“I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
These are snippets from a clip of Donald Trump, Republican candidate for President of the United States, talking with Billy Bush in 2005.
Trump’s initial response to this audio and the backlash was to issue this “apology”:
“This was locker-room banter, a private conversation that took place many years ago. Bill Clinton has said far worse to me on the golf course — not even close. I apologize if anyone was offended.”
He repeatedly defended his remarks during the presidential debate labeling them “locker-room banter.”
“This was locker-room banter.”
It’s interesting. I’ve been in locker rooms and had many conversations with women throughout my life and I’ve never heard any woman say an equivalent to this. Not ever.
Oh man, hot guys. Whenever I see a good looking guy I lose control. I’m drawn to them and gotta get my hands on that dick. And I do. I just walk up to them and grab that cock. I don’t need permission … I just do it.
Nope. Not once have I heard ANYTHING like that in a proverbial or literal locker room. That’s not to say I’ve never heard women swearing or being vulgar, but that’s not the problem and we haven’t perpetuated permission for women to degrade, sexualize, and objectify men with dismissive expressions like “locker-room banter” or “boys will be boys.” We’re looking at problematic, violent ideologies and lines of thinking that extend beyond talk in the locker room.
I know, I know … we’re not talking about women’s locker rooms. We’re talking about Guys. Dudes. Man talk. It’s like ‘girl talk,’ just lewd. And violent. And abusive.
“This is just the way guys talk when they’re together.”
All men talk about grabbing women’s pussies and doing whatever they want? All men talk about kissing and touching women without their consent? Let’s be very clear here: are you telling me all men talk about sexually assaulting women when they’re in the locker room or hanging out?
Just boys being boys talking about tits and ass, amiright???
Except we’re talking about men being men. A fifty-eight year old man, to be precise. 58. A man who boasts about debasing and sexually assaulting women who is seeking the office of President of the United States.
“This was locker-room banter.” Implication: All men talk like this when women aren’t around.
Here’s the thing: I know that’s not true. I know ALL men don’t sit around talking about fucking women and grabbing their genitals. I know ALL men don’t joke and laugh about assaulting women. I know MANY men respect women all day, every day through their words and actions. This man running for President of the United States just doesn’t happen to be one of them.
“This was locker-room banter.”
Brushing this off as simple guy talk says as long as women aren’t around to hear it, it’s perfectly fine and acceptable to disparage them. It’s just fun, bonding time for guys to objectify and denigrate women. It’s acceptable to perpetuate rape culture as long as you’re in the right company.
WRONG. It’s not acceptable. Ever.
And it’s most certainly unacceptable that a man running to be the leader of the United States would not only insult, demean, and objectify women, but also boast about assaulting women. This behavior is repugnant and repulsive; justifying and downplaying it as locker-room banter is inexcusable.
Our kids are watching; they’re watching television, seeing headlines, listening to us.
Are these the lessons we want our sons to learn? That it’s fine to joke about groping females? It’s all in good fun to kiss them and grab their genitals without consent? That they’re entitled to do what they want with girls; they get a free pass because it’s just boys being boys?
Are we ok with telling our daughters that we think it’s perfectly fine and acceptable for guys to assault them and joke about it? That their bodies aren’t their own; they’re simply toys for boys? That if men want to kiss them and grab their genitals, they don’t have a say in it?
Those certainly aren’t the lessons I want my kids to learn.
“This was locker room banter.”
Donald Trump has repeatedly said “they’re just words” in an effort to downplay the seriousness and impact his comments have had. I have a problem with that. Words aren’t empty. They’re indicative of our thoughts and the beliefs we hold deep down in our core. Our words reveal our truth and character.
Your beliefs become your thoughts,
Your thoughts become your words,
Your words become your actions,
Your actions become your habits,
Your habits become your values,
Your values become your destiny.
When we talk about hurting others and insulting one another, our words are everything. I’ve spent my kids’ entire lives teaching them their words matter. Say what you mean and mean what you say. They’ve held me accountable to my words just as I’ve held them to theirs.
It’s time to recognize there is no excuse or free pass for objectifying and demeaning women. There’s no appropriate time to joke or boast about sexual assault. There’s no place in our society for promoting rape culture–where we blame victims, downplay female worth, disregard violence against women, and normalize male sexual aggression. It’s unacceptable in conversations, in locker rooms, and it’s most certainly unacceptable from presidential candidates.