Thursday, October 13, 2016

The Real Problem With Trump's Words

So, by now everyone's heard about the tapes where Trump brags about how he can grab women "by the pu**y". The problem was not the fact that he used vulgar language. If you believe that's the case, you've missed the problem entirely. What he said would be appalling even if he had said, "because of my affluence and my position at the top rung of the social hierarchy, I can disregard the consent of females when I feel around their private regions without the fear of consequence." The problem is the context in which he said those words.

Let's start from the beginning of the tape:

TRUMP: "I did try and fuck her. She was married."

I suppose I should comment on this. It is interesting that he felt the need to mention that she was married. He seems to think it important that he tried to fuck a married woman. This is because he thought he could get away with it. This isn't too bad. Well, it's bad, but it's not shocking. It's honestly pretty mild by the standards of stardom. It's more notable when a famous person doesn't cheat on their spouse. But it's still ammo for the point I'm going to make: that celebrities go by a different set of rules than everyone else.

TRUMP: "I moved on her like a bitch. But I couldn't get there. And she was married."

"Oh yeah, she was married. Did I forget to tell you I tried to fuck a married woman? Because the woman was married. I'm rich and famous, so I don't have to respect other people's relationships!"

TRUMP: "Then all of I sudden, I see her. She's now got the big phony tits and everything, she's totally changed her look."

I've seen people, including Trump himself by the way, try to defend this as "locker room talk." And so far, I can believe it. Locker rooms, particularly those located in Middle/High Schools and Colleges, are full of this kind of less than respectful banter about women and their appearances. While it's still unprofessional of a presidential candidate to conduct himself like this, this was said back in 2005, so I won't behoove Trump for these statements. 

BILLY BUSH: "Sheesh, you're girl's hot as shit! In the purple."

TRUMP: "Whoa! Whoa!"

BUSH: "Yes! The Donald has scored! Whoa, my man!"

Okay, this segment right here is basically Locker Room Talk: The Movie: The Cliche. 

TRUMP: "Yeah, that's her. With the gold. I better use some Tic-Tacs just in case I start kissing her."

Tic-Tacs are a license to kiss a girl without permission, apparently. Somehow, I don't think this would work for me if I tried it.

TRUMP: "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."

BUSH: "Whatever you want."

TRUMP: "Grab 'em by the pussy, you can do anything."

I want you to look at the portion of the quote that I've bolded. I didn't bold the pussy grabbing part, because it isn't the important part. The crucial part--the reason why what Trump said is bad--is the part where he says, "I don't even wait." And because he's a star, people let him do it. The assumption is that consent is given automatically if you're rich and famous. 

The tapes continue with Trump and Bush talking about the woman's legs, and then Arianne Zucker comes in, and they start hitting on her and asking her which one of them she would choose for a date. 

ZUCKER: "Would you like a hug, darling?"

TRUMP: "O.K, absolutely. Melania said this was O.K."

BUSH: "How about a little hug for the Bushy?"

"The Bushy?" Are you fucking kidding me right now? 

Billy Bush came out and said that he was "ashamed" of the "lewd talk" he had with Donald Trump. If you ask me, I think the real reason he's ashamed is that people now know he called himself, "the Bushy," unironically. 

Going back to what Trump said, it's absolutely true that people let him get away with stuff like that because he's a "star." He's from the bubble world that so many rich, famous, celebrities live in. A world where the rules of common decency--and sometimes even the law itself--don't apply. 

Think about it. How many times have we heard of a celebrity committing a crime, particularly one involving domestic abuse, only for them to get off incredibly easy for it? In 2009, Chris Brown was given 5 years of probation and 1,400 hours of community service for beating Rihanna. Also in 2009, Charlie Sheen assaulted and threatened to murder his then-wife Brooke Mueller on Christmas morning. He was given 30 days in rehab. Bill Cosby has a rap sheet of sexual assault allegations going back several decades--only recently did police find enough evidence to actually charge him with anything. He is set to go on trial next June. But due to his celebrity status, it's very likely he'll get off with a light sentence.

And that is the heart of the problem. Rich, famous celebrities have been given this artificial power by the media, who for the most part treat them like Gods. They develop this sense of entitlement--that they can just do whatever they want, the law be damned. And the law rarely does punish these people properly--they can afford the best lawyers, they've got celebrity clout and tons of fans to help sway public opinion. Donald Trump's comments in those tapes are a reflection of this underbelly of celebrity culture. He brags about being able to grope women without their consent because they'll "let you do it when you're a star." He assumes that consent is given by default because of that.

And, unfortunately, he is correct that elements of society will allow him--and any other rich celebrity--to do these things because of his stardom. 

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