This letter to Trump about his 'respect for women' comment is really for everyone.

Men need to step up in the fight for gender justice.

President Donald Trump makes a lot of big claims. It's kind of his thing.

For instance, he once claimed to have "the world's greatest memory" (a claim he later forgot making). Then there was the time he told a black pastor that he was "the least racist person that you have ever met" (which is quite the claim to make even if you didn't open your presidential campaign by labeling Mexicans as "rapists" and "criminals").

But perhaps the most hyperbolically "WTF" phrase he's ever uttered was about women.


GIF from ABC News/YouTube.

Even if you were to set aside his history of misogynistic comments and the accusations of assault and harassment by a bevy of women throughout the years, we're to believe that nobody has more respect for women? Seems unlikely — on a purely statistical level.

That's why gender justice group Promundo is calling on Trump to make good on his farfetched boast and "Be a Model Man."

The group encourages men and boys to partner with women and girls in the fight for gender equality, working to defeat harmful gender norms and disrupt power dynamics that drive gender-based injustices worldwide.

This week, the group posted an open letter to the president on its website.

"During the campaign, you said, 'Nobody has more respect for women than I do,'" reads the letter. "Yet, you have said and done things that many people consider to be disrespectful. As men who believe manhood is not about disrespecting women, we call on you to make amends and to set a new tone."

While directed at Trump, the letter serves as a call to action for men around the country to support the fight for gender equality.

On January 21, just one day after Trump took office, millions participated in what was originally planned as the Women's March on Washington, with sister marches popping up around the world in solidarity.

Standing up to the president, who was recorded on a hot mic saying, "When you’re a star, [women] let you do it. You can do anything. ... Grab ’em by the pussy," and once claimed that one of his sexual assault accusers "would not be [his] first choice," it's important to remember the culture that empowers men to say and do things like that in the first place.

GIF from Bloomberg Politics/YouTube.

The ongoing attacks against reproductive rights and changes to grants under the Violence Against Women Act are much more than "identity politics," as some would like to suggest.

These issues, innately gendered as they are, are core to who we are as a country and who we want to be as a country. Promundo's open letter calls on the president to "champion the rights of all women." Even if he won't, you — and other men — can!

It's simple, dudes, really. Set a good example, be your best self, use your voice and platform to advance causes of justice, and push back on unfair gendered power dynamics. Fighting for women's rights means taking a stand for women of all backgrounds, religions, financial situations, sexual orientations, and abilities. It means standing next to — and not in front of —women, using your privilege to make space for women and amplifying women's voices and experiences whenever possible.

Whatever Trump does or doesn't do, remember that it's up to you to decide whether you want to #BeAModelMan.

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Disney has come under fire for problematic portrayals of non-white and non-western cultures in many of its older movies. They aren't the only one, of course, but since their movies are an iconic part of most American kids' childhoods, Disney's messaging holds a lot of power.

Fortunately, that power can be used for good, and Disney can serve as an example to other companies if they learn from their mistakes, account for their misdeeds, and do the right thing going forward. Without getting too many hopes up, it appears that the entertainment giant may have actually done just that with the new Frozen II film.

According to NOW Toronto, the producers of Frozen II have entered into a contract with the Sámi people—the Indigenous people of the Scandinavian regions—to ensure that they portray the culture with respect.

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Though there was not a direct portrayal of the Sámi in the first Frozen movie, the choral chant that opens the film was inspired by an ancient Sámi vocal tradition. In addition, the clothing worn by Kristoff closely resembled what a Sámi reindeer herder would wear. The inclusion of these elements of Sámi culture with no context or acknowledgement sparked conversations about cultural appropriation and erasure on social media.

Frozen II features Indigenous culture much more directly, and even addressed the issue of Indigenous erasure. Filmmakers Jennifer Lee and Chris Buck, along with producer Peter Del Vecho, consulted with experts on how to do that respectfully—the experts, of course, being the Sámi people themselves.

Sámi leaders met with Disney producer Peter Del Vecho in September 2019.Sámediggi Sametinget/Flickr

The Sámi parliaments of Norway, Sweden and Finland, and the non-governmental Saami Council reached out to the filmmakers when they found out their culture would be highlighted in the film. They formed a Sámi expert advisory group, called Verddet, to assist filmmakers in with how to accurately and respectfully portray Sámi culture, history, and society.

In a contract signed by Walt Disney Animation Studios and Sámi leaders, the Sámi stated their position that "their collective and individual culture, including aesthetic elements, music, language, stories, histories, and other traditional cultural expressions are property that belong to the Sámi," and "that to adequately respect the rights that the Sámi have to and in their culture, it is necessary to ensure sensitivity, allow for free, prior, and informed consent, and ensure that adequate benefit sharing is employed."

RELATED: This aboriginal Australian used kindness and tea to trump the racism he overheard.

Disney agreed to work with the advisory group, to produce a version of Frozen II in one Sámi language, as well as to "pursue cross-learning opportunities" and "arrange for contributions back to the Sámi society."

Anne Lájla Utsi, managing director at the International Sámi Film Institute, was part of the Verddet advisory group. She told NOW, "This is a good example of how a big, international company like Disney acknowledges the fact that we own our own culture and stories. It hasn't happened before."

"Disney's team really wanted to make it right," said Utsi. "They didn't want to make any mistakes or hurt anybody. We felt that they took it seriously. And the film shows that. We in Verddet are truly proud of this collaboration."

Sounds like you've done well this time, Disney. Let's hope such cultural sensitivity and collaboration continues, and that other filmmakers and production companies will follow suit.

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