As a woman, I understand the impulse to react quickly to a ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’ comment, especially when it’s coming from a rich guy in a position of power. But take a second look.
Representing American Culture
This is (most of the conversation) what people reacted to:
“I moved on her, actually… I moved on her, and I failed. I’ll admit it…. I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn’t get there. And she was married. Then all of a sudden I see her, she’s now got the big phony tits and everything. She’s totally changed her look…. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful — I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything…. Grab ’em by the pussy. You can do anything.”
I think there’s something very telling about American culture in this, whereby we might want to look at the things we’ve all done to contribute to where we are now. We have made some progress, but at what expense?
When we look at what Donald Trump said, it’s easy to use the shock value of that one sentence – Grab ‘em by the pussy. Shock value is effective in American culture, because we buy into it.
Looking beyond the shock value, this man starts out talking about how he tried to get intimate with this married woman and he failed. Initially, I see this as a good thing for women because it shows that we can say no, and we do say no, and sometimes the guy even admits out loud that he failed.
I see it as a good thing for women, until he talks about taking her furniture shopping and seeing her years later with ‘the big phony tits.’ Then I really start to question the integrity of this married woman. Why did she go furniture shopping with him in the first place? If I’m married I’m not going furniture shopping with some guy who’s hitting on me. The fake boobs suggest she’s all about her image. This isn’t so good for women.
Yet, I feel the most telling thing that Trump says comes before and after ‘grab ‘em by the pussy’. He’s telling the men that women will ‘let you do it’ and ‘you can do anything’ when you’re a celebrity.
Here’s the key word: Let.
Not much has changed culturally from 2005, when this conversation took place. If I take all of the politics and shock value out of this conversation what I take away from this man’s perspective is that in America a woman has the right to say no, men and women have a similar standard of beauty, fidelity’s all but dead, and celebrities have an easier time hooking up.
In general, he represents the average American male’s perspective on hooking up. He admits he chases outer beauty, he tries to get intimate immediately, he admits sometimes he fails, and he seems a little surprised at how ‘when you’re a star, they let you do it.’
If I add a gender perspective and I want to be critical about this conversation, I’d say he’s talking about his personal experience with women in a way that’s immature and lacks tact, and there’s so much truth to the fact that although some women say no, so many women say yes for the wrong reasons.
If I add a political perspective here I have a hard time believing this kind of jock talk should be a big deal those those who voted for the candidate who is the wife of the cigar in the pussy president. If your basing your vote on which candidate is more degrading to women, each side has a very good case. If you dig pretty deep into people’s sex lives you may find that Bill Clinton and Donald Trump have attended the same sex parties. Anyone who was against the rise of Trump should have focused relentlessly on the alleged rape of a 13-year old girl, and should have uncovered documented connections between elite men and high level politicians who pay to have sex with underaged women and girls. Focusing on jock talk made that point very weak in comparison to what it should have been.
A Woman’s Contribution
As a woman, our standard of beauty is very superficial in America. It’s also very expensive. We long to look young, thin, pretty, and well maintained. The fashion and cosmetics industries make billions off of us. This makes it difficult for the woman who believes in good health but who wants to be a tomboy. Many of us, myself included, give in. We do our hair and we wear the make up, and sometimes we even dress up.
In America, we see time and time again, the old rich dude with a very young, very beautiful wife. Every time this image comes up in the media, the majority of people are thinking ‘she’s with him for the money.’ This has happened so much in our culture it’s now normalized.
Because of our lust for fame and fortune, it’s been a part of American culture for a long time for folks to idolize celebrity status. There’s a stigma about ‘groupies’ for a reason. The reason male celebrities, rock stars and sports figures can brag about getting ‘the chicks’ is because they do. The reason they do is based on the values and priorities of men and women in this culture.
I image there are probably quite a few American women reading this article that are furious about what I am saying. Let me say first that I am not condoning sexual assault, aggression or harassment. Let me say also that I am very angry about the number of times I’ve been grabbed or been the recipient of unwanted advances, especially by older men. I feel we need to realize that men wouldn’t think it’s normal to cross these lines if it weren’t normalized all around them in our culture.
I think I’m angrier about the women who obsess about image and status and who enable men to objectify and control them. I’m annoyed by the idea of the women who march for equal rights, or post about equal rights, but who live their life being a submissive servant to the kind of men-tality they claim to battle. Hypocrisy is killing us. We need to BE the change.
As an American woman, I feel we need to look at how we are our own worst enemies and start from there, instead of focusing on a man’s perspective of it. We should not blame men, other women or ourselves. All we need to do is live with integrity, and we will have it.