This column may contain strong language, sexual content, adult humor, and other themes that may not be suitable for minors. Parental guidance is strongly advised.
If there’s one thing the events of this past week showed, apart from the fact that Donald Trump is, as Bruce Springsteen tweeted, a moron and an asshole (and that Pres. Rodrigo Duterte hardly trails him when it comes to cluelessness and coarseness) is that misogyny, in all its virulent and disgraceful glory, is alive and well in the 21st century.
The spectacle of Donald Trump—bloated, blustering, and ridiculously incoherent—attempting to bully Hillary Clinton during Monday’s presidential debate would be so risible if it were mere television entertainment. But IT’S an alarming development that a buffoon with zero substance has come to a hair’s breadth of the White House, together with his extreme and appalling brand of crazy, the overtly racist and bigoted, disgustingly sexist and misogynistic kind, shamelessly pandering to his constituency, otherwise known as “the basket of deplorables” – and that’s not a badge of honor.
But Donald Trump’s behavior, as a New York Times columnist pointed out, merely crystallized the sexism so deeply ingrained and insidious, that women deal with every single day. Not letting Hillary finish what she’s saying and interrupting her despite it being her two minutes? Check. Making snide remarks while she was speaking? Check. Attacking her on her looks and claiming she doesn’t have the temperament nor the stamina to become president, implying that her strength and judgment would be impaired and compromised simply because she didn’t have a dick? Check.
The irony was that Donald Trump, by trumpeting his self-proclaimed and wholly imagined alpha maleness in ways blatant or sneaky—subtlety has never been his strong suit—merely managed to communicate his overarching weakness and stupidity, reduced to a sputtering, incoherent mess so very beautifully set up by a calm, cool, play-by-the-rules Hillary Clinton. Girlfriend slayed him good.
The irony would be delicious were it not also a sad and painful one. Men like Donald Trump get a free pass EVERY SINGLE TIME. Despite their boorish behavior. Despite their ridiculousness. Despite their flat-out lying. And women—even the most prepared, the most qualified, the most measured of them—get called out for being shrill when they are simply being assertive and aggressive when they are simply standing their ground, hysterical when they simply insist on a well-substantiated point.
And yet it is men like Donald Trump who throw tantrums when things don’t go their way, blame everything and everyone else but themselves when bested by a woman, and malign a woman’s looks, and by extension, her sexuality, whether indirectly or directly, when they have nothing else of any substance with which to attack her.
For the nth time, men, creatures of id, and Neanderthals whom evolution bypassed: a woman’s worth is not tied to her bangability. Her weight is not the barometer by which her professional efficiency should be measured. Her sexual activities are not fodder for national entertainment.
Sounds so very close to home, doesn’t it?
The truth is, men like Trump are bullies whose oversized egos thrive on attention—any kind of attention. Yet their constant boasting—about their dubious business acumen, their dubious sexual prowess, their dubious capability to effectively and intelligently rule as president—is nothing more than a smokescreen to blur their own insecurities, sexual or otherwise. Who actually trawls the internet and then gleefully tweets about it at three in the morning looking for porn about a former Miss Universe who had the gumption to call out a man for his vileness and bigotry? Who actually seeks to demolish a political opponent by shoving an irrelevant “sex tape,” purportedly of her, down the throats of salivating members of Congress who have already prostrated themselves on the floor, assess willingly offered up in the air, all for political expediency and not principle, and who actually delights in telling everyone that every time he watches the tape he gets “turned off” by how ugly the participants are? Who actually dangles as some kind of threat bringing up his opponent’s husband’s infidelities at the next debate as if it had any bearing at all to her ability to lead her country, and lead it intelligently and maturely, without jabbing her thumb to launch a nuclear strike at some country that may have hurt her feelings? Who actually wishes, upon seeing a rape victim, that he had had first dibs on the woman before the actual rapists?
Isn’t it scary how easily interchangeable—and dangerous—these two men can be?
And clearly, independent women threaten the sh*t out of these men.
Yet these men who bulldoze the women around them and who rudely categorize and define women according to how attractive—and therefore how worthy—they believe them to be, are, in another supreme irony—hardly examples of male pulchritude themselves. Has Donald Trump actually looked in the mirror lately and examined his own appearance? As Timothy Egan writes in the New York Times, “Let’s objectify the Republican nominee on his terms. The guy is fat. Bigly. He’s got an extra chin, a gut you wouldn’t want to see riding above a bathing suit, and a rear that serves no purpose but ballast.”
Yeah, like any woman would really like to spread her legs for that without any monetary trade-off involved.
As for the other one, are you f*cking kidding me? Name one attractive feature he possesses.
B. Wiser is the author of Making Love in Spanish, a novel published earlier this year by Anvil Publishing and available in National Book Store and Powerbooks, as well as online. When not assuming her Sasha Fierce alter-ego, she takes on the role of serious journalist and media consultant.
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