The straw that broke the camel’s back … After denouncing a nation, inciting hatred against members of a religion, insulting war heroes, going after a former beauty pageant contest, to name but a few ‘incidents,’ it took off-mic remarks made over 10 years ago to finally put air-brakes on the Trump juggernaut. While dismissed as mere ‘locker-room talk’ by the Teflon Don, Trump’s lewd expressions about women seemed to have struck a raw nerve, one that wasn’t pierced by his many other provocative statements.
At a political level, the fall-out has been fairly radioactive for Trump. He has obfuscated the issue somewhat by pointing to Bill Clinton’s personal life implying that he is something of an altar boy in comparison to his opponent’s spouse. Nonetheless, it does seem that for once, Trump is on the ropes, even amongst his own supporters, and that is the likely reason why he apologized (these statements don’t materialize spontaneously, but are drafted after consultation with focus groups).
So, why did Trump say what he said? For many, the reason why Trump would boast about walking in on naked beauties, or partaking in intimate gossip about his daughter in the company of a radio shock-jock, or pine about not banging a woman who is spoken for, is obvious. Trump is a bad egg. He’s a misogynist, he’s a perv, juvenile, he embodies all the very worst predatory instincts of the alpha male.
Granted, the stuff about moving-in on his daughter (if she weren’t his daughter) is fairly nauseating, to say the least. But the fact is that many men – in America and beyond – do engage in conversations that are similar to those between Trump and Billy Bush or Howard Stern. And while it’s called ‘locker-room’ talk, it’s not confined to the locker-room. It manifests in workplaces, in social gatherings, even amongst men who are strangers to one another waiting for public transport. From a young age, men learn that women are there to be conquered, the more women or more beautiful women that are conquered the better, and of course the story of one’s conquests or failures have to be analysed in the company of other men (if you’re famous, you can get your stories published and monetized). Discussing one’s daughter in such conversations is generally considered grotesque but musing on exploits with a one-night stand, one’s girlfriend or perhaps even wife (or musing on their respective shortcomings) is considered acceptable.
So, there is a widespread culture and it is likely that Trump’s real ‘sin’ was being caught engaging in such discussions with celebrities. After all, celebrities aren’t renowned for being discreet.
So, now that we’ve established that Trump is part of a culture, the question: “why did Trump boast or discuss X,Y,Z unacceptable things about women?” possibly has a different answer. He offered his lewd and disgusting opinions on women because those opinions are considered respectable and even normal. They are part of a culture that he is integrated into. For him not to do so may be labelled as ‘anti-social.’
Now, while Hilary may say that she hates derogatory comments about women, she doesn’t seem to disassociate herself from rappers who make offensive statements about the fairer sex. Ja Rule and Snoop Dogg have offered their support. And here are lyrics from another Hilary supporter, 50 cent:
Yeah, the first time I seen her son I knew she was the shit (uh-huh)
I seen her in the V.I.P. chillin with her clique (yeah)
She hot mayne, I watched her (c’mon)
I like her style
She don’t know what I’m thinkin when I’m starin at her lips
In my imagination I can see her suck the dick (yeah!)
I like that, I want that
We could do it right now
Just a minute of your time, let me talk to ya love
I wan’ get to know you, maybe I can call you up
Then we can chit-chat ’til you let me hit that
I’ll get deep ’til I hit the back of your kit-kat
You’re not a freak but you’ll be one when I’m done (yeah)
It’s anytime, anyplace with me hon
I’m sexual, when I’m next to you
I’m a horny dog … (London Girl)
These are not just private, braggadocio, macho, remarks. These words are manufactured, packaged, and sold across the US, often in the face of many ‘conservatives’ who are opponents of Hilary and who long for some form of censorship (in fact it was Hilary’s companion in the White House from 1992-2000, Tipper Gore, who pioneered a form of censorship on music after hearing a Prince song about masturbating). While the style of the particular song I’ve chosen is that of the black community in America, similar sexist ejaculations are common amongst all sectors of US society.
Yet, Trump has now become the classic scapegoat. The pus and scabs of the permissive society can be transferred onto his shoulders. He is being portrayed as a Frankenstein, who is out of control, who needs to be muzzled, who has to be resisted. And in a way, Trump is a Frankenstein. He is something that we have all made. A vast majority of men are not religiously sectarian, or racist, or would even feel no sympathy for someone who died in a battle, or would bully a woman with eating problems. So we may not have made him in that sense. But a majority – in my experience – would ‘swap notes’ when it comes to the fairer sex, and if recorded on tape, might be recorded saying similar things to Trump. This is prevalent and creates a demand, a market. I’ve already mentioned the success of rap music. Look at other industries … the porn industry, whose profits are skyrocketing, the so-called beauty industry (that refers exclusivelt to physical beauty, not other manifestations of female beauty), even erotic literature which is also an expanding business. In all of these, women fulfil a certain role. It is a role that is the complete opposite of the tender-motherly and sweet-sisterly roles they used to play. They are expected to be manicured, plucked, glossed, and shrunk to size, for the benefit of our pleasure. They are rated, they are commodities for male consumption.
Trump has a lot of maverick ideas and opinions. But his locker-room talk is very far from unusual. Perhaps that is why it is offensive. It’s too close to reality.