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We have all encountered that man

Posted in Life & Love, and Women's issues

pussy grabI read a tweet by someone whose name I am sad I can’t remember, that read:

Americans: This election year cannot get any weirder.
God: Send in the clowns.

For all my activism, I try not to use this forum as a soapbox – this has always been meant as a blog for women, our only common denominator the ways we navigate middle age and our shared interests and quirks.

But the recent events that are dragging this election season lower and lower into a mud pit would tempt a saint. I feel compelled to comment on the recent video that surfaced of Donald Trump making disparaging and demeaning comments about women: not because, as women, we should feel offended (I am sure we all are) but because, according to Mr. Trump himself, and to many of his supporters, condoning “locker room banter” is par for the course.

I am personally offended, not by the language (as coarse as it is), or even the subject matter (even if boys will be boys, in 2016, doesn’t have a leg to stand on any longer) but by the sense of entitlement on the part of a man who is rich, successful and powerful. A predator.

I am offended by the objectification of women, rated and lined up as mannequins to choose from.

I am offended by how women can still be talked about behind their backs as if they were a piece of merchandise that is dissected, commented upon and tried on before deciding on a purchase.

Candidates Hillary Clinton And Donald Trump Hold Second Presidential Debate At Washington UniversityIt was not two men discussing an escapade, a romance or even a sex act, as reproachful as that might be. It was one egomaniac boasting of his sexual prowess, his appetites and the ease of getting what he wants, bordering on sexual assault, and one idiot going along, encouraging, to please his guest. Silent.

And what of the actress with the “nice legs” who is just trying to get through one more work day on a mindless soap opera set? What of the married woman who wouldn’t give in to Mr. Trump’s advances, who is “now done up, with fake tits and all”? What of the dignity and respect they are entitled, if not as women, as human beings?

I am also offended on behalf of all the good men out there, famous, rich, powerful or otherwise, who wouldn’t dream of thinking of a woman, any woman, in those terms, who don’t engage in locker room banter. I am offended on behalf of all those athletes whose locker room banter doesn’t involve talk of sexual assault.

This latest episode shouldn’t turn away just the female electorate. This is not a feminist issue.
It should turn away anyone with a modicum of respect for a fellow human being; anyone who wouldn’t dream of mocking a disabled person; anyone who abhors, or is even mildly uncomfortable with, discrimination; anyone who would never dream of “grabbing a pussy”.

I do believe Mr. Trump has genuinely been supportive of some women. I do believe he thinks his daughters can be whomever they choose to be. But I also believe he divides women in categories: those who belong to his gilded tribe, those he can have when he feels like it and those who, to him, don’t rate high enough to exist.

Last night’s debate (if we can call debate one person cogently putting forth policy matters and the other mouthing random words in no particular order, more intent on bullying his opponent) was a sad and low point for American democracy. It was so painful to watch, my stomach was in knots.

As a new democracy not yet mired in complacency, the United States has reached that breaking point when a sizable part of its population is ready to slam the door in the face of career politicians. I get it. But to entrust it to a bully? An incompetent reality tv star with not even a mild grasp of the basic issues? A man so insecure to boast of his sexual appetites? A man who would grab your pussy? Oh wait, no, he wouldn’t. Because most of us wouldn’t even rate “grab worthy” according to his sorting metrics.

As Lyndy West eloquently says in this brilliant opinion piece, as women, we have all known that man. Probably more than one. In the workplace, in a bad relationship, riding the bus. THAT man is now running for President. For all of you who broke free of that man, who stood up to him, time to do it again. And for those of you who couldn’t, now is your chance.

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14 Comments

  1. Am I the only person who felt he was threatening to Hillary in the town hall debate? I was concerned he was going to push her or hit her. He followed her around and would get so close to her. Several times I caught myself holding my breath.

    October 14, 2016
    |Reply
    • Watching that debate, apart from what was said and not said, and seeing Trump move around so as to be in frame whenever the camera focused on Clinton, reminded me of going to a Christmas Pantomime in the UK. Pantomime has a whole frame of conventions with which the audience are familiar – so I kept wanting everyone to shout out “He’s behind you” whenever Trump loomed up like a pantomime villain and the hero/heroine needed to be warned, and for them to boo and hiss as happens in pantomime!

      America tells other nations (eg China, where I am living) that the only right method of governance is democracy. Yet in this US Presidential election one man and his followers have made a laughing stock of that. Chinese friends say they would rather run a mile from democracy than be in a nation where a man like Trump can get within winning distance of the Presidency.

      October 18, 2016
      |Reply
      • camparigirl
        camparigirl

        I think China has done a remarkable job of lifting a large part of its population – given its size, it has still quite a way to go. But I do believe democracy should be the objective, in the end. A free press, free speech and the right to profess whatever faith one chooses are basic human rights. Often imperfectly exercised and bestowed, even in a democracy. In the end, I think America will do the right thing and Trump will end up being an unfortunate footnote.

        October 18, 2016
        |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I thought he was going to push her at some point!

      October 18, 2016
      |Reply
  2. i blogged that Trump is clearly suffering from narcisstic personality disorder. He needs help, and certainly is not stable enough to be president. It has certainly livened up politics, but is seriously scary.

    October 11, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      But it’s certainly not funny anymore – just plain scary. (heading over to your blog to see what you wrote)

      October 11, 2016
      |Reply
  3. Ellie
    Ellie

    Well said !!! Our politicians and leaders should be special people setting a good, respectful example and we should all vote accordingly.
    I started thinking about the origins of leadership – how once upon a long time ago Alpha Males amongst Primates would show their prowess by thumping (I think that would be trumping in the Donald’s case) their chest, and getting every member of the female species mating with them – such was the primitive manner of things. (When are we finally going to have Male Liberation after 30 odd million years?) I read that Alpha males are Bullies that eventually get deposed because they end up standing alone against the group (like the bully in the schoolyard as schoolchildren grow up) – and apparently in order to remain on top monkeys have to keep grooming their subordinates (!!).The article goes on to say that Trump will therefore fail to forge the coalitions needed to play a meaningful role in American politics. The writer’s scientifically based prediction was that Trump will fall on his own sword. The article ‘Understanding Primates and Donald Trump’ was written by Mark van Vugt PhD and posted on Sep 21st 2015………

    October 11, 2016
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      I just hope that sword comes closer sometime soon….I despair of stupidity. (love this anthropological take)

      October 11, 2016
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  4. winstonmoreton
    winstonmoreton

    The man could pull it off. Hitler did. Today money men own the fourth estate and define the democratic process. He is the toss of a silver dollar away from becoming president. Pray, even if you are not religious, that women get out and vote.

    October 11, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      If turning to religion would help, I wouldn’t hesitate converting. I am so petrified polls are wrong and we will end up with a worse version of Brexit. For now, I am just doing my bit, working the phone banks and registering voters….and prodding my girlfriends (even if California is a foregone conclusion and in the bag for Mrs Clinton. Over here we are concentrating on Nevada’s voters).

      October 11, 2016
      |Reply
  5. The elected officials jumping ship now? Too little, too late. Trump did not happen in a vacuum.

    October 11, 2016
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    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      The Republican leadership is more disgusting than Trump. They deserve a severe loss and maybe they will start rebuilding on more solid principles.

      October 11, 2016
      |Reply
  6. Jackie
    Jackie

    Well, uff, so much to process…I don’t even believe his relationship with the women in his life is normal given the comments he has made about his daughter being s 10 etc. I don’t know if you saw it, but I was heartened by the sports stars who came out today to say that they have never been in a locker room where that banter was commonplace. I really felt relief at that. It’s a world I’m not privy to but to think men talked like that Would be too devastating. But many are saying they don’t. Yay.
    I’ve just come back from Toledo, Ohio, a hotbed of Trumpisn. I tried to reason with two. One, a woman of 97 yrs old was turned off him by the taped comments, “he got too big for his breeches”, the other a 70 yr old man, says “trumps no saint” but insists he is “voting for the platform”. Uff…

    October 11, 2016
    |Reply
    • camparigirl
      camparigirl

      Do you know how many times I have to restrain myself from clubbing random people on the head? I despair of the lack of education and general stupidity, even more so when it works against people’s self-interests. At least you and I live in states that will carry Mrs. Clinton.

      October 11, 2016
      |Reply

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