Teenage girl explains dangers of body-shaming to Hillary Clinton: ‘I see the damage Donald Trump does’

The 15-year-old was speaking at an election event in Pennsylvania 

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The Independent US

Her name was Brennan Leach, she was 15 years old, and she had a rather good question regarding Donald Trump’s controversial comments and the pressure on women and girls about their appearance.

Sitting in the audience at a so-called town hall event in Pennsylvania being held by Mr Trump’s rival, Hillary Clinton, the teenager stood up and introduced herself. 

“Hello Madam Secretary, I’m Brennan, I’m 15 years old and at my school body image is a real issue for girls my age,” she said. “I’ve seen with my own eyes, the damage Donald Trump does when he talks about women and how they look.”

Ms Clinton was among those who applauded the question (AP)

Looking at Ms Clinton, she then asked: “As the first female president, how would you undo some of that damage and help girls understand that they are so much more than just what they look like?”

Mr Trump has been at the centre of controversy for more than a week over his treatment of a former Miss Universe, Alicia Machado, whom he publicly shamed two decades ago over the issue of her weight. 

Ms Clinton brought up the issue during the first presidential debate, and the issue so got under Mr Trump’s skin that he spent time one morning tweeting about the topic in a tweet storm that began at 3am.

“She was the worst we ever had. The worst. The absolute worst. She was impossible,” Mr Trump told one news channel. “She was the winner, and she gained a massive amount of weight, and it was a real problem. We had a real problem.”

Ms Leach is the daughter of a Democratic state senator, Daylin Leach. Reports said that one of her friends killed themselves last year. The teenager’s question about Mr Trump’s comments earned her a huge round of applause, with people clapping and cheering. Ms Clinton also thanked her for raising the issue.

“I am so proud of you for asking that question,” Ms Clinton said.

“Young women begin to get influenced at earlier and earlier ages. We have to stand up against that — women and men, mothers and fathers, teachers, everybody.”

Ms Clinton said that Mr Trump had “insulted Miss Universe” - suggesting that her rival thought nobody was sufficiently beautiful to his eyes.

“We can’t take any of this seriously anymore. We need to laugh at it, we need to refute it, we need to ignore it and we need to stand up to it,” she said.

“The pressure of being talked about that way leads some women to try and hurt themselves So we have to be as clear as possible, you are more than the way you look.”