Prof. Maria Guadalupe, an economics and political science associate professor, had an idea.
What would happen if Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton had switched genders?
What would have happened if everything Trump said was said with the face of a woman? If everything Clinton said was said with the face of a man?
Guadalupe consulted with educational theater professor Joe Salvatore, who specializes in plays called “ethnodramas,” which are theatrical adaptations of real life events, to work out the idea.
Guadalupe set up a recreation of sections of the original debates using actors to play the roles of Trump, Clinton and the moderator. All the words the actors spoke were taken from transcripts. The candidates’ body language and delivery were studied and the actors did their best to match it moment-to-moment to video feeds from the actual debates. The only difference was that Donald Trump was now a woman renamed Brenda King while Hillary was now a man dubbed Jonathan Gordon.
Watch the fascinating result:
From Daily Wire:
“We both thought that the inversion would confirm our liberal assumption—that no one would have accepted Trump’s behavior from a woman, and that the male Clinton would seem like the much stronger candidate,” said Salvatore. “But we kept checking in with each other and realized that this disruption—a major change in perception—was happening. I had an unsettled feeling the whole way through.”
Salvatore noted that at one point he turned to Guadalupe and, in reference to the female Trump, said, “I kind of want to have a beer with her!
Many of the people who watched the 2 performances that were held were astonished how it upended their perceptions.
Many were shocked to find that they couldn’t seem to find in Jonathan Gordon what they had admired in Hillary Clinton—or that Brenda King’s clever tactics seemed to shine in moments where they’d remembered Donald Trump flailing or lashing out. For those Clinton voters trying to make sense of the loss, it was by turns bewildering and instructive, raising as many questions about gender performance and effects of sexism as it answered.
The simplicity of Trump’s message became easier for people to hear when it was coming from a woman—that was a theme. One person said, “I’m just so struck by how precise Trump’s technique is.” Another—a musical theater composer, actually—said that Trump created “hummable lyrics,” while Clinton talked a lot, and everything she was was true and factual, but there was no “hook” to it. Another theme was about not liking either candidate—you know, “I wouldn’t vote for either one.” Someone said that Jonathan Gordon [the male Hillary Clinton] was “really punchable” because of all the smiling
It gave some who couldn’t understand why their relatives had voted for Trump some understanding of what they saw.
It increased rather than decreased how insufferable the revised Clinton character appeared to be.
It made some wonder if Trump had been a woman, would he, or more exactly she, have won by much more.
In short, a fascinating experiment about stripping away perceptions and prejudices.