Since the Trump tapes were released, I, like many others, have felt sickened by his blatant misogyny and description of sexual assault. In the video, Trump brags about grabbing women“by the pussy” among other heinous comments.
Frankly, Trump has been spouting this sexism and violence for decades. The video is simply another instance and confirmation of Trump’s unrelenting and consistent mistreatment of women.
Republicans, such as Mike Pence and Mitt Romney, have said that Trump’s comments do not reflect their own beliefs. To them, Trump is attacking their “wives and daughters” and that is unacceptable.
Mike Pence issued a statement following the tapes’ release the first sentence of which read:
“As a husband and father, I was offended by the words and actions described by Donald Trump in the eleven-year-old video released yesterday,”
Romney also responded by tweeting:
Hitting on married women? Condoning assault? Such vile degradations demean our wives and daughters and corrupt America’s face to the world.
— Mitt Romney (@MittRomney) October 8, 2016
Wives and daughters.
Men often use these relationship descriptors when denouncing male violence against women. “He’s talking about my wife, my daughter, my sister, or my mother” they say.
I understand this argument. Nobody wants their loved ones subjected to verbal, physical, or sexual violence. Regardless, this way of thinking is fundamentally problematic and oppressive.
Before a woman is a wife, a girlfriend, a friend, a mother, a daughter, or a sister, she is a human being. A woman should not have to be related to a man to have worth.
We are not possessions—we are thoughtful, complex, independent individuals all on our own. Men should also be concerned about the women who are not their wives, daughters, or sisters. They should care about the women who are nobody’s wives, daughters, or sisters because women are people.
It is also telling that only now, when we learn of Trump sexually and explicitly objectifying a white woman, republicans are outraged—this seems to be the tipping point, the final straw when it comes to Trump. Many republicans have rescinded their support or endorsements of Trump, even though he has been sexist, racist, ableist, islamophobic, etc. the entire campaign season.
This indicates both white privilege and white male entitlement of white women. Historically, white women have been painted as meek and childlike, requiring male protection. Although this has allowed white women to gain more visibility because of their whiteness and close association with white men (i.e., the tapes and subsequent outrage), it is ultimately harmful.
So the GOP is now denouncing Trump’s comments. He doesn’t speak for us, they claim. Cool. Great.
The Grand Old Party will still continue to draft policies that oppress women—from abortion rights to undocumented women’s rights to police brutality of black women to trans women’s rights to use the bathroom to workplace discrimination to equal pay. The list goes on and on and on.
Trump is a physical manifestation of the GOP’s institutional and legislative sexism. But now, because their wife or sister or daughter or mother is being verbally attacked, they’re appalled. We must not be fooled by the GOP’s outrage. And in November, we must remember that there is strength in numbers—women can, and will, stop Trump.
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