Ahhh 2016, the year that North Korea showcased its rather intimidating collection of nuclear weaponry, Britain bid farewell to the EU and a perma-tanned property tycoon miraculously succeeded in becoming president of the United states. Stranger things have happened. At least I think they have….
In the weeks leading up to Trumps winning victory, we were all graciously blessed with the endless ins and outs of both his and his fellow rival Clinton’s campaign. There were tales of troubling emails, blackmailing in the FBI and backhanded comments about the mental and physical health of both candidates. Intertwined with the above were Chinese whispers of bribery, questionable relationships between the candidates and their help and above all, we seemed to be hearing the word `tremendous’ way too much.
But perhaps the most publicized story to come out of this entire campaign was that of Trump and his apparently sexually derogative/derogatory remarks about numerous women.
It only seemed to take one women to come forward with her story of our newly elected and so-called misogynistic (check) president, before all hell broke loose. Suddenly, every woman who had ever spent more than 5 minutes in his presence began to speak out about the `tremendously’ sexist Trump too.
In case you missed it, here are just a handful of Trumps sexist quotes:
1991, speaking to Esquire magazine about the media, Trump said, “You know, it doesn’t really matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass.”
1997, After Trump bought the Miss USA beauty pageant, he said, “They said, ‘How are you going to change the pageant?’ I said ‘I’m going to get the bathing suits to be smaller and the heels to be higher’.” Before later adding, “If you’re looking for a rocket scientist, don’t tune in tonight, but if you’re looking for a really beautiful woman, you should watch.”
2000, Trump was speaking to Howard Stern about a list of women he would like to sleep with, which included the late Princess Diana. He was quoted as saying to Stern, “She had the height, she had the beauty, she had the skin — the whole thing…. She was crazy, but these are minor details.”
2008, During another conversation with Howard Stern, Trump reveals that he has had sex with women who had `extraordinarily bad breast jobs which looked like pancake tits’ before adding that any woman who has a breast reduction is `insane’.
2015, In an interview with New York Times, Trump made a swipe at an international supermodel, saying, “Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”
2016, Trump caused outrage after advocating punishment for women who have abortions and just months later a video emerged of him talking about grabbing women by the p****, saying that “when you’re famous, ` they let you do it”.
And this was just the icing on the cake, as more and more of his previous sexual references began making headline news, right up until the end of his rather glitzy campaign.
As a female myself, I was one of many to both sympathize with these poor women and berate Trumps behavior. I proclaimed him to be a narcissistic pig and began quite openly vocalizing my anguish to practically everyone I spoke to.
A few days had passed after my initial outbreak of Tourette’s, and suddenly I started to ask myself a different question: why were Trumps remarks getting so much negative media attention?
Granted, Trump definitely has a no holds barred’ approach when it comes to publicly voicing his opinions on everything from Muslim `immigrants’ to Mexican `criminals’. For obvious reasons, he’s not naturally the first person that springs to mind when you’re thinking of suitable candidates to run a democracy. And of course, given the position he was rallying for- president of the U S of A, comments such as his are not exactly the kind of thing to win over an entire populous of people.
But of all the things to critique or pick out from his entire campaign, I can’t get my head around why the media seemed to hone in on sexist comments about young women.
Let me take you back to the start of November. It was a lovely sunny day here in London because, despite it being smack-bang in the middle of winter, global-warming likes to wave its magic wand every now and again and throw in a bit of a sunshine to really fuck with your body. Deciding to make the most of this rare and rather odd beautiful weather, I thought id take a leisurely stroll in our local park. So, throwing on a summers dress and a pair of flat shoes, off I trotted down the road, blissfully unaware as to what lay before me. As I turned the corner, I got the fright of my life as a van-full of middle-aged builders began honking their horn at me so loudly, I almost fell over. Realizing they’d got my attention (and also scared the absolute shit out of me) they then proceeded to crane their necks out of the window and give my arse a rating of 8 out of 10, almost crashing into an oncoming vehicle as they did so. After getting over the initial shock of only being given an 8 out of 10, when I would say I’m a solid 9 (honestly, the CHEEK of it!) I became so infuriated at how much they had embarrassed me that I sacked off the park completely and limped home, defeated.
Understandably you may think I’m overreacting, however when you experience something like this at least 3 times a month (and I am honestly being generous here), it really begins to mess your head.
I just couldn’t understand how these men, these grown-ass men, most likely with wives and children, found it in any way acceptable to look at and talk to me, a complete stranger, like I was a sexual object. What’s more, they found it perfectly within their rights to
cast their opinion on me, to `rate’ me according to how sexually attractive a single part of my anatomy was.
The chances are that after this event, these `men’ simply had a laugh and joke and carried on about their usual day. Meanwhile, I spent the rest of the day sat at home wondering if I was giving off the wrong impression to men, simply by HAVING an arse.
What a world we live in.
If you were to ask any female in her 20’s who’s ever been out clubbing on a Friday night, there’s a 99.9% chance that shell tell you she’s had to bear the brunt of sexual comments. It doesn’t matter if said woman was dressed in a tight-fitting dress or, had instead partied it out in an outfit inspired by an Amish house wife.
At least a handful of times in her 20-something years, there’s a high chance that she has experienced sexism in some way, shape or form.
Did it affect her? Probably, yes. Did it knock her self-esteem? Again, the answer is likely a resounding `yes’. Did she do anything about it? Report it? Question this man on why he felt it was at all appropriate to talk to her like that? Most likely not…
And why exactly is it, that more and more women increasingly do nothing about it?
Well in many ways, its quite simple. Sexualizing women has now become a normalized characteristic of societies around the world.
Men judging women based on their sexual appeal or attractiveness has become so `mainstream’ that it practically forms part of our daily conversations. “Lovely weather today isn’t it Tom?”, “Yes Bill, it is and have you seen the t*** on that girl?”.
In fact, sexualisation of women has become so far ingrained within our society that we now even promote it, we market it. Billboard campaigns full of scantily-clad women trying to flog us perfume, TV commercials featuring provocatively dressed models telling us to buy lipsticks that are `kiss and smudge proof’, presumably because the only reason women wear lipstick is to satisfy the lustrous cravings of men. Then there’s burger commercials with large-breasted women seductively chowing down on meat-filled buns in a bid to get us all to start splashing the cash on processed foods.
Its not by accident any of this, in case you thought it was. Those large, well-established companies are smart, they know what they’re doing, they know that sex sells.
And yet we consume it, without question. We no longer look at these billboards and these TV campaigns or the front covers of these magazines and think “that’s a bit too much, isn’t it?” or” someone should probably put some clothes on that poor woman”. No. We accept it. We consume it, worse still, we actually buy it.
But the reality is, we can’t escape it. Try as we might, its everywhere we look. Its everywhere we go and what’s more, its slowly become everything we want to be. The majority of us women, we WANT to be sexy. We WANT to feel attractive and if that means we have to be viewed as `sexy’ then so be it. We WANT to have that perfect `sexy’ body and to dress in those `sexy’ clothes and smoother our faces in crappy overprices make-up, just so we can look `sexier’.
And then, when some poor fella reacts to our `sexiness’, having subconsciously matched us up to those standards of sexiness that he has blindly consumed through society, and starts yelling out at us from the side of a white van, we get p***** off!
Swings and roundabouts and all that, eh?
Thinking back to the `outrageous’ and `incriminating’ sexist remarks made by Trump, can you honestly say you’ve not heard something similar in your day to day life? Or better yet, experienced it first hand? Or perhaps you’re even a victim of it yourself, whether you’re a woman who aims to be seen as sexy or you’re a man who’s consciously or subconsciously placed judgment upon a woman based on her sexual appeal.
When you think about it like this, its plain to see that Trump himself is not sexist. At least, I don’t think he is. I don’t believe he was born with these sexist tendencies, nor is it likely that he was raised by his parents to have sexist views. No, Trump is not sexist, he’s simply a product of our inherently sexist society.
The only difference between Trump and the rest of us is that the powerful platform on which he stands demands that he not be outspoken about his sexual views.
You’d be forgiven for thinking I am myself, a Trump supporter. I am not, in fact I am far from it. But I am acutely aware of the many ways in which the media can twist and turn on its subjects in order to create a certain way of thinking amongst us `ordinary’ people. And yet, those very people who, just like me, are angered at the comments made by Trump, have probably made similar comments on the female population themselves.
As for our newly elected president, I can only hope that he does some good in the world and brings about those changes that America so badly needs. And his sexual views towards women? Perhaps he’ll learn to keep ….
Like I said before, sex sells…..