Trump’s filth offends and stigmatizes men
For Donald Trump, the fallout has been fast and furious and the political cost potentially lethal.
Trump’s October surprise that came with Election Day a mere four weeks out may have been to his presidential campaign what the iceberg was to the Titanic: a collision with a force strong enough to inflict a final and fatal injury on impact. And the people scrambling in a mass exodus for the lifeboats are Republican “elites” who have rescinded their endorsement of Trump and are distancing themselves from their nominee’s characterization of women to be grabbed by their crotch.
Print and broadcast outlets and social media are saturated with sharp but righteous denunciations of Trump’s sexual objectification of women and his inference that their consent is neither asked nor needed to be targets of male lust. Yet Trump’s vile comments do a disservice to men, too. They reinforce both the culture of rape and the firmly rooted idea of male entitlement.
If Trump has actually been in a locker room, he would or should know that it isn’t a junior high school “boys will be boys” environment where men don’t disparage the female anatomy and boast about grabbing it. Most of what you hear in a locker room is about who’s playing who on TV tonight, how much the guys have bet and how the job is going.
There are a couple of reasons – unspoken and understood – Trump won’t hear his slime being talked about if he went into any locker room anywhere in America. First, men respect women enough not to boast or brag to other guys about the female anatomy any more than women in their locker rooms probably don’t oogle about men’s penis sizes and their sexual performances.
Second, most men left the kind of sleaze Trump brags about in the junior high school locker room where the mentality of budding sexuality and curiosity gives way to gutter sexual references. But with high school, “boys” grow up and have reached a level of maturity on which they don’t boast about sexual conquests or who their next target is.
On a deeper level, Trump clearly does not know or even understand that grabbing genitals or any other body part without the permission of who’s being grabbed is sexual assault. The “look” of “wanting it” is not consent. Without verbal permission or consent, a man’s sexual come-on is assault at the very least and rape if the grabbing goes further.
The male mentality of forcing himself sexually onto someone else ties directly into the culture of rape, the belief – maybe assumption – that the guy who wants sex does not need or ask consent of whoever the partner is. And that belief is cemented in the patriarchial concept of male entitlement.
Maybe in Trump’s world the success he thinks he has achieved or being the “star” that Trump called himself in that lewd and raunchy video “success” is the entitlement to take anything without considering the outcome, consequence, without regards to the cost to other people. In the other or “real” world that Trump clearly has never occupied, most men are not the “boys” who apparently cavort with Trump. They do not unleash their sexual appetites on targets who haven’t given their permission, and they do not disparage women by objectifying them as targets of sexual aggression or as tokens of conquest.
As offensive and repulsive as Trump’s comments are to women, they are as much for men. Trump does not speak for every man and for him to imply that the filth he and his “boys” serve in up their locker rooms is a “guy thing” is inaccurate, unfair and blatantly insulting.
In the days after the disclosure of the Trump-Billy Bush tape, immediate polls found that Hillary Clinton had begun to chip away at Trump’s lead among specific male voters, particularly the non-edcated white class. Most of those polls did not link cause to effect, however. But the timing of Trump’s eroding support among men can be credibly questioned.
In the carnage of the tape’s release, former producers of Trump’s old “Apprentice” TV show claimed they have videos of their old boss using the N-word. Even if they do, would it be shocking or even a surprise? It’s not a far stretch to think that a 70-year-old man who boasts about grabbing women “by the p*ssy” could be capable of referring to minority groups in racist terms.
Do we really want a racist and dirty old man as America’s face to the world? We certainly don’t need it.
Photo: Flickr/Gage Skidmore