“Strong men—men who are truly role models—don’t need to put down women to make themselves feel powerful.” ~ Michelle Obama
Michelle Obama’s recent speech in Manchester, New Hampshire, sent out a poignant and clear message by calling Trump’s lewd words and actions, “Deplorable, demeaning and intolerable.”
Michelle was clear to make sure that people didn’t mix her message up with politics by saying, “I know it’s a campaign, but this isn’t about politics. It’s about basic human decency.”
The infamous video released last week features Trump making comments like:
“When you’re a star they’ll let you do it. They’ll let you do anything. Grab them by the pussy.”
What’s horrific is the fact that there have been many cases of repeated abuse towards women by men in the spotlight—particularly towards young, vulnerable women who may feel that they are powerless to say “no” when aggressively or subtly approached sexually by a man.
And this isn’t just a male versus female thing—both sexes can be equally guilty of crossing the line. But I would guess that there is barely a woman alive that hasn’t felt this sexually predatory behavior at some point or another. Whether the man is a “star” or not, women, purely due to their gender, have always been targeted by men in ways that make us feel objectified and extremely uncomfortable.
I have read various accounts of people trying to make light of Trump’s comments, putting them down to “locker room behavior” but the sad, tragic fact is that this locker room behavior floats straight out of the locker room and into real life.
People have also tried to justify Trump’s words saying things along the lines of, “He is just a typical man”—but this should never be accepted as typical behavior for any man or woman.
And a note also to the part where Trumps says, “I did try and f*ck her. She was married. And I moved on her very heavily,” before proudly adding, “I moved on her like a bitch. And I couldn’t get there, and she was married.”
I just want to set this straight for any woman who has had this happen, especially if they are committed to someone. It is not okay, not ever, to move and advance heavily on a woman. Women do not need to be “moved heavily” on. If she is interested, you will know and there will be a balanced, respective mutual meeting in the middle.
If you are “moving heavily” there is a very good chance that she isn’t interested and the reason you are adding weight is to bear her down so she eventually breaks and gives in. Women are not weak, but goddamn it we have appeared so due to this continuous and often socially acceptable type of oppression from men who think they can dominate and prey sexually on us.
This isn’t about whether it matters that Trump’s comments took place 11 years ago or whether he is “fit” to be president. This is about our culture’s acceptance that this is “normal” behavior and therefore should be forgiven, because “that’s what men do.”
It is time for men and women to stop brushing this type of thing off as “typical” conversation between guys, because, the truth is, the sexual expression that Trump talks about happens in real life every minute of every day all across the world.
Another part where Trump says, “You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful…I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet.” No, no, no. It is never normal or okay to just starting kissing someone because you find them attractive. Young boys and men will hear Trump’s words being repeated across the Internet and on television sets and possibly understand that it is acceptable, since a very powerful man has admitted openly that he has done it, albeit many years ago.
I know how it feels for a man to walk over and think it’s okay to touch me or start kissing me—it is disgusting and revolting and creepy. There is no other way to describe it. Generally, women are repulsed when men do this. And I know I’m speaking out on behalf of the female population here—this is a isolated widespread problem.
I have been in so many positions where as a female I have felt at risk simply because I am a woman and certain men think they “can.”
They cannot. Not then, not now, not ever.
One of the worst parts of all this is that women, myself included at times, are so shook by what is happening that they don’t protect themselves by saying, “No. Remove your invasive, unwelcome groping hands immediately.” And sometimes we might not even push them away. Does this mean we want a stranger’s advances?
The imprint of that feeling never leaves us.
This has to stop.
Like Michelle explains, “It is cruel. It’s frightening. And the truth is, it hurts. It hurts.” And every time women that have been violated in this way hear someone else excuse it, we are reminded of this hurt—and it pains us a little more.
Poet and actor Steve Connell wrote and delivered a chilling message to explain the link between what men talk about in the “locker room” and how those conversations can easily, tragically, seep into reality.
Harrowing statistics about sexual abuse.
Author: Alex Myles
Image: Litviral.com / Twitter
Editor: Renée Picard