A recording of Donald Trump, from 2005, has revealed just what kind of a man is hiding under that big bouffant of hair. Not that he was hiding very well. This monstrosity of a man can be seen sharing his belief that he can do what he likes to women because he is famous, or to quote Trump himself, "grab'em by the pussy". Understandably, this has caused much outrage. I am heartened to see people agreeing that this is sexual assault. I agree whole heartily, yet, I have been disturbed by my own reaction. I found that I wasn't outraged. Curiously, I find myself feeling rather numb or at best, resigned.
Trump is a reflection of our sexist society: he is just another prowling predator. Normally, though, we don't witness someone in a position of power being so blatant about it. Normally, this type of sexual assault happens behind closed doors or down a deserted street. The difference is that this time the prowling is happening in front of the world's media.
90% of victims of the most serious sexual offences know their perpetrator.
If anything, perhaps we should be grateful that Trump is so obvious in his sexism. Perhaps we should be relieved that people are lambasting him for his behaviour. Trump has very much put sexism back on the radar. We could argue that thanks to Trump sexism is longer a silent issue. Trump and his gleeful objectification of women is reflective of the society we live in. From Trump in America to our very own politicians in the UK; from the wolf whistles from building sites, to the sexual comments shouted out of car windows, the list goes on. Sexism is normalised. If you are born a girl then you learn very quickly that your body is public property. We see female celebrities lambasted for having plastic surgery, whilst their male counterparts aren't judged on the work they have had done. Why is this the case? It's just another symptom of the patriarchal society that we live in, like society, the media is run by men for men.
What we are seeing in American politics is just a microcosm of our society. Trump attempted to explain his degrading remarks towards women as "locker talk". Again, we have someone attempting to normalise sexism. However, what Trump said should not be accepted as normal, what he is talking about is sexual assault. I should be outraged. It is attitudes like Trump which means that we have crime statistics that show 1 in 5 women are the victim of sexual offence. What kind of message is Trump sending to the world? He is saying that it is ok to sexually violate women. His comment is dangerous and damaging.
We need to be standing up to men like Trump; we need to make a fuss. I should not be resigned, I need to get outraged. In Morocco, women leave their houses expecting to be harassed. Is Trump any better? What will happen if Trump gets in? The televised debates between Trump and Clinton have highlighted the gender divide. Trump seems keen to humiliate Clinton, and is very fond of shouting her down. The New York Times found that during one debate, Trump interrupted Clinton 39 times, this was compared to Clinton's 8. Classic bullying tactics. As well as Clinton being more likely to be interrupted she is also more likely to be criticised for how she handles an interruption. Clinton is a woman and therefore she is in a no win situation. The odds are already stacked against her. She will be judged because she is female. She needs to come across as a leader. However, as soon as she does come across as a leader she will probably be accused of being cold or too pushy. Clinton is expected to be feminine yet a leader. This is something that we see as opposites in society. Therefore, how can she win? Look at Jamie Oliver and his recent comment about Theresa May, he was disappointed because he had hoped that she would run the country from the perspective of a "parent". The inference being that because she is female, she should be more caring. Clinton is judged whilst Trump is excused.
In America we have Trump boasting about sexual assault, and in Morocco harassment of women is endemic. In Morocco, women can be expected to be called a "whore" for choosing to wear lipstick or perfume. However, one lady *Ghizlane Ahblain, has decided to stand-up for herself, to make it clear that these sexist (Trump) attitudes are not acceptable. She is fighting back. If a man makes a comment on her appearance, if she is harassed physically or verbally then she denounces the man loudly. She won't be silenced. We can learn a lot from her. For too long women have had to live in fear, women have been suffocated and silenced. We need to take inspiration from Ghizlane. We need to be prepared to stand-up and shout. We need to stop a male chauvinist from becoming the President of America. The man who has threatened Clinton with jail if he wins presidency. Trump the bully, trying to silence Clinton with threats. Trying to end democracy.
Now is not the time to feel numb, now is the time to be outraged. Now is the time to denounce Trump.
*Source BBC Magazine*
This post first appeared on Island Living 365