stereotype that women are too emotional for power positions, because he was by far the more swayed by his emotions on the debate stage.

While Trump frequently espouses terribly sexist views and slings hurtful comments at women, this time, he's actually helping to break down one of the most pervasive stereotypes about women. Even in 2016, there are some people who believe that women wouldn't make good presidents because they're too emotional, but anyone who watched the debate last night would have a hard time levying that stereotype against the first major party's female candidate for president.

Of course, neither gender should ever be criticized for showing emotion. That said, Trump's performance at the debate — the first time that he has faced off against Clinton in person — showed how off-kilter Trump became under pressure, and just how grounded she is. The dynamic between the two candidates flew in the face of the jokes your sexist uncle will make over Thanksgiving dinner about whether Clinton is too hysterical for the job.

Clinton reinforced the image of Trump as sexist in order to push the idea that he's not mature or socially aware enough for the job, using examples like that of former Miss Universe Alicia Machado — but it wasn't even necessary. Just by virtue of his constant interruptions, self-congratulatory statements, and under-baked arguments, Trump came across as privileged and self-important, the type of guy who doesn't think he needs facts or logic on his side, and then throws a tantrum when you ask him to support his claims.

Clinton is by far the most qualified presidential candidate, and that lifelong preparation really came through for her on Monday night. Particularly when contrasted with Trump's weak arguments and bad attitude after the debate, there's no doubt who won the game of perception. Clinton can thank Trump for both helping her and helping women everywhere. Trump has basically disproved any notion of male superiority in politics, and gotten the country closer to breaking the glass ceiling of the presidency.