Donald Trump's dirty talk: Have we become impervious to relentless misogyny?

Remember when Donald Trump's instructions to "grab 'em by the p***y" were horrifying and we thought the Republican candidate (and his supporters) couldn't sink any lower?

Well, we assumed wrong.

After Nate Silver, the editor-in-chief of FiveThirtyEight, came out with two maps representing what the country would look like if only women voted and what it would look like if only men voted, the Republican candidate’s son Eric Trump, sent out one of the maps — the male map — in an email to to raise funds. More importantly, he failed to add that the map depicted only men voting.

Subsequently, the younger Trump was ridiculed online — Twitter users creatively came up with maps that showed what America would look like if goats or llamas voted, if the country were ‘Rickrolled’ and if it were “deservedly cast into the abyss”.

Perhaps Eric Trump is just fulfilling his father’s mandate to gain huge grounds against “Crooked Hillary”; perhaps Eric isn’t the problem here.

 Donald Trumps dirty talk: Have we become impervious to relentless misogyny?

For one, Trump’s endless misogynistic assaults were only going to find their way back — calling it an Opposition dump is tactless and pointless. AP

The obvious answer would be — and should rightfully be — Donald Trump. Over the years, the trust fund kid-turned-businessman-turned-politician has made some revolting comments against women. After the 2005 video, five women have come forward to say that the Republican presidential nominee had, in the past, sexually assaulted them.

Even as Trump denies these allegations, many have chosen to question the timing of them. Republican leader Newt Gingrich goes a step further and calls one “a bad airplane flight” — Jessica Leeds told The New York Times that Trump touched her breasts and tried to put his hand up her skirt. While the Trump campaign has demanded a retraction of the story and claimed it a libel, the NYT has given its cool, 'zero ****s props given' response; in essence, it mentions how Trump doesn’t have reputation to suffer a damage in the first place.

Nothing in our article has had the slightest effect on the reputation that Mr. Trump, through his own words and actions, has already created for himself.

As I write this, there is another video. Trump, in an interview with Howard Stern who jokes about the former being a “sexual predator”, has him mouthing an “it’s true” with a customary shrug.

And wait, there’s another. An old CBS footage revealed that Trump hit on a 10-year-old (from beauty queens to preteens, Trump might just be a sex monster, as this German newspaper seems to be asking) saying he’ll be dating her in 10 years, “can you believe it?”

What’s not to believe, at this point: he’s called his daughter Ivanka — who he’d reportedly date if she weren’t his daughter — “a piece of ass”, sexually assaulted a People magazine writer, walked in on pageant contestants while they were changing… New York Magazine has compiled an impressive exhaustive list on the all the allegations women have made against Trump.

If this comes as a shock, then you must have been living under a rock, or as people in the city call it, in the suburbs. Because, by now, the electorate — and people around the world — pretty much know everything there is to know about the predator that is Donald Trump. For one, Trump’s endless misogynistic assaults were only going to find their way back — calling it an Opposition dump is tactless and pointless.

But have we stopped outraging? No. Has how we outrage changed? Yes and no. More men have started taking part in and initiated discussions on sexism, misogyny and discrimination against the so-called fairer sex. Women have come forward on social media talking about the sexual abuses they have faced, proving that they aren't just mere statistics. All this points to it not just being stories of every day struggles for women (which they are) but to a larger unaddressed phenomenon: That of rape culture.


The way it’s playing out, a Hillary Clinton win looks obvious, but it doesn’t signal an end to this, to our fight. AP

Dismissing it as “locker room talk” is not acceptable. Because when we relegate it to the back, it only encourages men — and some women — to think that sexism is acceptable and normal. UK scientists have found out that if a man is uncertain as to what constitutes sexism, it’s because he’s been taught to find it as natural, hence, locker room talk. As to what triggered a chain reaction of pointing fingers at Trump can perhaps be attributed to “collective and focused attention” according to Ari Adut, a University of Texas sociologist, which then makes it common knowledge.

Is that why we don’t groan collectively at yet another Trump scandal? That with a reflexive shrug of shoulders we think: Oh! What else is new?; retweet that particular news item, discuss it with a few colleagues and move on to the next item on our agenda?

Sexism isn’t new; it’s not cyclic in nature like fashion is. It never left, hiding in plain sight in offices, homes, streets, parks, airplanes, police stations, restaurants… The word just came back in vogue thanks to Trump: chants like ‘Lock her up’ have become the unofficial slogan for the Republican campaign, or ‘Crooked Hillary’ for that matter. I daresay that Trump did us favour by exposing entrenched misogyny that has been present; that the glass ceiling shattered to reveal another, which in turn reveals another impenetrable one.

The 2016 US Presidential race is an important one for women in America, and the world over, reminding us that we still have miles to go and the finish line gets pushed further away — no matter how hard we stretch our arms and reach out our fingers, the goal is unobtainable, impossible.

The way it’s playing out, a Hillary Clinton win looks obvious, but it doesn’t signal an end to this, to our fight. Trump is merely a symbol, representing the majoritarian view; it’s just the first hurdle women have to cross. It’s time we take a cue from Michelle Obama, the other woman who has the ability to finish off Trump for good, who rightfully said, “The measure of any society is how it treats its women and girls.”

America has two choices before it, one of which is unabating toxic misogyny.

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Updated Date: Oct 25, 2016 11:33:36 IST