October 9, 2016

50 Shades of Disbelief

After a few days of "boys will be boys" and "it was just locker room talk" and "they all talk like that" and "we know he's boastful and a braggart so why would you believe what he said about women, you know it's just talk" and similar reactions to the 2005 audio of Donald Trump talking to Billy Bush about how he treats women, today my Facebook feed is full of references to 50 Shades of Grey as it relates to the Trump situation. I kid you not, I saw it six times this morning as soon as I signed on.

I could belabor the obvious, that the book is fiction and Trump has said we're living in the real world; that the characters in the book existed in the author's imagination and that Trump is an actual person; that the book is about consenting adults (or so I've been told, never read them) and that Trump says he assaults women without their consent, he just moves in, doesn't wait. 

And that, we know, is not fantasy, because he never lies or makes things up. Or so he has told us.

If I were interested in writing them all down, I could probably list close to 50 Shades of Orange, comments that Trump has made about women, towards women, about his own daughter, about women in the media, women on the Apprentice, women on the Celebrity Apprentice, Rosie O'Donnell, women who have been divorced, women who have small breasts, women who keep their husband's name when they get divorced, women who are not bleeding from their eyes but could be bleeding from other places, women who breastfeed, women who are ugly inside and out, how important is to have a young and beautiful piece of ass around, and on and on and on and on. 

Instead, let's do this. Pretend you were one of the women Trump groped between the legs; is it a funny meme now?

Pretend you've got a son in high school or college. And let's say he's all excited to tell you that at a party he forced some kisses on female students who had not consented to being kissed. Do you laugh it off, Dads? Chip off the old block, is he?  And what about you moms out there? Would you be proud of your son? Is that what you how you want him to treat women?

Are you still laughing when he tells you that he went even further than forcing a kiss, that he grabbed her between the legs? Still laughing? Is this the point where you and your son sit on the couch reminiscing about passages in the 50 Shades trilogy where women enjoy being raped, beg to be raped and so on? Maybe thumb through the pages looking for a really good section, maybe something he can try when he goes back to school?

How hard are you laughing when he gets charged with assault? Thrown out? Registered as a sex offender? Are you going to respond like the father of the Stanford kid, the one who lamented his poor son's life being ruined for 20 minutes of action?  Would you give even a passing thought to the victim (because that's what she would be), or would you think back to the book and say, well all women want that, it was right there in the book and it sold 80 million copies?

Or maybe, it's your daughter, your perfect princess, the light of your eyes. How hard, exactly, are you laughing when SHE comes home and tells you that some star athlete or rich kid tossed back a couple of Tic Tacs, forcibly kissed her, and groped her between the legs? Would you pull the books out then, and talk about how it's OK because all women want that?

The answer is no. You're not laughing.  You are a million times more likely to be crying your eyes out, and then heading for the school or the boy's parents or maybe even the local police than you are to be looking for the books to remind yourself that deep down, she really welcomed the behavior.

Because, all fantasies aside, the last thing you would ever want is for your daughter to be on the receiving end of a person who thinks "because he is a star" that it's OK to sexually her. The last thing you would ever want is to read an article about your daughter's sexual assault and see, in the same article, the athletic statistics of the person who assaulted her. Or, how famous her attacker was, how many buildings have his name on them, or how rich the parents are, or any of the rest of it.

Because at that exact moment you find out your child has been assaulted, nothing else matters.

More than two years ago, I posted about comments Republicans have made about rape, all the different ways they describe it to make it seem like it's OK. At that time, I noted that we are not our sexual fantasies, we don't enjoy being raped. 

The same thing is true, obviously, that we don't enjoy being groped, either. And yet, here we are in 2016, using a sexual fantasy meme to justify not what Trump thinks, but what he said he does. I'm dumbfounded.

I'll close with this last piece of mind-boggling dissonance, which I think is the perfect illustration of everything that is wrong with all of this.

Watch this video and see Scottie Nell Hughes, a mom, a Republican, and a Trump defender, ask the other Republicans on the CNN panel to stop using the P-word, the word Donald Trump used to describe the location he likes to grope.

Because her daughter is watching the show.