I’ve been reading the book Everyday Sexism by Laura Bates and I have to admit when I started the book I struggled to get through the first few chapters due to the graphic nature of the accounts by thousands of women worldwide. I couldn’t believe how offensive, aggressive and violent many of the experiences were. Reports ranged from lewd comments like “nice tits” all the way to sexual assault and rape. Victims’ ages were a shockingly wide range beginning as early as elementary school for some and all the way up to the elderly for others. Bates takes the reader through the existence of sexism in politics, work spaces, the media and public spaces detailing the complications victims face when experiencing sexism and why so often their accounts go unreported. Everyday Sexism overflows with statistics and information gathered from articles, organizations and published research making a complete case and point that sexism is still way too common. However, as she so eloquently points out, sexism persists due to aggressor tactics such as victim blaming, abuse of power and manipulation to name a few. Then there are still many out there who argue that women have come so far; they need to stop complaining, “get off the rag” if you will, and just move on. We are all equal aren’t we?
Cue Donald Trump. This man lost my vote at hello. I’m not saying I’m a Hillary fanatic either, but Trump couldn’t get my vote even if he paid me, which I’m certain he wouldn’t after this! Donald Trump is a living, walking, talking (and talking, and talking...) example of the very predator freely walking through society doing and saying as he pleases with very little rebuke or reproach. Although the most recent video released was filmed 10 years ago, it’s hardly an argument to say Trump has never spoken like this before and won’t ever do it again. The fact that he apologized isn’t a credit to him either. This only shows his campaign convinced him how wrong he was and forced him to apologize for it. This is a man who has a long and drawn out history of objectifying women as evidenced by a myriad of comments along with his partial ownership of the Miss USA pageant. In addition, he repeatedly attacks women with misogynistic comments like Megyn Kelly “bleeding out of her whatever” and the infamous “look at that face” comment of Carly Fiorina. This most recent video is just one of the many moments of Donald Trump showing exactly who he is: a complete sexist.
If voted into office, this sets a very dangerous precedent by sending the message that objectifying women is still ok today. Period. Our country watched a man enter the field of politics with no experience whatsoever emerge as the Republican nominee one offensive statement after another. What’s more, the man has only apologized for his most recent offense and nothing else. In other words, Donald Trump has yet to accept responsibility or express remorse for anything else to date. Seriously. At this point, we can’t move forward sidestepping all of Donald Trump’s ignorant and unapologetic comments sweeping them under the rug saying “that’s just Donald Trump” or better yet “I’m more upset with what Hillary did.” It sounds to me like Donald is admittedly doing plenty of his fair share and bragging about it.
So I ask America: What kind of message does this send to young women? What kind of message does this send to young men? They are watching this. They are listening. Although it’s safe to say Donald Trump isn’t the only man in America who thinks and behaves this way, how we respond as a nation determines the direction of our country regarding sexism over the next 4 years. If we want anything to change, we need act now while the nation is watching, otherwise, we risk sending the message of a continued status quo and even greater normalization of sexism. Our actions as a nation send a very strong message. What will that message be?