Why Trump’s Comments Are So Much More Than “Locker Room Banter”

Photo Credit: Matt A.J. via Flickr

Photo Credit: Matt A.J. via Flickr

A few quick, but important, disclaimers:

  • This is a post about Donald Trump – and about rape culture.  This isn’t a post about Hillary Clinton, or Bill Clinton, or any other Democrat (or any other Republican for that matter). This is about the actions of one individual.  When you lead your rebuttal with, “But Hillary…” or “What about Bill…” all it does is make me think you can’t articulate your own feelings about Trump well enough to discuss them without deflecting onto something/someone else.  This isn’t about Hillary Clinton.  That’s another discussion.
  • I hate talking about anything remotely political.  Hate it.  It makes my stomach hurt and my heart race and my mouth go dry.  I know that some people love a good political debate.  I do not.  So for me to write about something that can be deemed political, especially on my blog, it means I find it really, really important.  Important enough to ignore the impending urge to vomit.
  • I’m not sure what I’m doing in the upcoming election.  I may vote third party.  That shouldn’t matter, since this is a post about one candidate only (see point number one), but it gets really boring and redundant to answer to immediate assumptions that if you have a negative word to say about Donald Trump, you must be voting for/endorsing Hillary Clinton.  I am a registered Democrat.  I’m also a woman, and a mother, and thinker, and a person who can make informed, intelligent decisions all by herself.  Boxing people into narrow little definitions never helps anyone.
  • If you’re tempted to comment in the vein of, “He’s still better than Hillary,” please read point number one again.

In case you missed it, some audio from 2005 was recently released in which Donald Trump can be heard saying things like:

“I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it…  I did try and f— her. She was married.”

“I’ve got to use some Tic Tacs, just in case I start kissing her.  You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait.”

“And when you’re a star, they let you do it.  You can do anything…  Grab them by the p—y…. You can do anything.”

Now to be fair, Trump says a lot of crass, juvenile, and/or vulgar things.  It’s sort of his modus operandi.  We all – including his supporters – know to expect this from him by now.  Insensitive, unfiltered comments are Trump’s calling card.

But that’s not what this is.

What Trump is describing (and indeed bragging about) is sexual assault.

Kissing/touching/grabbing a woman without her consent is sexual assault.

Using your power as an excuse to “do anything” to a woman is sexual assault.

This is not a conversation about some silly inconsequential words uttered by an arrogant egomaniac.  This is about a man who wants to be the leader of your country. This is about a man who is not only admitting to but boasting about sexual assault.

This is about a culture that supports Donald Trump, and others like him.  People who want to blame the victim.. for drinking too much, or dressing too provocatively, or being in the wrong place at the wrong time.  People who let rapists like Brock Turner walk away with a slap on the wrist.  People who excuse sexual aggression by saying “boys will be boys”, or excuse sexually aggressive language by calling it “locker room talk.”

This isn’t locker room talk.  Most men don’t talk about sexually assaulting women.  Most men don’t talk about grabbing women’s genitals.

This isn’t “boys being boys.”  To reduce it to such is like giving a big “F–k you” to the 1 in 5 women who have or will have experienced sexual assault in their lifetime.  Excusing Trump for what he said and did is the same thing as telling these women that their stories don’t matter;  It’s the same thing as telling these women that THEY don’t matter.

Excusing, defending, or dismissing Trump’s words (because they were a decade ago, because he’s human, because he’s “sorry”) explicitly tells the world that you think it’s okay.  It’s okay to reduce women to sexual objects that are there for the taking.  It’s okay to joke and brag about touching them sexually without their consent.  It’s okay to vote someone who endorses assault into the most powerful position in the United States, just because you happen to agree with his policies.

None of this is okay. 

And it’s not about political parties, and it’s not about us vs them, and it’s not about “the lesser of two evils.”  It’s about right and wrong, plain and simple.

I see memes like this, and I feel sick to my stomach  (*Note:  The first couple of memes reference Hillary Clinton, because that’s the sort of thing that people like to post.  Per my own rules, I’m ignoring the parts about Clinton*):

trumphassaid

What Trump has said is that it’s okay to sexually assault women.  That’s bothersome.  You should find that bothersome.  We should ALL find that bothersome.

Or this one:

trumphillary

He has said mean things, to be sure.  Mocking a disabled reporter was mean.  Mocking a woman – or all women – for menstruating was mean.  Mocking Miss Universe for gaining weight was mean.  Mocking people is a very big thing for Trump.  But endorsing sexual assault is not “mean.”  It’s in a whole different category than mean.  And reducing what a woman who’s been sexually assaulted feels when she hears his words to “hurt feelings” is minimizing and disgusting.

People who are bothered by Trump’s actions are not delicate little flowers who walk around with their fragile feelings hurt all the time.  They’re people who care about how others are treated.  They’re people who care that women, minorities, LGBTQ, children, disabled individuals all receive the same amount of care and respect and compassion as everyone else.  They’re people who care about not perpetuating misogyny and hate.  They’re people who care that this man – this person who wants to be the leader of our country – has so little regard for his fellow humans.

And finally:

trump50shades2

I saved this one for last because it is the most ridiculous of the three.  I hardly want to dignify it with a response, but I have to.  If it wasn’t dealing with such a serious issue, this meme would be laughable.  Now I obviously can’t speak for any other women but myself, but I’m not the least bit “outraged at Donald Trump’s naughty words.”  Naughty words (and what are we, 8 years old?) don’t bother me.  Sexual assault bothers me.

Stop reducing me to a fragile little simpleton who wilts at the sight of a crass word.

As for 50 Shades:  I’ve read it, or part of it anyway.  I couldn’t really read the whole thing… not because I was offended by the “naughty words”, but because I was offended by the terrible writing.  I have very limited knowledge (and no personal experience) with BDSM, but I do know that it’s consensual.  And it should go without saying – except I’m having to say it – that these are fictional characters in a book.  It is make-believe.  Pretend.  Not real.  They are characters.  AND THEY’RE NOT RUNNING FOR PRESIDENT!  The comparison is illogical and gross.

This is a real issue, about a real person.  These are real women that Trump is talking about. If it was your daughter he was talking about, or your sister, or your mother, or your best friend…. if it was someone you loved… would you still be okay with it?

Would you be okay with someone saying they were just going to go ahead and “grab {your loved one}’s p—-y?”  Because these women he is talking about are someone’s loved ones.  They are someone’s daughters and sisters and mothers and best friends.  (**Editing after the fact to add, after it has been correctly pointed out to me by a few of my readers:  Even if the person is NOT your daughter, sister, mother, etc, she’s still a PERSON.  A woman’s life is valuable and important, no matter who she is.  Full stop.  Thank you for speaking up, and helping me write with better clarity**)

They are all of us, and they deserve better.

Our men deserve better too.  Every time you reduce Trump’s words to harmless locker room banter, you condemn all men to the lowest common denominator.  Not all men brag about sexual assault.  Not all men view women as objects rather than humans. Not all men hear Trump’s words and think they are normal, or okay, or in any way acceptable.  And honestly?  If the guys you’re hanging around do think what he said was okay, might I suggest you find some better friends, friends who actually respect women.

We can be better than this.  We have to be better than this.

I have three teenage boys, and one young daughter, and I want them to grow up to see a world that is kind, and gentle, and true.  A world where people are standing up for what is right, instead of rallying behind a man who represents everything that is wrong.


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3 Comments

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3 Responses to Why Trump’s Comments Are So Much More Than “Locker Room Banter”

  1. thank you, thank you, thank you! This was so brave and so necessary and so well done, Jen. Blessings on your Courage and your well-spoken Heart.

  2. Rachael

    Ughhhh! I’ve seen SO much going on, so many childish blame games and I’m sick of it. I love this Jen. Thanks for posting!! I just saw posts from a family friend yesterday defending Trump because ‘he’s not as bad as Hillary’ blah blah. It’s frustrating to see so many people acting like voting for our next president is about finding ‘the lesser of 2 evils’. There are 4 candidates! You don’t have to figure out who wore it best, you don’t have to settle for Hillary or Trump. OMG
    Thanks Jen =)

  3. Pingback: Yes, I’m Upset, and No, I Won’t Shut Up | The Path Less Taken

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